It was a very busy week last week. We are now fully up and running in our our programs. I am finding it tiring but the kids are really enjoying the extra-curriculars so we are going to keep it up for now. Our week has taken on a very different rhythm this year: Monday we have co-op followed by an afternoon learning camp. Right now it is a Science and Tech camp for 4 weeks then for Oct/ Nov. it will be gymnastics. Tuesdays the children are at our new Community Connection class where they spend the whole day doing “school” with a cohort of their homeschooling peers. (Tuesday night is early bedtime as they are usually exhausted!). Wednesday E has a worship dance class, Thursday D has a circus/ gymnastics class and E has horseback riding, Friday we have skating lessons for 10 weeks then rec skating for an hour. Whew! In my last post I outlined that we spend our mornings doing math and language and so far we seem to be getting it all in!
This week at co-op we learned about genre in writing and reading. We played games where we sorted ourselves by hair colour, eye colour and then by age group. We talked about how we sort books too and introduced the genres of fiction and non-fiction. We had a large library display set up so I asked the kids to sort the books from the display into the appropriate categories. After they were finished we talked about what criteria they used to sort the books; such as looking at the cover, looking inside at whether it is a story or information book and even the clues of what kind of illustrations were used. Then we added in one more genre to the lesson as we talked about journals and the idea that they are neither fiction or non-fiction just like some people had hazel or green eyes and couldn’t join either the blue eyed or brown eyed group. The children brainstormed about why a journal doesn’t fit and came to the conclusion that a journal holds our thoughts which are sometimes about real things and sometimes about made up things, feelings, or ideas. As an extension I told the kids to go sit by whatever pile of books they thought looked most interesting and we made a bar graph showing our surprising class preference for non-fiction books. Finally we used a journal prompt page which they enjoyed filling in and exploring different ways to do journalling.
After recess we read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. The children had to think about the patterns in the writing and then at the end of the book we talked about them. We looked back at our piles of books and talked about Author’s purpose and audience then tied it into The Important Book. I led a shared writing lesson where we started with the line: “the important thing about an author is that they write.” Then the children brainstormed other thoughts about authors to create the middle of the writing and finally at the end we repeated the opening statement: “the important thing about an author is that they write.” The children returned to the table and began a guided writing activity to make up an independent version of this piece. (For our littlest ones I provided sentence strips and they had help from older students or adults reading the strips and then they chose which ones they wanted to put in their poem.)
We had a special event on Wednesday this week as we hosted a documentary crew in our home for a couple of hours to talk about homeschooling and co-operative learning groups. We did a small co-op lesson with a couple of other families about rhyming couplets and the kids wrote silly poems with the rhyming words we brainstormed. The crew interviewed me then filmed our lesson and the kids working. They also asked to film our homeschooling areas around our house and how we organize our curriculum. It was a great interactive opportunity for the kids to learn about media and how information is gathered and presented for television.
Due to the high intensity of all this new busyness, I forgot to get my camera out the rest of the week so don’t have much in the way of pictures for this post. E had a great time at her first horse-back riding lesson, D loves circus class, skating is improving and Saturday is our make up day as we catch up from the busy week. We had a wonderful Sabbath with friends over for the day and as I look back at the week that was I am so thankful for all of these opportunities and life learning that we get to do together.