Friday, May 1, 2009

U.S. History Co-op

One of the joys of homeschooling is getting together with other families to share the "burden" of teaching a subject and also making it a lot more fun for the kids. I have previously avoided co-ops because of either time conflicts or because there weren't any being held close by. This year a U.S. History co-op was held in Palm City and the time worked out for us to be able to join in. The reading material was taken from The Little House on the Prairie books. So each week there was a reading assignment and we had a Q&A session at the beginning of each class. From that base, we studied many things surrounding that time period. (1860) The kids studied Lincoln, slavery, grasshopper invasions, history of trains, industrial revolution, Civil War, battles, Indians and much, much more! The big projects that the kids had to do were an art depiction of either a battle or person from that time, a newspaper from the 1860's, and a report in which they had to interview an elderly person about their past. The kid's notebooks are jam-packed with things they have learned this year about the 1800's in the U.S.

The children were divided up into three groups, by age. This is the youngest group (with Nate and James) learning about the 5 senses. (This stems from the part of the story where Mary Ingalls goes blind) They are getting ready to guess what is in the cups by smelling.

This was one of the most creative classes for this age, and by far Nate and James' favorite day at co-op. Check out this piece of art. The hands are cut from sandpaper (traced around my boy's hands), the cotton puff nose had perfume on it, the ears are bells and the mouth is licorice. These papers are hanging at home now, but the mouths have been eaten by James.

This is the middle aged group, doing an art project to go along with the lesson on the meeting of the railroads. (Pacific and Atlantic)

The oldest class filling in their answer sheets as they watch a documentary on the railroad.

Back to the little ones. They were all given a canister to shake and guess what is inside by listening only.

The favorite of the 5 senses....smell! They had to sniff these cookies! This must have been pure torture for these guys! Actually, it was amazing to me how different and strong these cookies smelled. There was ginger, cinnamon, lemon and chocolate mint. Such a difficult class!

The very attentive class!

Some of the art projects. Rebecca's is in the middle on the chair. She chose to depict Harriet Tubman. Her poster had photos of Harriet and quotes she is famous for. She had some very interesting things to say! My favorite: "I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger." If you know anything about this part of our history, you know she is talking about the underground railroad and the passengers are the slaves escaping to freedom. Rebecca also made a small quilt to go with her poster. Tradition says that quilts were used as signals to the slaves on the run. The pattern in the quilt gave directions to them as they escaped north.

Elijah with his art project. He chose to depict a battle scene in a diorama.

This same day, we had two men come from the Mussel Loaders to talk to the kids and to show them Civil War era artifacts. The kids were totally fascinated!

Elijah and Michael with Michael's diorama.

Attentiveness at it's best!

The gun in the Mussel Loader gentleman's hand is exactly the type of gun used to assassinate President Lincoln. Tiny, isn't it?

On the last day of our co-op, this past Tuesday, all the children dressed up in their period (or not so period) outfits. This is the youngest group. They were singing a song about life on the farm. Nate decided to do his own version of the song.

Their teacher, Stacy Jones, gave them each a certificate of completion and a little trophy with a peanut in it. (because she was "nuts" about them!)

The oldest group was given a flag to take home and also a certificate of completion.

This is all three groups together! I have to tell you a little story about the flags. When Stacy Efinger went to Walmart to purchase the flags, a lady approached her and asked her why she was looking at the flags. Stacy explained that she was buying them for each of the older students who had participated in the co-op and completed their notebook assignments. The lady walked away after their conversation only to come back a couple minutes later. She handed Stacy a $10 bill and told her that she appreciated Stacy teaching the class about U.S. History and helping them to be proud of their country. She has a son who is currently serving overseas and she wanted to donate the money towards the flags in honor of her son. We were all moved to tears over this story and we all intend to PRAY for this young man's safe return! He has one awesome mother waiting for him!

God Bless America!!!


Kara Plank said...

Looks like a lot of fun!!! Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer said...

Looked like so much fun :~"

Misty said...

So neat! Looks like they had a lot of fun! I love history =)

Anonymous said...

God Bless America and our troups who serve to keep us safe. God bless you for teaching our grandchildren the history of our country,to love and honor our trooups. love MOM