Around the World in 8 Meetings: Our Geography Co-op

I've wanted to join some type of PreK co-op for a while, but there's it's hard to find one. Most groups are already established, or have so many older children that the those of us with only younger kiddos can't really find a spot to fit in. And then someone suggested that I put my own co-op together. Voila! So a friend and I got together and started a geography co-op geared towards children spanning from 3-8. A bit of a big range, so most activities are geared somewhere towards the middle. 

We've only had one meeting so far, but it was fun! I wish I could post pictures, but alas, I didn't have a camera at this time (I sat on ours and broke it...) For those of you who would like to do some simple, play based geography lessons, maybe our plans will help you out:

Monthly Plan 1:
Theme: Maps and Continents
  • Reading: As the Crow Flies - First Book of Maps
    ABCs of Geography
  • Craft: Make a Passport
  • Activity: Make a Map - Provide an outlined map of backyard. Children will fill out the map with backyard destinations, gluing pictures of the destinations in the appropriate places.
  • Activity: Grocery Bag Globes - Take larger size brown bags from the grocery store and stuff with newspaper until full. Tape closed and push corners from the bottom of the bag down to make as round as possible. It won't be perfectly round but fairly close. Color blue. Then glue continents on.
  • Music: Wee Sing Around the World, Song #1
  • Game: North South East West!
And that's it! We're going to be studying South America next week, and now I have a camera so unless it ends up under me again, there should be pictures for the next post.

Firm Foundations 7:1

Theme: God created the first family - Adam & Eve
"And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female..." (Matt. 19:4)

Scripture Memory: Review Psalm 119:9-10. Check out this great post from the North American Mission Board on fun Scripture review games. There's a lot to choose from!

Catechism Q&A: Q.  Who were our first parents? A. Adam and Eve. (Use some of the review ideas from the above link for the Catechism as well)

Thee I do Wed: Marriage's foundations are found in the account of God's creation of Adam and Eve. Read Genesis 2:15-24. Then create a Paper People Chain with your children. Talk about how God created marriage to just one man and just one woman for life. Decorate the paper people in the middle as a man and woman, and cut away the other connected people in the chain. Once we're married, we stay married to that man or that woman and don't get married to anyone else.

Pull out your wedding photos and/or video. Look at them together and talk about how special your wedding day was. Again, emphasize how you are married to your spouse for life.

Notebook: Paste your paper people on day 1 of this week's notebooking page.

Composer Study for Homeschoolers

Immersing my children in the arts is extremely important to me during our homeschool journey. We've started on artist study using Artistic Pursuits as our guide. But I haven't done much in the way of composer study so far. Jamie's post over at Simple Homeschool is worth a read if you've been wanting to delve into music more with your students. I'm especially looking forward to getting my hands on Beethoven's Wig! Sounds quite fun!

Firm Foundations 6:4

Theme: Memorize Scripture so you'll remember what God says!
"Thy word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee." (Psalm 119:11)

Scripture Memory: Review Ps. 119:9. Then begin on verse 10:
  • "I seek you (Cup hand over eyes as though searching for something)
  • With all my heart (Draw heart with both fingers)
  • Do not let me stray (Shake head while doing the ASL sign for "lost")
  • From your commands (Put hands together in a book shape)."
Catechism Q&A: Review Q&A 14 - Q. Where do you learn how to love and obey God? A. In the Bible alone.

Pass a Message: Read Psalm 1. The psalmist points out several blessings for the person who loves and mediates on God's word. When something is very important to us, we memorize it so we won't forget it.
Play a version of "Telephone" where you whisper a message to one of your children. They must either run to another child and whisper the message, or pass it on to their other parent or a grandparent. Is it hard to remember the messages? If so, have them repeat it back to you several times before delivering it. Talk about how important it is to repeat Scripture over and over in order to memorize it, just like they've been doing with the Bible memory passages.

Read Along: We read this book during the Proverbs Project lessons, but it's such a fun one that we're going to read it again. Don't Forget the Bacon recounts the hiliarious escapades of a boy trying to remember the shopping list his mother verbally gave to him that morning.

Children's Introduction to the Orchestra...and other amazing free recordings!

I just discovered the coolest site while trying to locate an introduction to the orchestra for children. I found that and a WHOLE lot more here: Artsreformation's children's record collection. There are mp3s of the Talespinners for Children collection from the 50s, selectons from the Introduction to... series, as well as much, much more. Great resource! My only caveat is I have no idea how the copyright works on this case. Okay to download? Anyone have any knowledge of this?

Firm Foundations 6:3

Theme: The Bible warns us about dangers
"The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous...By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward". (Psalm 19:9b, 11)

Scripture Memory: Review Psalm 119:9. Tomorrow we'll start on verse 10.

Catechism Q&A: Q. Where do you learn how to love and obey God? A. In the Bible alone.

A"maze"ing Escape: Read Prov. 1:10, 18-19; Prov 4:14-15; Prov. 10:4, 13, 25. Help your children identify the dangers these verses warn against. Share with them how important it is to heed God's word so that they'll avoid the snares of the world, the flesh and the devil. Share a personal account from your life of a time you either obeyed or disobeyed Scripture and the resulting situation.

Have some fun with this lesson by playing "A'maze'ing Escape". This activity requires a good bit of preparation on your part, but it's quite enjoyable so that makes it worth it, right? When your children aren't around, draw a maze with chalk outside. Then put pictures of lions, bees, dragons, bears (anything that would count as "dangerous") underneath bowls that are scattered throughout the maze. But also put a treasure box or castle or something similar under just 1 bowl. Any bowl that's in the path your children have to pick it up and look at the contents. If it's something dangerous, then they lose a point.

Draw a map for your children to follow to make it safely through the maze without encountering any scary creatures. To the extent that they follow the map, they'll be safe. If they decide to go their own way, well, watch out! For added fun, let your children mix up the bowls and then guide YOU through the maze safely.

Notebook: Choose a preschool or kindergarten maze and glue it to day 3's notebook square.

2nd Month of Homeschooling: Accomplished!

It's October 1st! Time to celebrate, for we've just completed another month of educational adventures. Here's the highlights and the (gasp) lowlights:

The Good:
  • We've finally settled into a schedule that works, assisted by the fact that Mr. Moose decided to restart his morning naps. Why? I don't know. But it's quite nice to have him snoozing away in the other room while we read, count, discuss and engage in various other educational activities.
  • I've finally gotten on top of my chores! This is a huge one for me. Ever since #3 made his appearance, I've struggled to find a way to keep our house clean while simultaneously working, caring for children, cooking and homeschooling. In the last month, something finally clicked and I've discovered a schedule of house chores that allows me to get everything (ok, well, almost everything) done each week. Part of the success has come from this excellent post on homeschool time management.
  • My girls continue to love school. They're always excited to start and seem to enjoy every minute of it. 
  • My friend Jamie and I have started a geography co-op for a PreK-1st grade range. The first meeting was a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to our next world adventure. I'll hopefully post more about that later.
The Bad:
  • I'm unhappy with my preschool plans. They're just too easy for Sweetness. She is already familiar with her letters and their sounds and doesn't get excited about writing practice. I don't know what to do as she loves having the one on one time with me. I don't want to just engage in busywork that fills time. I want to create memorable learning experiences. But how? Any suggestions?
  • We've gone from not having enough time to finish to getting done in an hour with another hour left over! I want to fill this time with meaningful activites, not necessarily "school" but something other than always playing "Littlest Pet Shop" together (though I do want to have time to do that! But an hour of it is almost more than I can bear!) A potential solution is to create a rotating weekly plan, sort of like with Charisa at 1+1+1 is doing. 
Well, that's my monthly wrap-up! If you want to check out what some other of my blogging mom friends who are also doing PreK, Kindergarten or 1st Grade, you can read their blogs:
Copyright 2012 Little Lessons for Life:. All rights reserved.