Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Cottage Co-op

We were invited to join a Charlotte Mason co-op. So far it has been an amazing experience. CM is very focused on the whole child. I am reading the summaries of her books online right now. Here are a few quotes from volume 1 that really struck me...
Parents must teach their children that they must not misbehave because it isn't right, regardless of the mood or whim of the parent. 
Habits can overcome nature. A bad habit isn't cured by punishment or reward and it isn't outgrown. It is replaced by a new habit.
Don't let the desire to excel replace the desire to learn. Children should be given a sense of achievement for what they have accomplished rather than feel pressure of what they haven't done.
A child who is prone to stubbornness and temper doesn't have a strong will, rather, he doesn't have a strong enough will to get his passions and temper under control. The will enables us to do that which we know is right but which we may not feel like doing. Teach changing thoughts, concentration, and every act of obedience as an opportunity to conquer his inclinations.

Okay, back to the co-op...
We do nature study (this term is farm animals), habit study (self control), composer study (Aaron Copland), picture study (Grandma Moses), sing a folk song (This Land is Your Land) and read/recite a poem of choice. We have planned a field trip before each meeting to learn more about the animal and observe its behavior. The first field trip and meeting I forgot my camera so refer to our leader's blog for the information and pictures. Our focus was rabbits. Going to the Puppies and Guppies pet store to observe and learn about rabbits was a simple and yet delightful fieldtrip. Then we met for co-op and read a book, talked about the rabbits, and drew in our journals. Olivia drew a picture of the rabbit sitting in his food bowl and also a picture of the rabbits tracks. In the co-op each of the moms have a different responsibility. My focus is on the habit of self control and also to engage the younger kids in activities on their level (although we try to let them participate as much as possible as one big group). For the habit, the kids have an I WILL pledge that they say and this time we played Red Light, Green Light. I keep any teaching short and then we reinforce the skills with games/activities. It has been wonderful and Olivia and Gabe love it.

Our second nature study topic was horses. We visited Fellowship Farms in Greensboro to watch how they care for and groom their horses. Ms. Bell, our host was a lovely lady and gave us a lot of good information.

waiting in the barn

watching a horse is being groomed

Gathering for Co-op:

Nature Study- talking about seeing the horses and listening a book on jobs horses do and "The Runaway" by Robert Frost. **notice Gabe is not participating so well. :) I had told him he needed to take a seat and for some reason he was not wanting to sit that day. He wanted to be on my lap. I was holding another baby--jealous! :)

The kids are drawing in their nature journals (or coloring pictures for the little ones). Olivia drew a picture of a horse's stall and then one of the horse nodding his head. She did this by drawing several outlines of a head as though it was moving and then added up and down arrows. I thought this was a pretty inventive way to demonstrate movement. She came up with it on her own.
Picture Study time. Today they looked at Little Boy Blue by Grandma Moses. After they have observed the picture for a while with the goal of seeing it in their heads, they turn over the picture and we go around the room and the kids tell what they could remember. 

I think the nature study and picture study are great exercises in observation and noticing detail. I think these are very valuable for my kids to learn. For our habit game, we had each of the kids take turns trying to keep a straight face or keep their eyes closed while the other kids around them attempted to make them do the opposite (without touching). This turned out to be very fun! :)

One of my "jobs" at co-op is to help entertain the "littler" ones if they get restless. They usually sit well for the books, pictures and information during the nature study time but then their attentions either run out fast or they don't participate in the drawing time. I put together this matching game of sorts with pictures from our trip to the horse farm.

1 comment:

Amanda Wares said...

Very fun!!! Tell Kallie I said hello! :-)