First of all, designate (or volunteer) a Group Leader. The group leader should personalize the Suggested Schedule for the group and maintain and amend the schedule through the year. You can also visit the Start-Up Manual, page 10, for a breakdown of the Units. The group leader should also do or delegate the following: make assignments for the Joy School box materials (see Start-Up Manual), ensure that the group has good communication via email or other methods, and make sure that special events and field trips are preplanned. Sometimes one parent (usually a veteran Joy School parent) is willing and wanting to do all of this on their own, but it is still good for the other parents to volunteer to take on at least some of the Group Leader responsibilities.
There are many ways that parents have divided up Joy School teaching, but they all fall roughly into two methods.
Note: If you are teaching twice a week, Joy School recommends having the same parent teach both lessons in the same week to help with continuity. Plus, it seems that most Joy School switch to this pattern eventually (for whatever reason), even if they start by having different parents teach in a week.
- Setting Up a Rotation: Each child’s family teaches in order, such as A, B, C, D, E, and then repeat again. Weeks can be switched around as needed. This method really helps parents (and kids) remember who is teaching next.
- Dividing the Weeks: Count the number of weeks and divide by parents. If each parent has five weeks in the year that they need to teach, you can insert the parents’ names on the schedule where they need/want to teach, and then fill in the rest in a sort of rotation. This works well if you have one parent who has something that will prohibit them from teaching during a stretch of time during the year, such as having a baby, a deadline with work, travels, moving houses, etc.
If parents are Joy School veterans, they might request to teach certain lessons that they particularly enjoy or already are well set-up to present. The “Dividing the Weeks” method works well for this.
Of course, most groups use a combination of the two: a rotation method that also accounts for major schedule disruptions. Don’t forget to check the local public/private school calendars to account for Spring Break, Fall Break, Winter Holidays, etc.
As far as special events and parents’ meetings, it is sometimes best to divide those up first and then do the lessons so that one family doesn’t have the majority of work near Christmas, for example. The main events (most are optional and have flexible dates) are: Halloween Party (Unit 2 or 3), Nursing Home Visit (Unit 4), Christmas Program (Unit 4), and Graduation (End of Unit 10). Most special events are fairly simple to host: the host parents need to provide the venue, but the other families all bring refreshments and help with the program. If one family has a home more suited to hosting groups, that family might offer to host all of the events, but the other parents need to be sure to do the majority of the work for putting on the event.
There are also a few field trips that might work best at homes that are in close proximity to the field trip location: Nature Walk (Lesson 2.2), Garden Visit (Unit 2.4), Nursing Home Visit (end of Unit 4), Library Visit (7.3).