We are three weeks into our fall semester of co-op. I know I've blogged about our wonderful, laid back, homeschooling co-op in the past and I like to post here the classes we offer as ideas for folks searching the web for ideas for their co-ops. We have 4 separate age groups and offer three classes for each age group, with the exception of the youngest group.
The youngest group is comprised of our nursery babies and toddlers, as well as several preschoolers and kindergarteners. For this group, one mom is teaching Cathechesis of the Good Shepherd. I observed in this classroom this week and was floored by the organization, structured play, and peace that permeated the class. It is a truly wonderful program and the children not only seem to really enjoy it, they are learning a new depth of appreciation for sacramentals and the sacraments.
The next group is our 1st -3rd grade group. Being a flexible group, several children in this class, including our own Lil' Wingnut, are actually kindergarten age. This age group has three classes. The first is a science class using Detective Science, in which students use science to solve mysteries in class. Their second class is a unit study of North American Native Americans. They are putting together lap books as a finished product of all their new knowledge. The third class for this group is a study of wild animals native and unique to Maryland. Lil' Wingnut is having a blast in his classes and is really hanging in there with the older kids, as long as he has a little help with cutting with scissors.
We have a nice group of 4th and 5th graders. They are taking art lessons from Ginger Hime's Simply Art DVDs. So far they have focused on drawing animals. Special K's notebook is filled with cute little realistic looking bunnies and deer. She is so excited to be learning to draw in a more realistic style. Their second class is also science using Detective Science, but with a little added difficulty. This group's final class is a study of Meso-American culture. So far, I think the final offering is Special K's favorite. It's taught by one of our most gung-ho teachers who is just as excited to teach as the kids are to learn in her classes.
The final class is made up of 7th-9th graders. They are learning about our neighbor to the north, beautiful, diverse, Canada. In order to adequately cover the material in this class, it was decided to extend the duration from 45 minutes to an hour or an hour and 15, depending on the extent of the day's material and the endurance of the instructor. This shortened the length of the second class to 15-30 minutes.
Unable to completely decide what to offer in the shortened class, it is a miss-mash of sorts. We had some very definite opinions from a couple of the students to consider. More drama was a desire for a few, while others threatened mutiny if drama was offered again. Some kind of phys ed or P.E. would be a good choice for this group, except we couldn't call it such, due to some strong student prejudices against P.E. of any kind. We decided to leave the title and what is finally taught up to the teacher. She opted for a little yoga the first couple of classes and then this last week she taught them to fold paper footballs and they happily played the associated for the duration of class.
The final offering was a popular student request that has been offered on at least three other occasions to their older siblings: photography. This is the only class I'm teaching this semester and is also the last class I will be teaching this particular co-op group. This is a fun class to teach, and this is a great group of kids to teach it to. Several of the students have great eyes and some real talent. We've had a couple truly stunning student photos and I'm looking forward to seeing what else these kids have in store.