Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Homeschool Co - op Class is Awesome!

Big Bro's Volcano...will post how to make one of these soon...very actually erupts!

The Moon's surface - To make:
Mix plaster of paris, light brown paint, gray paint, and sand. The use marbles and have your child push these objects quickly into the mixture and then, have them quickly remove the items. Your child may also use his or her fingers to make the imprints.

First, discuss the moon during circle or group time...
Prepare a chart with the Moon poem on it.
Read it to them and then, go back and have them help read it to you.
Moon poem and art work - Prepare a circle template. You could use the one from your metal insets, or you can make one from cardboard...
Have your child trace the circle onto paper.
Then, have them cut out their circle...or they could use push pins...
Then, have them glue on their moon.
Then, let them select metallic stars. The class had the opportunity to choose multi-colored stars, Little Bro just prefers red...then, have them glue on the stars. Finally, go back and review the poem with your child and then, have glue the poem onto their work.

Big Bro and Little Bro both participate in a fabulous homeschool co-op on Mondays.
The co-op is not exclusively Montessori inspired, but there are many within the group who subscribe to the Montessori philosophy and use Montessori materials in their homeschools.

Each semester, our co-op offers some really amazing course offerings, such as:
Lego Education - From Simple Machines through Mindstorms Robotics
Literature Circles
Fine Arts - Architecture
Nursery Rhymes
Computer Software Development
Scientists and Inventors
All About Animals

This semester, Little Bro is taking a class that combines art and phonemic awareness.
The format is great for children ages 3 to 5...they start the class with circle time, then they go to their tables and do some neat art and reading activities tied in with that week's theme.

The class is very hands on. For crafts so far this semester, they have made glow-in-the-dark moons, a multi-media collage about sun and sand, and a handprint elephant craft.

For pre-reading skills, they have made little books, similar to what you would have a in Montessori classroom.

They have learned some cute poems and have read some neat books, both nonfiction and fiction selections.

Little Bro loves his class!

Big Bro also loves his class, which is affectionately referred to as "Magic School Bus Class".
Each week, the class has a different science theme. Like Little Bro's, his is also multi-aged: 6-9.

Themes include:
hibernation / adaptation / migration, volcanoes, space, spiders, insects, sink/float experiments, animals in a tide pool, desert animals, kitchen chemistry, bats / echolocation / nocturnal animals.
Each class, the children do a few hands on experiments.
Big Bro's favorite so far include making: a volcano that erupts, rockets, and the surface of the moon.
He has also been so taken by the different topics discussed in class that his interests are kind of driving some of our homeschooling...
He wants to read books on the theme, do additional experiments, and do more research into the various themes.

Both boys are amazingly motivated to learn...the trick has been to tap into their interests without losing our focus...

If anyone ever has a concern about homeschooling, I wish that they could come and observe our great co-op in action! Or maybe come spend the day in our homeschool:)

For nay-sayers who worry about keeping a homeschool child "motivated" or "socialized", this group meets both needs beautifully.

If you want to see an exemplary example of a peaceful atmosphere, you should see how wonderful it is at the co-op.

The environment is great for parents, too.
On several occasions this year, our co-op has met on what would normally be a school holiday, such as Presidents' Day. This way, many fathers were able to come in and help.
Dads got a chance to spend the entire day with their children, observing and helping out where there was a need.
For the most part, the week in, week out parents at THINK are moms.
Getting together every Monday allows us to foster a real sense of community.
The group is very close and really supportive. A true Godsend, really...I feel very, very blessed that we have become part of such an awesome co-op.

In addition to the weekly classes on Mondays, the co-op also does field trips, group evening events, volunteer work, and community service projects.

What it has done is it has forced me to re-think things and to go with the idea that less is, I am working at preparing our environment to better match the themes that they are working through in their respective classes.

I will post more on this whole "less is more" soon...


Mommy Moment said...

Great post! I would love to have something like that available here. You are blessed to have such a wonderful group to be a part of!

Heidi said...

This is a totally different kind of group than our homeschool co op but so neat! I love seeing all the things the boys are doing!

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