In addition to educating my children at home, I also got a job. I'm working for the YMCA.
Like many Y's, our local branch has always offered non-academic homeschool classes [P.E., Tumbling, Swimming, etc.]. Because we reside in an area that has a high percentage of homeschoolers, a few years ago our branch began offering several enrichment type classes. These were well-received. Therefore, a vision grew to build a drop-off academic program for homeschoolers that would operate at a nearby day-camp facility. Last winter I happened to be in the right place at the right time, when the Y staff began brainstorming class ideas for older students. Naturally, I had many.
Originally, I was hired to teach four classes -- Henle Latin, Grammar, Saxon Math 7/6, and my most favorite World History class [I really am planning on sharing much more about this]. Since then, my responsibilities have increased greatly. I am teaching a few more classes -- a quick-skills math-game class for third to sixth graders [maybe my favorite] and an IEW Poetry memorization class [also a joy]. At this point, I'm also helping to administrate the entire program. We have over 250 families in our program and well over 500 students. We add to those numbers almost daily.
We have grown immensely in such a short period of time, so we now offer classes several days a week. We operate similar to a university model school. Some students attend one day a week for just one class while some students are dropped off at 9 a.m. on Wednesday mornings and take class until they are picked up at 3 p.m that afternoon. My children participate in several classes that I teach, as well as being exposed to many other learning opportunities -- Sign Language, Spanish, Art, PE, Cake Decorating, SAT Prep, etc.
Operating a homeschool program under the umbrella of the YMCA has unbelievable perks. First and foremost, I'm an employee of the Y, so my membership is free, and my entire family gets a discount on any paid programming. I also get paid. It has been a long time since I've received a regular paycheck. As I mentioned above, we are holding our classes at a nearby day-camp. This has brought me great joy. If you have ever participated in, or helped to lead, a homeschool program, you know that usually you're utilizing some portion of a host church, which can be both a blessing and a curse. A Y daycamp, however, comes with playgrounds, volleyball courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, disc golf courses, gaga ball pits [I was completely unaware of this game before this year, but is a crowd favorite], soccer fields, picnic tables, and more. I'm sure you can envision how wonderful this is for a group of homeschoolers.
And, selfishly, my favorite part -- the Y comes with a custodial staff. Again, if you've ever stayed long past the last hours of the co-op to make certain all the magic marker is magic-erased off the table, you will appreciate the beauty of a custodial staff. Before Thanksgiving, we celebrated with a pizza party. We order approximately 60 pizzas. After the party, I was gathering up the boxes to transport them to the dumpster. One of the cleaning ladies stopped me and said, 'Just leave the boxes next to the trash cans. We'll get them to dumpster.' I wanted to hug her.