The Imagination Village

We started our new homeschool co-op last Friday with some good friends from Treehouse (which was our co-op from last year). It's a brand new group and we're all excited about putting together unique learning opportunities for our kids. There's about 30 children in the group so far, and we meet at the Sager Arts Center in Siloam Springs - a great old building with tons of character and plenty of space.

Both Brennan and Rich are taking a Nature Study class, Rich is taking Art and Periods in History (this week was the Renaissance), and Brennan is taking Movement and Music, and a class that teaches rhyming through games and activities. The boys had a blast and got to hang out with friends all day, learn new things, and help start a community from the ground up.

If you're not familiar with the concepts of a co-op, it's simply a group of homeschool families that meet regularly (in our case, once a week) to offer a group learning setting for the kids. The great benefit of a co-op is that parents teach the classes, which means the kids tend to learn things that are outside of their own parent's ability to teach. For instance, the boy's nature class is taught by two parents with a strong background in botany and biology - something I know very little about. Conversely, I'm teaching a class for the older kids that demonstrates the effects of political and economic change on the music and entertainment industry (talk about a specialty class!). It's fun to start this adventure with friends and see where it takes us.


We're baaaaack!

It's been a long, crazy summer, so I haven't had time to post. We've struggled with a health crisis (mine) and found that our idea of learning stands the test: EVERYTHING is a learning experience. You'd be amazed what technicians at hospitals will let kids watch if the kids are inquisitive enough. But I digress...

We're trying to add a bit more structure this year, at least with Maths and History, which seems to be working well so far. We're also still looking for real life opportunities to learn everywhere - from baking cakes and trips to the grocery store, to helping mom pay the bills and and clean the van out.

Rich is currently immersed in ancient Egypt, which involves making cuniform tablets and papryus scrolls and putting them through a number of tests to see which is more durable, building a living model of the Nile and pyramids in an aluminum baking dish, and reading about foods and holidays of ancient Egypt. He's also wildly enamored with the excellent and hysterical Franny K. Stein book series right now. Recommended if your kid likes mad science, sentient lunchmeat, and experiments involving brain transplantations.

Brennan is learning about Animal Habitats, which involves a lot of craft projects, studying animals in their natural surroundings, drawing pictures and making up stories about them. By way of this, he's learning about his immediate environment (the home) and his larger environment (the earth). His favorite thing so far is his construction paper/clothespin snapping turtle.

So all in all, we've had a good two weeks so far. Looking forward to getting outside some more now that it's not 275 degrees outside.