St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Behold, I will do something new…

"Behold, I will do something new, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19


It’s not easy to see separations…breaking off of groups or friendships.  It’s something that very often ends badly, although with a lot of work and genuine Christian charity and concern, really doesn’t have to. 

Right now our local home school co-op, that we have been veterans of for the last 15+ years….is having such a break.  Disagreements in leadership and rules and just overall tension amongst many has led to much discord and many meetings.  It has been a painful event to watch unfold.  It has left it’s members in limbo for quite some time. Waiting. Wondering. Will we have classes, gym, anything?  Will I be teaching the classes I signed on to teach? Will my children be attending classes I signed them up for, or not at all? 

So many questions and anticipation.   

The co-op for us has become a place of therapy for my sons that need to be around groups of people; need to answer to others; need to become more coordinated, or practice their listening skills.  Things that I can’t always teach in a home setting with just us.  And it is in a setting that is maternal and protecting.  It’s not chaos, not usually.  It’s a bit relaxed, but then organized enough to be beneficial.  It is a near perfect situation for my son with autism and sensory difficulties as it puts him in a place where I can assist him and other caring people are present.

Before we began home schooling, when our oldest was just a toddler, we attended a presentation sponsored by this co-op group when they were but a couple years founded.  So, we joined within the first 5 years of their existence and they celebrated their 20th year anniversary a couple years ago with my daughter’s graduating senior class.  It was a wonderful remembrance.  They even did a lovely hardbound yearbook, as my daughter was on the yearbook committee.  Many hands make light work, and so it was with this group.  I even served as treasurer of the group for several years.



“Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them”….

Those were the good ole’ days.  And my daughter would say she and her friends were the last of the great classes to go through the co-op, and that now, it’s the end of a once fabulous era.  Seriously, she might be right!…

last day co-op1

But, even as this chasm began and seems to widen, and a new group elsewhere is beginning to form, I am so amazed at the Christian charity and respect these group members lend each other.  There have been some downright evil difficult hard issues.  But these women, are so Christian in their vision and approach, including this break from the original group.  The letter they sent is so well constructed and thoughtful, and full of Christian charity and concern.  These are moms at the heart of their families wanting the best for them and all the other families involved. 

Let’s face it, home schooling is no easy task.  And to feel truly supported and special while giving it all you have, is sometimes all the fuel you need to get you through the next day, and the next, and the next. Knowing that others genuinely care and want to spend time with you and your kids, teach them a little bit of something, show them how to play volleyball, provide them with a safe haven, an extra place to get together with peers and broaden their horizons a bit, helps lighten the load of an older home schooler.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been a full fledged co-op person. There were a few years I simply did nothing.  But then came my third child.  He showed me that he needed so much more than I was able to really just give at home alone.  So I am grateful for families who step forward and put it together for others to participate in.

This new off-shoot group, I’m told will be a little more relaxed, so maybe friends can come on occasion with us, or families whose parents have to work, and aren’t available to bring them, can still sign on and leave them under the care of another attending adult.  Something that couldn’t happen in the other group.  I’m sure there will be more options that weren’t available previously, (also reasons why the division occurred).

But let me say again, how impressive it is to see Christianity in practice by both sides of this divide.  The divine charity and respect, working out the difficulties with many, many families, those women who came forward as shepherds and voices for all, and all the meetings and working through issues they did – selfishly and admirably.  I am very grateful for the families who stand by Christian values during very difficult times and do the honorable thing.   I don’t nearly feel as worthy to work among them, but I am blessed all the same as they attempt to make things comfortable and a loving, thriving environment for our children to visit and learn within.

last day co-op4

"Behold, I will do something new, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

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