Homeschoolers get new, local, supplementary education option
Staff Writer | August 4, 2022 1:00 AM
BONNERS FERRY — There is a new Christ-centered homeschooling co-op coming this fall.
“We just wanted to provide another option,” said Nancy Croll, co-op administrator.
ClearView Christian Co-op is a non-denominational, Christ-centered parent-run supplementary learning experience for homeschooling education. The co-op meets once a week and runs consecutively with the Boundary County School District.
The co-op’s mission is to “teach useful, relevant information for equipping kids for life through a Christian worldview.”
The co-op’s goal is to provide a solid, Christ-centered education option for children of varying ages, giving kids a “Clear View” into a successful and Christ-centered future.
Croll said her family didn’t start homeschooling until school was closed during COVID-19. During that time, she began teaching a science class in her house.
In 2021, Nancy Genys started a co-op. Croll was interested in having her kids attend, but with scheduling issues was unable to do so. Eventually the co-op was scheduled on a different day during the week, which was the same day as Croll’s science class. Once this happened, it was more convenient for Croll and families that participated in the co-op and Croll’s class, for Croll’s science class to be offered at the co-op.
Croll told the Bonners Ferry Herald that the co-op has become more organized in order to accommodate the increased interest, families participating and be more official.
“Throughout the course of the year, we wanted [the co-op] to grow more and be more organized,” Croll said. “We saw a lot of potential and there were people interested in joining but because we were still very unofficial we weren't really organized enough to grow.”
The organizers want to keep the classes small allowing no more than 12 students for the older courses and eight students for the younger courses.
Instead of grades, classes are broken into suggested age groups; Mikros, or Greek for “little ones” are ages 3 to 5; Chanak or Hebrew for “train up” or “dedicated” is for ages 6 to 10; Zeteo, or Greek for “to seek diligently, to find out by thinking, meditating and reasoning” are for ages 11-18.
Parents and co-op organizers faced the challenge of wanting to have multiple grade levels and courses running at the same time, but have to work within the constraints of only having a few families and participants to help run the program. Since parent involvement is required at Clear View, once more families get involved the co-op will grow and provide more opportunities.
Croll said separating students by age groups versus grades works at the co-op since the courses are supplementary in nature and no instructor is teaching to one grade level.
The age ranges are suggested guidelines for different courses offered. Provided that the student is not disruptive they may attend classes above their age group. For other students it may be preferable to be in a younger course if they are behind or need more help in a particular subject.
Parents are expected to sign their children up for their appropriate age group classes based on abilities and maturity levels.
There is a pre-K half-day option. No nursery is provided at the co-op at this time, but administrators have said as more families get involved, the more the co-op can provide.
The co-op is designed to be a useful supplement to homeschooling education.
Classes this coming semester include, math of different levels, child-led learning, classical education basics, debate, woodship, civics, logic, singing, history of English language, a course on the U.S. Constitution, psychology, a foreign language course and much more.
Dues are $20 per semester, per child or $50 per semester per family. Dues are paid to coordinators at the beginning of each semester and go toward the cost of materials. Some classes may have additional fees associated with them due to higher materials cost or printing costs.
Although the co-op is all volunteer, that doesn’t mean parents have to teach, but participation is required, Croll said. Volunteers are needed in Pre-K, art, teaching assistance and clean up.
“The course offerings are the way they are because the people who are teaching have decided to teach those things. So that's why we have those course offerings,” Croll said.
Due to the program being informal, teaching credentials are not required. Croll does have a certificate in scientific apologetics and is working on an advanced certificate. She uses this to teach her science classes. This fall she is teaching a science course on anthropic design.
In addition, Susan Robinson, a former teacher and a historian with multiple linguistic degrees will be teaching the history of the English language.
“When it's volunteer, people can teach what they want,” Croll said.
Those teaching are teaching what they enjoy and know. Luke Croll, who is a carpenter and ran a contracting business, will be teaching woodworking. He will also be teaching a class on the Constitution, since constitutional law was a focus of his when he was homeschooled.
“Our courses are kind of unusual, but they're also supplemental,” Croll said. “It's only once a week, so our goal here is to provide parents a foundation that they can build upon, for not even a start to school, but a supplement to school of giving their children once a-week socialization and disciplinary time.”
Croll clarified that disciplinary time will not be disciplining anyone’s kids.
“What I mean is that my children need just once a week to learn to sit down at a table, be quiet and raise their hands. The school is a very social setting, they just need it once a week,” she said.
She added that this classroom structure once a week is a teaching tool to let the kids know that sometimes the world operates in this controlled environment.
“Our goal is to provide parents with an outlet to be able to assist their education for their kids,” she said.
Since Clear View Co-op teaches with a Christian worldview, courses like anthropic design are available.
“The entire class is showing how the universe, everything in the universe all the way down to cellular design was designed and the scientific evidence for that, which is a class option they would not receive in a public school,” Croll said.
This is one of the many ways that Clear View provided a Christ-centered education. Like evolution, anthropic design is a theory. Croll said that it will be offered for the higher level students but it is not commonly taught outside the university level.
Courses are taught with a Christian worldview. Croll said that does not mean that courses will be on Christianity or that beliefs will be “pushed on” students. The co-op has a statement of faith, but does not require those attending to sign a faith agreement. In addition, their bylaws state that no teacher is allowed to teach on any denominationally divisive topics.
“So people coming in need to know that, that's where we're coming from. And if they don't want people talking about God, they shouldn't join our co-op,” she said.
For more information, contact ClearView Christian Co-op administrators Nancy Genys at firstname.lastname@example.org and Nancy Croll at email@example.com.