04 August 2009

Joy, oh Joy, it's Joy School Time

I finally have a young child old enough to participate in Joy School again and I am so excited. Two of my older three were in Joy School and we had so much fun. I somehow stumbled across the book, Teaching Your Children Joy by Richard and Linda Eyre. I began reading the book and was hooked. I wanted to teach my children JOY.

I was blessed to find two experienced JOY school Mom's to join up with and we had a wonderful experience in Joy School with the other little kids in Joy School. The Joy School program is fantastic. It is all laid out so that you know what you are teaching, what stories and activities to do, what songs to sing, when to have rest time and a snack. It is structured so that although the kids are at a different house each week, with a different teacher, they are still with the same friends and having a great experience. The "JOYS" are so much fun to teach, and learn about" and more important, and taught less, than other "academic" lessons.

Here is a list of the JOYS, broken down into the 5 main areas:

Physical Joys
Spontaneous Delight

Mental Joys

Interest & Curiosity
Imagination & Creativity
Order, Priorities, & Goal Striving

Emotional Joys

Trust & Confidence to Try
Family Security, Identity & Pride
Individual Confidence & Uniqueness

Social Joys

Realness, Honesty & Candor
Communication & Relationships
Sharing & Service

Spiritual Joys
Simple Faith and Receptivity to the Spirit
Obedience & Decisions
Gratitude and of Knowing God as Our Father

Most joys are covered in a module of about 2-4 weeks, except for the Spiritual Joys. Only Obedience and Decisions is covered as a module. Joy School is Christian based, but the most evidence that I remember is the Nativity Play the kids put on in December. It would be easy to portray your religion in the program. I loved having that having a group of LDS kids allowed me to talk about Heavenly Father whenever appropriate. (Maybe this is part of what led to my homeschooling).

Logistics involve rotating teaching between a group of mothers. Class is 2 days a week for 2 - 3 hours, and a group of about 4-8 kids is ideal, ages 3 - 5, or the two years before typically entering Kindergarten. The kids love going to their friends house, but also love having class at their house (except sharing toys and Moms). The cost is a $50 registration fee, and then $70 a semester to purchase the curriculum. Once you buy the curriculum you may reuse it within your own family. You get the lesson plans as downloadable PDF's, plus the music as MP3's and CD's. Once you have the curriculum you color and cut out the flannel board pieces ( I like to laminate mine) and then use them to teach the songs, tell the stories, etc. My older kids love to help color them, and I think they will enjoy remembering the songs and stories from their JOY School Years!

It's been 5 years since I've done JOY SCHOOL and I'm so excited to do it again! If you have any questions about the program, don't hesitate to ask.

UPDATE: I finally found my password for the JOY School website and it is even better than it was 5 years ago - surprise surprise. You don't have to color the pictures if you don't want to, you can get them in black and white & in color!