Youngsters and youth slide, ride, climb and play together during Muskogee First Assembly of God's monthly Home School Recess.

"It's a good place for our children to have fun," said Catrina Staggers, who brought two children to a recent recess.

The recesses are held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. the first Friday of each month. The next recess will be Dec. 6.

"Kids love to play," said Joy Cole, who supervises the recess. "Getting a chance to play and just be a kid is always beneficial. I love seeing kids getting a chance to play. Our play place is a wonderful opportunity to get in there and have fun."

Cole, who teaches math each morning at Oktaha High School, said the program is not structured, giving youngsters freedom to do what they want.

"If a parent says, 'hey, let's do this, we might have a structured activity," Cole said. "We have a carousel, we have a play space, we have a back room that has air hockey tables, foosball tables and carpet ball tables. As long as they're playing with each other and having interaction with each other."

There also are no organized devotionals or Bible study.

"There have been lots of times a parent would say 'I'd like to have prayer for this,' that's always a possibility," she said. "Or if a child needs prayer or encouragement, that's always a possibility. We are a church. That what we do. That's who we are."

Cole said the program has been around for a couple of years. She said several families at First Assembly home-schooled their children and were looking for activities.

"I had heard a home-school parent say they wanted somewhere for their child to be able to hang out with other kids," she said.

The recess is open to any home-school student, Cole said.

"In Muskogee, we have Classical Conversations, which is a home school co-op," she said. Some students use online programs, such as Epic or K-12, while others use an independent curriculum, Cole said.

Cole said some students have been as old as 17.

"And they're not just from our church, some are from our community," she said. 

Attendance fluctuates she said, adding that some sessions have had as many as 30.

"There have been times we've had large groups, sometimes it's smaller," she said. "The great thing about home-schooling is that you have flexibility in your hours. When they're available they come. When they have something scheduled, that's fine, too."  

If you go

WHAT: Homeschool Recess.

WHEN: 12:30-2:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and the first Friday of each month.

WHERE: Muskogee First Assembly of God, 3100 Gulick St.

INFORMATION: (918) 682-9000.

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