I received products from Oriental Trading Company; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

I am a homeschooling mom.

Yep, I’m one of those.

My oldest son went to public school, and my youngest goes to a homeschool co-op.

It started as a 1 year commitment while we traveled the country full-time in an effort to visit all 50 states. That was almost four years go when he was 10. I was the summer after he finished 4th grade, and it was a complete change from how we did things. Mind you, I was the PTA president and very much involved in his school.

As our first year came to a close, I noticed that my son was able to get a stronger education that included the basics like Math, Science, History and Reading & Writing. He also experienced, first hand the places where US history was made. He visited Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania, visited the battlegrounds in Yorktown and hiked the Oregon Trail. It really was an epic way of teaching US History to a fifth grader.

He also visited farms to learn about agriculture and learned about geology through our hikes. He learned about things like Stalagmites and Stalactites at Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. I could go on and on, but that is for another post.

What is a Home School Co-Op?

As he got older, I knew that I alone would not be able to effectively teach him everything he needs for a well rounded education, especially since my goal is for him to get an excellent one. So we researched a lot and visited several co-ops until we found the one we loved. It had to have a great community, a strong course offering and the flexibility to work with us as we traveled.

So let me explain what a homeschool co-op is. It is a school where the teachers are usually parents or community members who specialize in certain subjects. For example, his Honors Biology teacher for 8th grade is a working scientist, his Algebra teacher is a mathematician, and his writing teacher is a published author who is also a university professor.

This particular school teaches in the collegiate method which means the students are treated as if they are at a university. They go to classes once or twice per week and then they work on the chapter on their own, turn in their work the following week and usually take a test.

Are Home-schooled Kids Socialized?

Isn’t that always the big question on everyone’s minds?

Of course they are!

My kid is overly social. He has his friends at the co-op and his buddies on his baseball team.

Remember, the co-op is just like regular public school in that we have events, fundraisers, groups and so on. There is a yearbook committee, a talent show, a prom and graduation, to name a few. The difference is that everything is very community driven, so there is a lot of volunteering and the crafty moms and kids definitely get to exercise their creative chops.

What does the prom look like?

This year’s prom was held at the Great Wolf Lodge. Most co-ops open the prom up to the community, so sometimes you will see kids from several co-ops. This is because co-ops are usually smaller than regular schools. Ours has about 200 students.

WCA Prom 2017

The great thing about the homeschooling community is that these kids don’t deal with the stresses of cliques and bullying in public schools, so they are generally happier and more relaxed in the learning environments and at events. Having been very involved in my kids’ public schools, I can tell you that the difference is night and day. I sincerely wish every kid could enjoy school for the learning and socializing and avoid the bad stuff.

Ok, enough soapbox.

The tables were decorated with these amazing hand-made centerpieces with Black and White Lollipops that we received for free from a company that I have used and loved for decades now! You guessed it, Oriental Trading Company. You really can’t go wrong with their products thanks to the affordability and the sheer magnitude of the selections.

Black & White Swirl Lollipops make this centerpiece both fancy and yummy!

As you can probably tell by now, the theme was black and white and silver. Each table had a unique centerpiece where the staples were candies, because what teen doesn’t love candy? And they loved them! We used Hershey’s kisses along with Silver Flourish Buttermints and the Black and White Lollipops that were supplied by the Oriental Trading Company.

 

Silver Flourish Buttermints from Oriental Trading

PS: The kiddos had a blast and the decorations were a hit.

What does graduation look like?

Graduation is a ceremony just like the public school ones. The key thing to remember is that it is on a smaller scale and the parents and kids all know each other. We get all dressed up and have a speaker and all that jazz, but it’s on a smaller scale.

The ceremony was held at Ford’s Colony Country Club and although it was catered the community, as usual bands together to add a personal touch. Some of the girls volunteered to make cupcakes for the graduates.

And those awesome Black and White Lollipops were a hit again!

 

And that’s what a Homeschool prom and graduation look like! It’s really all about making memories.

 

Danay Escanaverino

Danay Escanaverino

Danay Escanaverino is a Latina entrepreneur, mom, avid traveler, tech geek, history buff, blogger and ADHD poster child She is CEO of LunaSol Media and Founder of #LatinaMeetup . Follow her on Instagram , Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

32 Comments

  • Emily Milan says:

    My second oldest attended cyber school for 2 years when we moved to Pennsylvania from NY. Mainly because the public schools in our area didn’t offer the courses she was taking in NY. She was well advanced and the only 10th grader in Advanced Placement Science. She excelled and graduated with honors. At the same time my stepson attended public school. The graduated just a couple of weeks apart and to be honest the cyber school graduation was by far the best I’ve ever seen. The even live streamed it. Right after the ceremony they had a dance for them because there was no prom before hand. My daughter was able to meet so many of her classmates in real life and she loved it.

  • Mizuki says:

    It looks like you had a lot of fun! Those black and white lollipops are amazing!

  • Mallory says:

    What a cool way to learn while traveling! That sounds like an incredible experience. It was interesting to learn about what a homeschool co-op is. I had no idea. How neat that the teachers specialize first-hand in the subject they teach. The prom and graduation looked so fun! 🙂 It doesn’t look like they are lacking any socializing experiences, that’s for sure!

  • Shannon says:

    The home school co-op seems really great! I’m a big fan of learning through experiences.

  • Veronica says:

    I’m nervous of the moment I have to send my son to school. This partial homeschooling interests me. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Evelyn Reese says:

    I am familiar with homeschooling, I saw a lot of it on our military base, but the homeschool co-op is new. I love that there are now more options for the homeschooler. The graduation and prom ideas were great. Oriental trading is my go to shopping for these types of celebrations.

  • Marcelina says:

    It looks like the kids head a great time. You are right, i have used oriental trading before and its really affordable. It’s great that you are able to homer school your kids, and they are able to learn so much. Good job.

  • tara pittman says:

    I love that they get a prom too. I love the decorations one the table.

  • Sondra says:

    This is just simply amazing, the most important aspect is that these kids get a good education. However I love that their teachers have some pretty cool backgrounds.

  • Amy says:

    This looks like a lovely occasion. I didn’t have a prom when I left school. Well done for home schooling, you’re doing an amazing job.

  • Anosa says:

    They are so beautiful! I am sure they had a lot of fun at the prom! They really look good.

  • Arlene says:

    Lovely blog post about homeschooling. Seems like the kids dont miss out any regular school activities. The kids also look very happy! I love that we have options now as parents

  • I like to say that homeschooled kids are MORE socialized than their counterparts since they interact with people of ALL ages and not just their “peers” all day.. At least we do. We are always out and about doing something.

  • Jennifer says:

    Oh this is so beautiful! I homeschool my kids, too, and I have two teens who would like to go to prom. We are actually researching if there is a prom for homeschoolers in our area. I hate it when people ask me how are my kids socialized. It’s such an annoying question. But I explain to them they have friends and are involved with activities just like public school students! They just do school at home!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Aw how lovely is this?! I bet they all had a wonderful time. 🙂

  • ohmummymia says:

    looks like lots of fun! and I would love that cake and lollipops! 🙂

  • Christine says:

    Very interesting blog! Homeschooling isn’t something I’m very familiar with, but sure looks like they all had lots of fun!

  • Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    I have always wondered about that, if homeschooled children get to attend a prom, or even a graduation ceremony. I guess there is still a lot I have to learn about home schooling. I think it is an awesome way for kids to learn academics and socialization as well.

  • Tamika says:

    I was going to home-school my niece but right now, I just don’t have the time. It’s great that this is available for parent’s that want their children to learn through experiences instead of standardize testing.

  • Alayna says:

    This is something I’ve always wondered about homeschooling. Very cool! My own private school was very small, so 200 students at prom might be even more than we had!

  • Alex Tabar says:

    Thank you Danay! How interesting. I’m not a mom, but I’ve always been interested in how homeschooling works. Last week, my sister in law was talking about moving his son to a homeschooling co-op and I didn’t understand the whole concept. With this post now I have a better idea of how it works. Great info!

  • I never heard of this before, but it sounds great!!
    I wish I studied in that kind of school… I was so interested in learning on my own and while experimenting.
    There are many ways to learn at school now, because I’m not really sure about the traditional one.

  • Wow, I really admire the homeschooling families. I’ve often wondered about it. Like you say, kids get to learn in a relaxed environment without the bullying and the politics. I don’t think we’ll be making the change to homeschooling anytime soon, but it does sound like an interesting option.

  • Kristi says:

    Thanks for sharing! I love the Co-op component. My friend home schooled all 4 of her kids, but they didn’t have a co-op, so their graduation was much smaller and the older two didn’t have a prom. I think this is a great alternative for so many reasons and combined with the travel aspect, well thats just amazing! I wish I could have done that!

  • What an incredible blessing you can homeschool your children and have such a fantastic co-op. I’m envious!

  • Elizabeth O says:

    I think it is terrific that one can explore a wide range of educational options in the US. The Co-Op sounds likes another wonderful way to expand beyond the home and still have small classes and individualized attention.

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