I love teaching in a co-op with other homeschoolers and former public educators. We are an incredibly diverse group—racially, ability-wise and religiously. We also incorporate diversity in our guest speakers and field trips. The first day of school this year, we were chanting and doing art projects with Tibetan monks. So how do we make Mix It Up at Lunch Day unique with this gorgeous hodgepodge of people that is already used to joining together?
We go further. We invite the older kids into classes and playgroups with the younger kids. We invite teachers to swap classes to mix up lessons and styles. We plan more field trips and classes, like our American Sign Language class or a visit to a local assisted-living facility to sing with residents.
This year for Mix It Up, I am going to step out of my own comfort zone and approach new moms, introduce myself, and maybe make some new friends. My 7-year-old daughter is so much more sociable than I am, so mixing it up is much harder for me. I am a bit shy when it comes to socialization for myself, but watching these kids do it so effortlessly gives me the courage and desire to do it, too.
Our Mix It Up efforts will continue through one of our less-diverse, smaller co-ops. I’ll use social media to reach a wider audience and mix with our county group.
Finally, I am looking forward to mixing it up in the classroom and finding American heroes. I’ll be looking for the heroes that many textbooks neglect, especially women and people of color, using the Zinn Education Project and other resources. Finally, for summer 2013, I’ll be starting a Mighty Girl project with a book and film club.
Once you start to Mix It Up, you’ll want to do it again. I love the energy and possibilities presented when we step out of our comfort zones and usual collective of people. I’m excited to hear what your school or organization is planning for Mix It Up Day. Share your ideas and plans in the comments below.
Schmidt is a writer and editor based in Missouri.