August 14, 2006

Minutes from our First Co-Op Planning Meeting

The other night, I had the pleasure of taking notes at our first formal mom's coffee and planning night for the 2006-7 school year. I typed up the notes and sent them to our group via email, and thought it might be something that would inspire all of you KONOS moms out there - or just any homeschool mom who's looking into joining or starting a co-op!

What's KONOS? Well... it is a Christian-based unit study curriculum. Konos is the Greek word for CONE. The KONOS diagram from their curriculum manual itself explains the idea visually:


Their motto? Something along these lines: "All wisdom and knowledge start with God. God encompasses our entire curriculum through the lens of godly character." -

I've been blessed to be in so many great places over the years (we move around quite a bit with my husband's jobs) and have met some of the world's most wonderful homeschoolers on my journey. My heart never gets used to packing up and moving on... but I am certainly glad to have made such great friends wherever we've parked for a while. My latest co-op group is a great group of Christian ladies. Enjoy our meeting minutes below (of course, parts that discuss locations and names of individuals have been edited out)!

For those of you who couldn't attend, I wanted to say that we missed you and we hope you can attend the next meeting. We had a great night and got a lot accomplished. I have written up some notes as to what we talked about at the meeting. I'll probably copy this into a Word document as well and put it in the files section of the group so it can be easily accessed in the future without having to wade through countless messages.

MEETING MINUTES - Aug. 12, 2006

PRAYER LIST - We took up a prayer list and all held hands and prayed for everyone's requests. I am keeping a copy of these as we go so that we can look back and see how the Lord is working in our group to accomplish His will. It was so wonderful to be a part of such a wonderful and emotional prayer with such a great group of ladies. We prayed for those not in attendance as well.

FIELD TRIP PROCEDURE - We discussed the procedure for setting up field trips for the group. There are a few field trips that are already in the works, but in the future, we said that once you have a set date, you should be sure to notify the email list of the day you are planning to go (or give a few options), address and directions to event, time for event (or give a few options), and any additional information UP FRONT so that everyone can decide if they can or can't make it. Set up a reminder on the calendar at the group website (we went over how to do this at our meeting). Make sure to set field trip information in IT'S OWN EMAIL - SEPARATE FROM REGULAR DISCUSSION AND DIALOGUE. Make sure to TITLE THE EMAIL as the NAME OF THE EVENT so that it is EASY TO SEE and not miss!

ATTENTIVENESS CO-OP SCHEDULE AND SIGN-UP - We mapped out the first character trait of the school year which will take us all the way to December's break. We all discussed the fact that although we may go at different speeds and study some sub-units longer than others, we needed to have a set schedule for co-op meetings that we could all agree upon so that we would know up front what we were signing up to teach. We discussed the need for consistency on the part of us moms in setting up co-op dates for the kids and the fact that we all needed to be willing to pitch in to sign up for teaching, leading devotionals, and various clean-up duties... as well as taking care of the little ones who are not old enough for group activities. Each Tuesday at 9:30 will be our set co-op academic meet (unless we have altered the schedule for a holiday or special field trip) and the following duties will need volunteers:

Leading Devotional - 9:30 to 10:00am (includes pledge)
Teaching Co-op/Watch Babies - 10:00 to 11:00am (there can be teams or just one teacher, and all moms who are not currently signed up should be willing to assist with "classroom management" and one mom needs to watch wee ones)
Break for Sack Lunches - 11:00 to 11:30 (need moms to help keep church clean and kids orderly during this time)
Recess for Kids/Clean up for Moms - 11:30 to 12:00 (previously signed up for tasks include vacuum, take trash out, put chairs/tables away, lights/air & lock up)

*** I am typing up the first semester's schedule and putting it on the group after this email!!!! Be sure to print it off for your records and let me know if you would like to add your name to the sign-up sheet. ***

CO-OP DIRECTORY - I passed my copy around and everyone made a few changes. It was discussed that we might add birthdays to the list instead of ages so that the list will automatically update ages instead of us having to edit it all the time. I will make a birthday calendar for the group each month and pass it out at the previous month's mom's night so we won't forget each other's kids' birthdays.

The possibility of having a yearbook was voted down and replaced by the idea of a group project to all add our favorite pictures from everyone's cameras to a photo CD at the end of the school year. This is much more cost efficient, and we can each do our own scrapbooking or yearbook projects with these photos at home if we so choose.
B. School photos were also suggested and a place for this was suggested as well. We're planning to take photos outside closer to October when the leaves are colored. Anyone who wants to snap photos may participate and we will print the photos out and give them to the parents along with negatives to make additional copies for family!

KONOS MONTHLY COFFEE & PLANNING NIGHTS - We designated a mom to head off this list so that we each know where the following months' meetings will be. A different mother signs up to host each month and gets to pick the time and location. The date is set for every second Friday of the month (unless another event or holiday prevented it). The list for this should be uploaded to the files section of the group and made into a Word document so that everyone can print it if they want and easily find it later without sorting through messages.

SECRET SISTER NAME DRAWING - Names were drawn for secret sister at our meeting. The first month's gift will be a back-to-school present (5$ limit - school supply theme). Gifts should be always placed in a paper lunch sack with the name of the recipient on the bottom of the bag. They will be brought to mom's nights. If you are unable to attend mom's nights, please make sure to find a way to get your gift to another mom so that no-one finds out who has who's name! If you are unable to participate in this, please let someone know up front so we can remove your name and re-draw! New names will be drawn at December's mom's meeting and this semester's secret sister names will be revealed. In December, you can wrap your gifts and put a REAL nametag on them!!!

CHRISTMAS PARTY - We discussed meeting for a Christmas party and doing a white-elephant gift exchange with ornaments for the children. We chose a date for the Christmas party (December 15th). Closer to the date, we will have a sign up for food and such.

We discussed having a HARVEST theme on our October 31st Tuesday Co-op day and possibly adding additional party time to our meeting that day. Bobbing for apples was listed as one of the events. This is NOT a Halloween party, so please know that we are not planning that. Passing out candy was discussed. Another idea would be for the children to exchange Happy Thanksgiving Cards. Any ideas for this party would be welcome!
B. Also, on Friday the 10th in the evening, we discussed having our INDIAN FEAST (THANKSGIVING PARTY) and inviting everyone (including the men/family). This will replace our Tuesday Co-op for the week - so that week we won't meet but will all catch up on crafts. Some ideas include having an 'Indian Artifact Museum' to display the children's crafts, building a PVC & tarp teepee and letting the kids paint it (which may need to happen BEFORE THE PARTY on an ADDITIONAL CO-OP DAY), having a pot-luck of indian type foods, teaching the kids to recite a psalm of Thanksgiving together, using gold dust to kick the event off in a campfire, letting the kids do book reports and indian dances, etc. This will be an "open house" type event where family and friends who may or may not be homeschooling will be invited and will be on our last day of school before Thanksgiving Break.

A suggestion was made that if we wanted to add a day once a month to SKATE or BOWL, but we needs a head count of those interested to see if the places will give us a discount.
B. An Orchestra Field Trip was suggested. We need a head count of those interested to see if the places will give us a discount.
C. Let me know if you are all interested in having a T-shirt designed for the group at a print-shop. If we get them, we can wear them to the field trips and look "official".

So now you know what KONOS moms discuss when they are under the influence of sugar and caffeine at those mysterious "mom's meetings" once a month. How does it feel to be a fly on the wall?

Other Quick Links:Fledgling Homeschool Co-op
Planning Ahead: KONOS Unit Scheduling

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Fatcat said...

It sounds very familiar to me ... even though our group isn't a KONOS group. It seems we all discuss the same things!

MommyLydia said...

I find the emphasis on the October 31st party to be quite interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Too bad I can't participate from San Diego :)

Jana said...

I'm on the co-op committee this year, though we're just a regular co-op, not KONOS based. It really is a wonderful way to meet other homeschooling families. I look forward to it every year. Have fun!

Sprittibee said...

Paulanne - Our group the year before last year wasn't KONOS related, but we did much the same things also... except we taught different classes (Spanish, Lifeskills, History/Culture, Christian Leadership, etc). I think we all are pretty similar... no matter what curriculum we use.

My Boaz's Ruth - We made sure to include the Oct. 31 distinction because there are some that DO and some that DON'T participate in Halloween celebrations in our group. We are inclusive to Christians of all denominations which adhere to the main gospel tenents... but try and accomodate eachother by not pressing issues that might divide us. Obviously, Halloween is one of them. ;)

I & I mom... Well, you could participate vicariously through my blog. :) I'm sure I'll be discussing a few of the events and much of the planning, links, etc. through next school year.

Jana - I agree. I love co-ops. This is the first time I've been in one that was Konos related and EVERYONE was pretty much doing the same unit (besides my tiny co-op with my friend Kelly a long time ago... but that was just our two families).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a peak into your meeting. I often discuss co-ops and their practices on my blog. I'm always "preaching" to groups that they need to keep minutes of meeting. I'm going to link your entry onto my blog and add you to my Bloglines list. I'll look forward to hearing more...

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Carol! In a former life, I was an "Administrative Assistant", "Database Manager", "Leasing Coordinator", "Desktop Publisher", "Account Analyst" and "School Registrar"... including many, many other anal jobs that include meticulous guardianship of data! I am a meeting minutes kind of gal!

MommyLydia said...

Wouldn't the easiest thing then be to do nothing on October 31, and let those who want to celebrate Halloween do it elsewhere? Rather than tapdance around what this is or isn't?

I've been both in my life -- both celebrating Halloween and not. But I still find it amusing how much energy is put into something that is supposed to be meaningless.

Sprittibee said...

We usually don't do anything on Halloween as a family... but the co-op was supposed to meet on the 31st because it is a TUESDAY and it falls in line for our co-op meetings. I was going to schedule it as a regular co-op day (we would be studying about Indians that day). It was suggested by others at the mom's meeting that we do a harvest party since the church where we are having the meet will NOT be participating in a harvest party that day. There were no objections, but I sensed that some people did not mention anything out loud because of fear of controversy. I asked if anyone would be interested in doing some sort of harvest party and everyone said that was fine. Candy exchanges were suggested. Everyone seemed fine with that. I am teaching that day, I think. So, therefore, we'll be doing class as regular and then the kids will get to visit after classes and lunch to exchange candy and Thanksgiving cards early. I see no harm in this. We can celebrate any time we want - "This is the Day that the Lord has Made!" :)

MommyLydia said...

Oh definitely don't stop doing things one would normally do. A few years October 31st fell on friday at the same time an activity was going on that I normally was costuming for. Even though at the time I wasn't celebrating Halloween at all, I still got costumed that night. It was my regular order of business.



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