Our Living Education co-op is based on the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. Miss Mason was a British educator in the early 1900's. She believed that education needed to focus on the whole child, not just their mind...."Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." She believed in giving children a feast of living books, thoughts, and ideas and not just have them memorize a bunch of facts. There is so much more to the Charlotte Mason method but it would require a whole series of posts to cover it all.
Our co-op is made up of other homeschool families. We meet every other week at a local church. Moms teach the classes and some of the classes include choir, art, handicrafts, Spanish, theater, Shakespeare, public speaking, composer study, artist study, and nature study - all of those wonderful enrichment classes that I never have time to cover with my children. We have students from preschool up through high school. I teach Nature Study at the end of the day but I am also a "room mom" for the 1st - 3rd graders so I stay with them all day to make sure they get to their next class, manage any overly chatty kids, and essentially help out their teachers any way that I can. I don't see much of Nicholas during the day except at choir and lunch time when we are all together.
This week in Handicrafts, Rachel started a string art project. The teacher provided everyone with a board, a hammer, nails, and a clothespin. The children used stencils to mark a pattern on their boards.
Then she began hammering the nails into the board along the lines. We found that hammering on the tables was quite loud. Because the tables are plastic they absorbed a lot of the energy from each stroke of the hammer which unfortunately took away some of the energy needed to get the nail to go in. We decided to move to the floor for our hammering, much to the chagrin of the church workers below us on the first floor!
I love that the teacher thought to include a clothespin so the children could use that to hold their nail and keep their little fingers from getting smashed if they missed the nail.
In nature study this week I took them out to the creek by the church for the first time. They loved it!
It has been cold and although it was warmer today Rachel found a thin sheet of ice on top of the water which she carefully picked up to show everyone.
She posed with it quickly then threw it as hard as she could into the creek to watch it shatter. The kids loved that and promptly looked around and found other sheets of ice to play with.
The kids found ice, bugs, and lots of shells. They enjoyed showing others what they found as they explored.
The children have nature journals and for each nature walk I encourage them to sketch at least one interesting thing they find in nature. But this time they were having so much fun climbing and jumping around on the rocks that no nature journals made it out of their backpacks. And that's ok. We all had a great time.