Since my kids have aged out of Foundations/Essentials, I asked my good friend Jade to share some of her tips for success with a big family on their CC community day. She has two students in Challenge and five younger kids to get to community day. It is possible to make it work with a crowd.
8 Tips for a Successful CC Community Day
So, you've joined a community and the first day is coming. But, now what?! What supplies do you need? What should you prep? What about lunch? Snacks? I've got a few tips that can help make your community day (the first day and the subsequent days) successful!
1 - Find a mom that is ahead of you in the F/E game
Seek out a mama who has some kiddos a little bit older than yours (ask your director for some ideas) or who is confidently pulling her wagon from her van to the building, giving instructions as she walks. She's the gal you need. She is a wealth of knowledge and most likely will be happy to share what has worked (and what has NOT worked!) for her and her family.
Though, I will remind you that like in everything, what works for one may not work 100% for another. Take what works and change what doesn't. And, she can encourage you when it feels like all the prep isn't working. Some days will be long. But, hard doesn't mean failure. It just might be hard for a bit until everyone adjusts. Hard things are worth striving towards.
2 - Plan for emergencies.
Bring extra water, snacks and clothes for anyone who *might* need them. Getting to 3pm and everyone is crabby isn't the time to wish you had a snack to get you home. Just trust me. Community days take more calories.
And, prep the night before!
Load absolutely anything you can. Leave everything else in a neat pile near the door so you know exactly what to grab in the morning. Don't forget the kids, though. They'll be in their beds (hopefully).
3 - Give jobs to everyone in the house and write out those expectations
Everyone in my house has a job. A job every day, a job when we leave and a job specifically for our community day. I post them on the fridge as a reminder. When everyone has a job, you are only managing and reminding people to do their job. It helps alleviate you from remembering all. the. things. and it helps encourage ownership in the kiddos for their school day.
4 - Remember your goal, but be flexible
As with every goal or event, accidents happen, unforeseen circumstances arise and kids have meltdowns. It's just a day, and we all need grace. So, if you show up late, forget your coffee or someone's lunch, just take a deep breath and ask for help.
Even just a hug and a look of solidarity can turn the day around. There will be lots of mamas in your community who can understand and relate. That's what community is for.
5 - Get a wagon
Just trust me on this. Get one. And thank the Lord for whoever invented it. By 3pm you will not want to tote anything to the van, and bonus you can throw some (small) kiddos in there too if they just can't take one more step.
The added benefit of a wagon is it serves as a family 'hub' during the day. I leave mine in the fellowship hall where we have our opening and lunch. My kids know that if I brought something it will be in the wagon. And, they know if it needs to make it in the van after class it needs to be in the wagon.
6 - Have a cut off time on the prep day
The day before your community day, prep as much as possible. But set a hard and fast cut off time for the day so you can be only in prep mode and not in teacher and prep mode. For us, that day needs to be protected a little more than the others because there is much to do in preparation for community day.
7 - Join CCC
Classical Conversations Connected is a resource available at a nominal cost to those enrolled in a community. It is worth its weight in gold! Make your own home school prep easy with the parent created resources! Plus, the learning tools are a wealth of knowledge.
8 - Last but not least, pray over your children and your community
Prayer is a cornerstone to our days. CC Community day is not different. Pray for your children, their tutors, and the director. But, also pray for your community as a whole. The Lord can work mightily through His people.