Botany In A Homeschool Co-op


Botany In A Home School Co-op

Our text for the co-op will be Exploring Creation with Botany by Jeannie Fulbright. We won’t be using this text as written but will be picking and choosing activities and sections of text to read from it.

Our Co-op has many different age levels and abilities. The children who attend and actually participate are from ages 2-19. We meet for 3 hours each week.


Textbook we are using, picture links to purchasing info*

Why not use the entire text?

We only have from January 25th through June 14th, not enough time to work through the entire book. Maybe next year we can do a more thorough study but this year we are focusing on a few topics and experiments of interest and adding in a few projects I have done in the past that I just love to do.

About 7 years ago our family worked our way through this Botany text and enjoyed it very much. Using it as the backbone to our co-op classes seemed appropriate.


Which sections did I decide to use?

In all honesty, I am using most of the chapters of the book but only certain sections within those chapters. Here is a sample of how this will work for our co-op:


January 25th
Non-Vascular Plants:

  • Read pages 10-11 “Moss” in class, then page 15 after activity
  • Do the following experiments:
    • Notebook page about Non-Vascular Plants
    • Paper towel Activity page 10
  • Vocabulary words for the week: botany, moss, non-vascular, lichen, Bryophyta, fungus, algae


February 1st

  • Read pages 23-24 in class and then read page 25 to top of 26 when seed is open
  • Do the following experiments:
    • Open A Seed Activity page 24
    • Germination Project pages 29-30 and use chart to chart growth of plants during the week
  • Vocabulary words for the week: testa, hilum, cotyledons, radicle, hypocotyl, epicotyl, plumule, endoserm, hypothesis


February 8th
Flowers: Monocots and Dicots

  • Read pages 31-32 in class
  • Do the following experiments:
    • Identify Monocot / Dicot Notebook Activity page 32
    • Using Picture Identify Flowers page 33, Need pictures of flowers to cut out
  • Vocabulary words for the week: monocotyledon, dicotyledon



From the above information you can see a few things:

  • We only meet once a week
  • I have about 1/2 hours worth of experiments for Botany planned
  • We do not read the entire chapter of the book but only a few pages each week  that are relevant to our topic
  • I use the accompanying Notebook with the textbook (yes I have purchased enough of these for the entire co-op and will order more if more kiddos choose to attend, per the copyright)
  • These seem like easy experiments to choose from the book

Notebook we are using, picture links to purchasing info.*



I am going to address the last point here:

These seem like easy experiments to choose from the book…

You are totally correct. REASONING: We will also be doing a pretty comprehensive study of another Apologia science book entitled Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Exploring Creation with Zoology 1 by the same author. Due to the fact that we will be working more deeply with this text our studies in Botany will be less deep, hope that makes sense.


The other textbook we are using, picture links to purchasing info.*


Why even do this study if we can’t do a complex study of Botany?

There are members of our co-op that have never grown their own garden and want to learn how. There are children of mine in our group that would like to grow their own plants in our garden this year and would like to learn more about how to make them grow better. Spring seems like the perfect time to be doing a study of Botany.


Our studies in Botany will focus on:

  • various types of plants and what grows best in our area
  • what makes up a plant, it’s parts and purposes of them
  • growing plants and building a light hut for experiments
  • testing different conditions when growing plants, fertilizers, light, talking to them
  • learning about our own soil to aid in plant growth, PH, soils composition, moisture content
  • Pretty much “Learning the How’s and Why’s of Growing Our Own Garden”


*These are all NON Affiliate links, just added for your convenience.*


Hope this information was useful 🙂 I think I will write about our Flying Creature study next time as this will include building drones and aerodynamics.

Have a great week!!





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Middle Ages in A Homeschool Co-op



So the first subject I  decided on for this Winter Spring Home school Co-op is the Middle Ages. We have done this subject previously about 3 years ago. I am using some of my previous lesson plans but I am also adding in some new stuff from the book: The Story of The World Volume 2: Middle Ages.


Our plans include studying:


  • Castles: which will also lead into studying the castles in our state and sketching them

  • Medieval Life: we will learn how to juggle as the jesters did

  • Mapping: we will be mapping out how different parts of the Middle Ages developed, such as the Roman Empire and the Spread of Islam

  • Building Castles: this is one thing we have done previously, we take lots of cardboard tubes and long boxes and create castles

  • Manuscripts: we will study what these are and then using tea we will create paper that looks like manuscript paper from long ago and using a quill we make and ink we make we will write on these manuscripts.

  • Haiku: we will compose and illustrate a Haiku poem

  • Vikings: we will be making Viking boats and long houses

  • Memory work: we will memorize the Norman and Saxon by Kipling

  • Chess: we will be working on this for a few weeks as we read through a really well written book from the library about beginners chess


There is more but that gives you a taste of what we will be doing. My co-op classes I lead are true project based classes. There is some at home prep like working on vocabulary for the lesson or maybe watching a video about what we will be studying or reading a book about the topic, BUT once you get to class it is project after project after project till we have a snack 🙂

The Middle Ages leads to such a fun co-op class because even the thought of it is BIG. Lots of large projects like castle building that leads to having many hands working together to create one project.


Memory Work


When the children are working together on a memory work project it is a little different. I am careful not to make the student who are not as good at memory work look like they are bad at it. One way I do this is by asking which students would like to recite their work alone. I make sure I say that no one is required to but I know that some students who love to memorize feel good about themselves when they stand up front and recite. After the recitation I ask the group to take out their papers and recite it together a couple times and suggest working on them at home.


At no time is a child required to recite their memory work alone, I just don’t do that.


I want the children to feel good about themselves and what they have accomplished and standing up in front of a group of people is not part of that, the memory work is. I can easily ask them or their parent if they have enjoyed working on the memory work and how it is going without embarrassing the child.


Hands-On is Just FUN Learning!


I feel like hands-on learning is just one of the best ways to fix an idea in a brain. I can talk all day about how a draw bridge works and the child can even read about how a draw bridge works. BUT if we build a draw bridge in class and the child is working with his hands and trying to figure out how much weight is needed to cause that draw bridge to close they just GET IT! The brain understands as the hands manipulate the pieces of the puzzle. It’s so wonderful to see their eyes light up or the brains going a mile a minute as they design a NEW way to make something work.


Learning Together is ….


The kids are so good with each other. I have children from ages 6 to 19 in my classes. The younger kids aren’t expected to do everything in the class, well even the older kids aren’t, but most of the time all of them are doing all the projects. The big kids help the younger kids but even when they are just working on their own things they are interacting with the other kids and figuring out something new or interesting by watching someone else figuring out the same problem.

When we start working on learning chess for example there will be a lot of loosing. But I love losing. Why do I love losing? In my losing I can concentrate more on what my opponent is doing and learn from it. Does that make sense? Let’s say I start out the game the same way 3 times in a row. My opponent tries different moves on me and I watch as he does these moves and how well they work. I didn’t do anything different so my brain was open to watch how he reacted and what the outcome was.


Real-Life Example of Learning From Losing


My 17yo daughter has been learning Mancala. She kind of remembers using it as a younger kid but forgot. She asked if I wanted to play, I said sure. She had been playing with her sister for a bit and her sister was tired of it. I played knowing I was going to loose. I lost 3 times in a row. I played the same way 3 times in a row and watched how she won. I used most of her strategy the 4th time I played and I won.

She said that that was just how she had learned to play and win. She said that she was using “SomeSchoolGames” online at the library and was losing Mancala every time against the computer. So she started studying how the computer was winning while she was losing and was able to gain enough skill to beat the computer. So it’s true, it works.

One to what else we will be doing this co-op session and how I am planning it out.


Here is a sample of what I have planned for one co-op weekly class on February 15th, mind you it is not complete but this is what I figured out yesterday:




As you can see the day will be pretty full of hand-on activities. Some of the topics for this session of Co-op will include:


  • Middle Ages

  • Flight

  • Birds

  • Botany / Earths Composition / Soil

  • Painting / Sketching / Watercolors

Those are my rough thoughts on that section of my chart. The vocabulary and reading will be done at home. There will also be other things to be done at home I just haven’t finished these lesson plans up yet.

I have the children keep vocabulary notebooks in which they write all the definitions for the words for the week. Last year I had them write the definitions ahead of time so they kind of knew what we would be studying. This year I am going to have them do the words afterwards to reinforce what we studied. Not sure which way will be best to move forward with so I am going to try is this way this time.


How did I choose these topics?


These are all things my kids are interested in studying. We will pretty much be done all the school work I am requiring of them by April 1st so these lessons will be just for fun and they will learn something also.


More topics will include:


  • Building with Redstone in Minecraft: watching videos and then working together on a build on my server

  • Bats: we will learn how their wings work and about building bat houses

  • Geocaching: we will be doing geocaches during our adventures around the state looking at castles

  • Counties in Our State: I have always wanted to learn more about the counties in our state so a few of our excursions will be just finding these counties

  • Insects: making an insect board to study insects in our area

  • Covered Bridges: looking at them and sketching them

  • Doing a Food Challenge: this is where we take different brands o one kind of food and to taste tests and graph the results and report the results

  • Power Points: a few of the children do not know how to make Power Points so we are going to work on learning how to make one for class

  • Drones: we will build drones for class

  • Eggs: we will be candling eggs and learning about which kinds of animals have eggs


I hope these ideas have been useful to you. Next time I think I will write about the Science topics we will be studying and how we will go about studying them or how I go about writing up the lesson plans for the classes.

Have a great week.

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Winter and Spring Co-op Classes


Homeschooling with a co-op: Winter and Spring Co-op Classes

Last year we had a wonderful co-op which focused on the senses of the body. It was very in-depth even dissecting a cows eye during our vision lessons. A few families would like to continue this kind of class in the winter and spring of the coming year. So, while I mesh out what I am going to do I will show you what we did and what my possible plans are coming up.

Each week I prepared a lesson plan of sorts and on the lesson plan were the topics and subjects for the week. They included:



The Bible lesson corresponded to out activities for the week. I use the Konos curriculum as a backbone of our studies. It is an excellent book for co-op use.

In the following samples we were studying the topic of hearing.


I would write us the Vocabulary section for each week  and by the end of the year each child had a wonderful vocabulary notebook to look back on. Here is a sample of what I did last year:


I am going to continue this again as my children learned so much just from looking up these words and it seemed very beneficial to them. The other parents in the group also felt that their children learned a lot from this practice.


I would try to have these topics correspond very closely to what we were studying as you can see by this example.


I would also like to continue this but it sure was a lot of work on my part. I may cut this part down a bit and make it more creator friendly.


In this section I would lost either a book to read or a topic to find book about. Somtimes it would be a link to an article to read.


Our state homeschooling office like writing samples and there were members of our co-op that needed work on their writing skills so I always included this section.


I may continue this or I may start doing it every other week instead.


Here is a link to a blog post I wrote about Teaching Language Arts in a Co-op. I do it a bit differently sometimes. This past year I had most of the language arts activities done at home and then reviewed them in class while we did a hands on activity to enforce what we had learned at home.

I believe I will continue to tweak this topic as it seems hard to make work in a co-op setting.


Each week there was a HUGE list of activities to reinforce the topic. These were for the parent to choose from but sometimes the parent thought they had to do them all and sometimes they didn’t have time to do any. Here is a partial sample of what I would include. Again, these are from the Konos curriculum for some of them and the quotes are from those books.


I am definitely doing this differently in the coming year. It was so so much work on my part and not sure is it was used properly by parents and I don’t want it to be a burden to them or to me.


These are a list of the activities that we would be doing in the co-op that week. We met for 3 hours and I pretty much filled that time with hands on stuff as you can see below.


We will be doing this exactly like this again. It was perfect and so glad we did it this way.

Hope this was useful to you 🙂

Quotes and ideas from: KONOS Curriculum Volume 1 by Carole Thaxton and Jessica Hulcy, copyright 1997




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Multi Age Language Arts Homeschool Co-op

I think I figured it out. In my last post I was trying to figure out how I would run a multi age language arts homeschool co-op and when. Here is what I decided on and a bit about the journey.

I found it very difficult at first to get my mind around teaching language arts (LA) to such a large span of ages and grades. Our grade range is K-12. Once I realized what I could teach to that group and how to adjust to the ages it was a lot more relaxing to my mind and I could more easily figure it out.

I remembered that I had done poetry with a group of kids like this early last year. Then I thought about what other things could I do that were like that. 

Here are a few ideas I will be using:

  • Book reports: three sentences for my K kids and longer as the ages go up. Anyone can write one if they understand what it means.
  • Poetry
  • Taking notes
  • Report writing from notes
  • Writing a story from a picture
  • Parts and form of a friendly letter
  • Basic parts of speech: naming words – nouns, finding them in reading, who, what, and where in a story. Older kids do worksheet with higher expectations.
  • Developing a paragraph
  • Alphabetizing: I have worksheets for all grade levels kinda like speed drills for the older kids.

Still figuring out my last topics. Some ideas I have are:

  • Cursive writing
  • Dictionary use
  • Outlining 
  • Capitalization and punctuation 
  • Vocabulary 
  • Synonyms, homonyms, and antonyms 

I had grabbed one of my old Rod and Staff English books and thought, “I have got to figure out what to teach these guys.” As I was looking through I saw there were certain “special” topics that had an asterisk beside them. These topics seemed perfect and less grade specific. So I used them. Mainly the ones from grade 4 but at least 1 from the grade 2 book.

How I figured out the timing. 

Not sure if you have read my last post but I was trying to figure out when I would be able to actually teach this due to my time constraints this year. Here is what I came up with:

  • 10-11am History
  • 11-12pm Science
  • 12-12:30pm Lunch
  • 12:30-1pm Bible Drill
  • 1-1:30pm Language Arts
  • 1:30-2:30pm Math (new concept from 1:30-2pm and tutoring from 2-2:30.)

I think it may work. Hoping the transition between classes is pretty quick. 

I am planning on one paper per month that a parent will be able to use in a portfolio of assessment at the end of the school year. As I have said before, this class is to help parents meet the minimum requirements for homeschooling in our state. I personally know that the state office likes 8-10 papers in the area of Language Arts so that is about one a month. This plan will give them 9.

My monthly plan for Language Arts portfolio papers looks like this:

  • October Poetry: one written poem 
  • November Book Report: self explanatory 
  • December Taking Notes: one sheet of notes taken on any piece of writing of their choice
  • January Report Writing from Notes: using those notes to write a report
  • February Writing a Story from a Picture: either a random picture I give them or one they choose
  • March Parts of Speech: most likely a worksheet printed up they fill in, very basic for the younger guys and more involved for the older crowd 
  • April Parts and Form of a Friendly Letter: a letter
  • May This is the month I haven’t figured out yet
  • June Alphabetical Order and Dictionary Skills: a speed drill type paper for ABC order and a vocabulary sheet for older kids with a “find it in a dictionary” page for the younger kids

So that’s the plan I have come up with. I like it pretty well. Hoping the weekly lessons are short enough to fit in this time slot. I am presenting the plan to our group today, so we will see how it flies.

Next up: Planning Math for a Multi Age Co-op: wish me luck

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Planning for this Years Co-op Classes

Here is me thinking out loud:

I am trying to figure out what to teach this year. There has been a request in our homeschool group for me to start up classes again. I had stopped abruptly last winter. I am looking forward to staring up again in a couple weeks but because I had not expected to do this again this year I am up in the air about my topics. The co-op is like a one room school house with grades K-12.

The subjects I believe I will cover are Science, History, Math, and Bible drill. I was going to add Language Arts but not sure if there is time. We already run an Art Club, Drama Club, and a soccer team as a family. There is already a book club and an open gym to attend. 

The subject areas required in our state are:

  1. Language Arts
  2. Math 
  3. History
  4. Health
  5. Physical Education
  6. Literature 
  7. Science
  8. Fine Arts

I was trying to base my classes and clubs off of this list to make it easier for some families to accomplish it all. Subjects listed above that are taken care of are 5, 6, and 8 (Phys Ed, literature, and fine arts). I can combine science and health with no problem but I have a time constraint of 10-2pm. Leaving 1/2 for lunch I only have 3 1/2 hours for classes.

My science and history classes are hands on activities, experiments, and projects. There is very little sitting time. They will take an hour each. I used to take a full 2 hours with each one so 1 hour will be tight anyway. Can’t cut those down any more than that.

Thinking about the language arts classes. I have run poetry classes and composition classes and also a bit of language arts parts of speech class oh and a classes about letter writing but nothing I truly loved how they ran. 

Science topic ideas: astronomy, inventions and simple machines, global exploration, and botany 

History topic ideas: Native Anericans by region of the US, Russian history and geography, and early American history 13 colonies, memorizing famous Anerican stuff life the Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge, flag etiquette, etc.

Math ideas include: math games, drill, and critical thinking activities

Bible drill ideas: books of the Bible, sword drills, memorizing basic fundamentals like 10 commandments, 23 Psalm, etc. studying a chapter of the Bible for a week and then quiz drill on it

Language Arts just does not lend itself well to a multi age co-op. UNLESS what if I assign homework activities that would incorporate these topics. OR a quick talk on a language arts topic then a worksheet for at home. Boring but it could work. 

That’s all my thoughts for now. Hopefully I will get it figured out and share it here. Thanks for listening.

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Planning Homeschool Co-op Classes

We had a wonderful fall series of Homeschool Co-ops. Our classes were:

  • the Human Body
  • Choir
  • Career Preparedness

Our upcoming winter classes are:

  • Exploring Weather
  • Drama Club
  • Dissection 101

For the month of December I am supposed to be taking a break from co-op classes.

BUT I am in planning mode for upcoming classes. So, I thought I would share how I plan for my co-op classes. As I have said before I teach all of these classes. Guess that would make me a first born, type A personality. Anyway, here goes.


How I Plan for Co-op Classes

At the beginning of August I planned out all the 3 sessions of classes that we would be having, a total of 9 classes. When I learned that people were interested in what I was offering I began making the syllabus’s for each class. In each syllabus I listed what the topics for every week would be. The syllabus topics are ideas I got from websites, books, and from my past teaching of these topics.

For example I will be showing how I am planning the Exploring Weather co-op class.


Here are the weekly topics for the Exploring Weather class:

  • Weather Maps
  • Sun, Seasons, & Weather
  • Wind & Air Pressure
  • Clouds & Precipitation
  • Tornados & Hurricanes
  • Lightening & Storms
  • Rain & Snow
  • The Water Cycle

I make up a word document to put all my notes on or sometimes I just use a notebook and divide it into 8 sections. The 8 sections are for the 8 weeks of topics I will be teaching. I need a spot to write all the information down that I find as I scour the internet and search through the books I have here. I start with what I have here.


What books do I have here that I look through for ideas for this topic?


What am I looking for when I search through these books and online?

  • projects that would interest children ages 5-17, not always an easy task but I do find them and we make 4 of these each week
  • I need information for my power point that is relevant to my high school students but that I will carefully write to be understandable for my younger students
  • edible projects, the kids love these
  • they must be projects that stick the info into the children’s minds not just busy work
  • interesting information that would someday help them win Jeopardy, not really but that is what I joke with them, the information is unusual, funny, and relevant


How do I note these resources? Here is an example..

  • Considering God’s Creation – Weather Chart – Page 47
  • Rainbow Curriculum – Pressure Lows and Highs – Page 294
  • Rainbow Curriculum – Wind – Page 295
  • etc.

I have a set of objectives that I want them to know when they leave the class for the day. I don’t need them to memorize what I teach. I want to be laying a foundation for further knowledge. I want them to recognize that they heard this information before. For example: When a child is doing their science work a few years from now they come to the topic of Weather Maps and remember, “I know what that is!” and continue reading with a basic understanding of the topic 🙂 That is my goal for my younger students.

For my older students I have slightly different objectives. This may be the last time they are hearing this information. They have a foundation from previous years. They are remembering that foundation. I am adding to that with what is in the power point. I know what they have learned before because I was there when they were learning it. I will stand in front of class and say, “You need to know this information,” and threaten a test later that week. It is not really a threat since they like taking tests and they will know the information for the test by being in the class.


Next I search the internet…

I just type my topic in and add the words: project, activity, lessons, video, elementary, or worksheet. For example: “weather maps project”. Depending on what I am searching for I will add the appropriate word. I won’t bore you with this as I am sure you are all used to finding something you would like on the world wide web.

One addition thing I do for my class is add worksheets, videos, and activities to our homeschool website with the topics. This way if the parents want they can continue their study at home after class or start their study at home before class.


I try and have my co-ops run like this:

  • opening slide with title of class
  • short intro video
  • short informational info slide
  • a project right away
  • sit and listen to me read a slide of the power point
  • an activity with movement
  • a snack related to class (like a krispy rice cereal brain, see picture below)
  • sit and listen a bit longer while they eat a snack, this is usually the time I have that bit of info for my older children
  • a project
  • stand and listen to how that project relates to our subject
  • final project and review


I know for each topic I am searching for  I need:

  • 4 – 5 slides of relevant information, one slide that is geared to 7-12th graders
  • 4 projects or activities
  • 1 topic related snack
  • 1 short video

This week as I finish up my planning for these classes I will reference this list of what I need so I don’t miss anything in my searches.


What have I done so far for the upcoming classes?

  • made up my paper for listing all the cool stuff I find about each topic
  • searched my books for information and noted it
  • searched for worksheets for addition to the website link for the topics


What do I still need to do?

  • make up the power points for each class so I can start adding my information to the slides
  • decide what I want the kids to know for each class, my main objectives
  • decide on my edible projects
  • decide what other projects I will be doing, trying to use supplies I have on hand
  • make a list of supplies for these classes that I don’t have
  • find other resources to link my main website to for the topics
  • print this list so I don’t forget to do anything 🙂


Hope you enjoyed reading about how I plan my co-op classes.


rice krispy brain

Tech made this krispy rice brain with the lobes labeled.


What do you do in preparation for teaching your kids?

Happy homeschooling!

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Skeletal System


Labeling our bones

This week for homeschool co-op classes we studied the skeletal system. We do hands on lessons to learn about our topics.

What did we do and learn?

  • What is the skeletal system
  • The names of our bones
  • We labeled our bones
  • How bones heal
  • We made a bone
  • We made a spine
  • We investigated a cow (soup) bone

Here are some pictures from class:

,3 bone cookies

Our snack for class was 
White Chocolate Dipped Mint Sugar Cookies. Recipe here.


The “little man”. We color a system on him each week as we study.

20141020_122430 20141020_122452 20141020_122503

These three young men are sporting white labels. Each label names a bone in their body and is attached in the correct spot.


Supplies for making a bone model.


Here is a model of a bone done.


Close-up of bone model


Digging the marrow out of a bone.


Bone marrow dug out of the bone.


Supplies for making a spine.


Working on building spines


Working on building a spine.


A spine built

Thank you to:
For all your ideas

Happy Homeschooling!

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Digestive System

This past week our homeschool co-op was on the Digestive System. Our co-op is a hands-on class where we learn by doing.

What did we do and learn?

  • What the digestive system is
  • Where food starts getting broken down
  • What saliva does
  • Where saliva comes from
  • How does food get from your mouth to your stomach
  • What peristalsis is
  • How the stomach works
  • How the small intestines absorb food
  • What the large intestines do

Each of these topics had an experiment that went along with it. For example the process that takes place for your food to get to your stomach is not gravity. Each child took a sip of water and held it in their mouths. Then they bent over so their heads were hanging down and then swallowed. This proved that the water did not go down via gravity because their stomach was above their mouths when they were bent over. Don’t think they will forget that one.

Here are some pictures from class.

boys intestine

Squeezing oatmeal through nylons aka food moving though the small intestines peristalsis.


More squeezing


Coloring in the digestive system on our “little man” This is what is pulling the entire series of human body lessons together.


More squeezing. I think this was their favorite part.


Thought I would give it a try. It was gross but cool.

Happy Homeschooling!


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Language Arts is Difficult to Incorporate into a Homeschool Co-op


I enjoy teaching homeschool co-ops. My favorite kinds are Science and History Hands-On Co-ops. I personally find it difficult to add Language Arts into a class like that type of class. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Language Arts. I love all of it from Spelling to Poetry to Diagraming Sentences. What I find difficult is adding this kind of sit-down type work to my classes.

The classes I teach usually follow this type of pattern:

  • Assemble and watch a quick video on our subject
  • Hands on activity
  • Sit and listen for a bit to screen presentation
  • Hands on activity
  • Sit and listen while having a snack
  • Hands on activity
  • Sit and listen for a bit
  • Final hands on activity
  • Closing words

Incorporating Language Arts into these hands-on co-ops was something I tried to do in the beginning two and a half years ago when I started teaching these classes on Mondays. I used bits and pieces of Language Arts spread throughout. I still kind of do this by having the children spell a word out loud with me as I point to the word on the projector screen. I do this with unusual words like the word Diaphragm from last week. Mainly for my won kids so that they stop and think for just a minute and get focused again. But also because it may be useful to them someday.

My co-ops are geared toward children K-12th grade. It is easier for me to gear a Science experiment to that age range than a Language Arts lesson. It is easier to reenact a battle in a History co-op with a large age range than to add Language Arts to that lesson also. I find it best to separate the Language Arts lessons out into their own classes.

Last year I ran an interesting co-op class about Poetry. We worked on a different type of poetry each week. We would listen to some selections of a certain type of poetry, I would show the how-to of writing it, and then we would practice doing our own. The premise was great. The draw back was the non-writers and struggling reader/writers in the group. I did not want them to feel like they were slower than the rest of the group. (One of the reasons some of them are homeschooled to begin with.) I also did not want the advanced student to be waiting forever and start to be bothered by the students who were slower and have bad attitudes towards them. I accomplished this by having a mentor or parent sit with the children who needed it. But this was just like in school when a student receives extra help and everyone knows it, still bad feelings were happening. So I finally decided on giving the group the choice. They could write their poem or they could just say their poem out loud. This worked great! All were happy and we had a successful end to our Poetry Co-op.

Adding Language Arts info to a hands-on co-op is hard though and so I have continued to have these LA kinds of co-ops separate from the hands-on ones.

For example here are some Language Arts only co-ops we have done and  some we still do:

  • Poetry Co-op
  • Spelling Bee
  • Writing Group
  • Reading Mentoring Group

This seems to work better for all involved.

What has been your experience with adding Language Arts to a homeschool co-op? Any ideas would be helpful, thanks.


Categories: Language Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Respiratory System Co-op

Sponge Painted Lungs

Sponge Painted Lungs

This week at Homeschool Co-op I taught about the Respiratory System. In our classes we focus on hands-on projects, mixed with a little bit of listening, and a snack. This is a perfect recipe for learning and fun! I made some really cool Krispy Rice Cereal Lungs which of course I forgot to take a picture of.. But how many times do you get a chance to say, “Did everyone get a piece of lung?”

I usually prepare a power point type presentation which includes at least one quick video on out topic. We meet for one hour on Mondays so there is only time for about 4 projects.

Here is what we did this week:

  1. We started with coloring in our “Body Systems Man“. He is a folded cut-out paper doll type man which has a different body system on each section.
  2. We talked about the fact that you can live for about thirty days without food, three days without water, but only three minutes without air! and that you breath about 20 times in a minute.
  3. I reminded them of the class last week where we learned how the blood goes through the heart and gets oxygenated and then goes back through the heart and then throughout the body. That the respiratory system is the system that oxygenates the blood.
  4. We made the sponge painted lungs (using this picture) and added the diaphragm and brush painted the trachea. Lastly we added alveoli as blue dots on the lungs.
  5. We talked about how large their lungs are in comparison to their body. We discussed the diaphragm and its function of pulling air into the lungs.
  6. We watched this video at minute 1:59 to see the lungs inflate.
  7. Then we built a lung using a project from this site:Learning About Respiration
  8. We talked about air pressure and breathing. We talked again about the diaphragm.
  9. We discussed lung capacity and then did this project to measure our lung volume. We modified it a little bit and measured what was left in the bottle by pouring it out into a measuring cup then subtracting that from the total amount in the bottle to get the lung capacity.

The children had so much fun. The favorite project this week was sponge painting the lungs.

Thanks to:

Categories: Monday Classes, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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