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If you could design a coop program for K-2nd grade, what would you include?


Sevilla
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If you could design your dream coop environment for younger students, what would it include?

 

I'm in the process of creating resources for our classical coop's early elementary program and would love to hear suggestions for what to make available to teachers. Low cost and easy prep are a big priority though there is some budget money for essentials like manipulatives and photocopies.

 

Time: Once a week for 7 hours (8am-3pm). This time also includes play time, lunch, and access to a gym

Class size: Small (4-10 kids per class)

 

I'd like suggestions for the following (especially things that can be found online/printables and from the library):

Bible

History

Science

Literature

Reading

Handwriting

Math

Holiday/cultural

 

Thank you!

Edited by Sevilla
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I wouldn't be too interested in LA and math at a co-op. I'd rather have these at home. For us the drawing cards are things which can be harder to do at home or which can benefit from a group learning environment. Our top picks would be these:

 

Art!

Drama

Music

Foreign Language

Science - esp. experiments/labs

History - esp projects and hands-on things

 

I teach a once a week enrichment class for K-4th and we do missions every year. It is a great way to incorporate Bible, history, geography, cultures/holidays and many other "subjects". Feel free to PM me if you want some ideas of things we've used or done.

Edited by ScoutTN
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I would go with Webster for both reading groups, just modified to go faster for the older kids. I would also integrate handwriting and spelling into it, having them write and spell a few syllables and words every day.

 

Here is how I'm working through Webster with my son for K. I have also taught it to large groups, that is explained on my how to tutor page.

 

I use ZB's self-instruction in handwriting, it teaches how to make the letters and then I teach from a white board. It is an easy way to teach to a group--it shows how to make each letter and how to make the joins, you show them from big white board or chalk board and then have them write on individual white boards. I found it much easier to start with a white board than to start with pencil and paper. ZB also has free online capability to make handwriting sheets in their font.

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I wouldn't be too interested in LA and math at a co-op. I'd rather have these at home. For us the drawing cards are things which can be harder to do at home or which can benefit from a group learning environment. Our top picks would be these:

 

Art!

Drama

Music

Foreign Language

Science - esp. experiments/labs

History - esp projects and hands-on things

 

I teach a once a week enrichment class for K-4th and we do missions every year. It is a great way to incorporate Bible, history, geography, cultures/holidays and many other "subjects". Feel free to PM me if you want some ideas of things we've used or done.

Do you have specific curriculum/books/resources for any of those areas? It would be nice to have something that says 'get X supplies, do Y activity to illustrate Z concept' since the teachers have varying amounts of time and experience to create things on their own.

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I've never heard of anyone in the early grades doing a co-op for reading, handwriting or math. I'm less familiar with the more academic style co-ops, but it surprises me that a lot of homeschoolers would want to outsource those subjects to any great extent since it strikes me that having solid, one on one, individualized time for those core things are one of the best reasons to homeschool the early grades.

 

We do a co-op that's more thematic and is just a few families. We cover topics that cover some science, history, literature, music, art, social skills, and so forth.

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We are doing a co-op this year for science and history. It is from 1-4 once per week with a 30 minute snack break between classes. I am teaching the history using a version of HOD BHFHG. We do the history activity and the art activity from HOD as well as memory work and artist/composer study ala me. For science, my friend is using Apologia. This is the first year we are doing it and will modify it for next year. The main thing we will be changing is the grouping. Right now we have K-2 and 3-5 for history and everyone together for science. I think the break down you have is much better. I think you may have a problem with the amount of time the children are spending at co-op. The K-2 group I have is dragging by the third hour. For that age, I think three hours is plenty! Also, next year, we will be doing it in the morning so the younger ones are fresh!

 

Best wishes!

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Are they all there for 7 hours? That's a long time. Normally, I would say all extras. With a full day, I think some sort of core academic work would be beneficial. Maybe in the form of games, though.

 

Art--Mary Ann Kohl books are nice. One of them is arranged by artist, so you could also do an artist study.

 

What about going literature based, like Five In a Row? You could spend 1 day on a theme, instead of a week.

 

But, I'm with the others. My kids are in your target age and I would be most interested in art, music, PE, foreign language, drama, or academic enrichment (math games or lap books, for example) etc.......

Edited by snickelfritz
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I would agree with pps that a skill area like reading, handwriting or math wouldn't be something i'm looking for. I think it would be a struggle to keep the kids together with those subjects as kids are in a huge range of normal at that age for those skills.

 

I would love:

 

Art

Music

Foreign Language

P.E.

Geography

or project/units in science or history

 

Basically, any of the extra subjects that don't get much time or attention at home (well, at my home anyway :tongue_smilie:), or things that are just so much more fun and engaging in a group environment like science experiments, or a science fair. Also, maybe some memory work songs or activities together might be fun.

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Guest Dulcimeramy

I agree with everyone else. For a full-day coop for that age range, I would like:

 

FIAR

art

music

P.E. (for group activities like duck, duck goose that can't be done at home)

*maybe* math games, spelling bee....

 

I think 7 hours is too long.

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At the beginning of this year, my friends and I put together a co-op and were able to design it just how we wanted it to look. Here's what we decided:

 

We have co-op two days a week and two classes, early elementary (k-3) and upper elementary (4-7). We have one class time Wednesday afternoon for 1.5 hours, and one Friday morning from 9-12. So each subject is taught twice, and the classes switch between 2 subjects.

 

On Wednesday: Indonesian language class (taught by a native speaker)

Music/Drama

 

Friday: Indonesian

Art

Science

Geography/World Cultures

(we used to have PE but dropped it because there weren't enough of us to teach it, and since it's summer year round here, we figured our kids were getting enough exercise :))

On Friday morning, we also have two moms that teach preschool to the little kids (ages 3-4) from 9-11:15.

 

Since we live overseas, we had to get "package" curriculum, science curriculum with the experiments included, etc. We each have had to tweak a lot of the curriculum we bought, but overall, these classes have been a huge hit!

Hope our experience helps in some way!

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Since seven hours is a long time, even allowing for lunch and playtime, I would include something that touches on math & language arts in at least some way. Perhaps something like Family Math, the Peggy Kaye books, and maybe poetry? The Poetry for Young People series would be a good resource; there are books concentrating on individual poets as well as "thematic" books: Animals, The Seasons, and American Poetry. The kids could memorize a few poems, perhaps.

 

Other than that, I agree with the other posters about wanting more enrichment for that age. Mary Ann Kohl's books are good for art projects, as is How to Teach Art to Children. Drawing With Children might be accessible for the older class.

 

A modern foreign language would be something I would prioritize highly, and perhaps some simple drama & dance games/activities as well?

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We currently attend an enrichment co-op. Mainly because it would be pretty near impossible for each family to agree on the core academics and the approaches.

 

With that being said we currently have a:

 

Geography class for upper and lower elementary using:

 

Expedition Earth

 

We used these suggestions to make it co-op ready.

 

There is also a P.E. and Games class focusing on games and sports that are better played in a group.

 

The last class is Spanish.

 

In the future:

 

I would love a FIAR class and a Draw Write Now class.

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Just be aware that 7 hours is a HUGE amount of time for age 5-7yos to be in a classroom! Many people homeschool their kids precisely because there's no way that age could have been in a school setting for that long. Also, that's a really huge span of amounts of maturity and skills to put into one classroom.

 

Below are some general ideas. BEST of luck -- and blessings on you for your willingness to lead such a big undertaking! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

- You'll want to have enough materials that you can switch activities about every 20 minutes, if needed.

- Maybe schedule 90 minutes (15 min/station = 6 stations) into each co-op class where the kids go from station to station, with various "discovery" and hands-on play activities -- maybe all loosely based on a general theme?

- Also put the kids into partners or teams of 4, and have the teams take turns over the weeks of making lunch or snack, serving it, and cleaning up as part of the day -- and the general cleaning up at the end of the day.

- Have a 20 or 30 minute quiet time after lunch, with lights dimmed and each child laying down on their own blanket, with some soothing music (for YOUR sanity!:tongue_smilie:)

- Perhaps have each teacher work each week with their class on a song, dance, etc. that could be plugged in together easily for all the co-op to perform at the end of the year?

Edited by Lori D.
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We are doing first grade, and if I were in a co-op, I would love to see

 

BFSU for science

Foreign language

Art--but not just a bunch of crafts--something that teaches them art technique so they can create their own original stuff (we loved the art component of FIAR, and we are now doing Art Through Children's Literature)

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I'm the coordinator for our group for kids ages 4 to 8. We meet every other Friday morning (and do field trips most of the other Fridays) from 9 till lunch at a church gymnasium. We mainly focus on a 1st through 3rd grade level, but realize that younger/older siblings may want to join in. Last semester we did a different country/culture each time, but changed in January to music, art and P.E. since we mothers felt these areas are so much more enriching in a group. We all just volunteer rotating being in charge of an open-ended art project, group game or a healthy snacks. I do the music and we plan to go to a nursing home in the spring so the kids can sing their songs for a group and pass out some springy art projects to brighten up the rooms.

 

This is the first year I've ever done anything like this, and for us, the hardest part is keeping the kids engaged in what we are doing. We have great kids that all get along (about 12 families in all) and they will seat very politely and listen to us, but all they have on their mind is getting up to go run and play with their friends. They tolerate our lessons well, but really are there for the play time. They always get about an half hour before and after we start just to do that. We spend about 30 minutes singing, 30 minutes on art and 15 minutes on organized P.E. games then a snack. The rest of the time the moms get to talk and the kids get to play. We all agreed to keep group activities the purpose of our club instead of academic subjects.

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What about going literature based, like Five In a Row? You could spend 1 day on a theme, instead of a week..

-------------------------------------------------------------------

At our current co-op, we base what we do each week on a FIAR (Five in a Row) book. We aren't there for 7 hours but it could easily be expanded just by doing more of the different subjects with FIAR. Here is how we have done it in the past: whoever is teaching that week starts out by reading the book, then the teacher had two lessons(approx. 30 min) to go with each book; one was more along the lines of the LA aspect and the second was teacher's choice of science, social studies, etc.(this is the part where you could expand to do more of the subjects) Then we also had a craft time, snack time, and games/activity time (all based on the book). Of course, you need to have some time to go to the playground, if possible and we had a seperate PE class which was not related to the lesson. Now, we are smaller in number but one year we had enough of 3 and 4 year olds, we even did a seperate class for them based on a BFIAR book.

The bulk of your planning will go into the crafts, snacks and games/activities because most of the rest can come right from ideas in the FIAR manual..

I hope these ideas help !:001_smile:

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I would have the teachers choose their own materials. It is more difficult to teach a class if you have to use what is provided or assigned to you. It is easier to choose something that reflects your own personal teaching style. Every co-op I've ever been involved in or known of gives the teachers a budget or guideline ("art of 7-9 yos," for example) and then allows them to choose materials.

 

I agree with pp that handwriting, math, and reading would be very difficult to do as co-op classes at that age. Children in that age range are all over the place in skills, plus you would lose the one-on-one advantage that homeschooling provides. The only thing I might do is a math games/ manipulatives class.

 

I think your Holdiays/Cultures, Science, Literature, and History ideas are great. I would add Art and Music. I would only do Bible if this is a church group in which all share the same beliefs.

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If you could design your dream coop environment for younger students, what would it include?

 

Time: Once a week for 7 hours (8am-3pm). This time also includes play time, lunch, and access to a gym

Class size: Small (4-10 kids per class)

 

I'd like suggestions for the following (especially things that can be found online/printables and from the library):

Bible

Big Thoughts for Little People

Devotions for the Children's Hour

Giant Steps for Little People

 

History

for K-1 nothing except maybe some community helper units

for 2 - read aloud from SOTW and do some history pockets

 

Science

nature walks and keeping a little nature notebook w/their sketches, leaves & such

Sciene Arts: Discovering Science through Art Experiences

Literature

reading out loud a lot

FIAR

literature pockets (Caldecott and Nursery Rhymes)

Reading

None-can't be taught in one day a week, should be done at home by parents.

If you need to fill time, you could teach the letter sounds song from SSRW. I am sure there are other letter sound songs, too.

Handwriting -

None.

Concentrate on fine motor skills with this fabulous book: Activities for Fine Motor Skills Development

Math

Nothing formal.

If you need to fill time, you could teach some simple skip counting songs.

Holiday/cultural

Scholastic has a series of books - one for each month. The e-books are on sale right now for $1 each.

Teacher's Mailbox updates are also great about this. They are available through our library.

 

 

Don't forget show & tell, pledge of allegiance (if in US) and rest time (have parents bring mats and a book from home for the older children to look at while they are on their mat).

 

There is a book that is similar to the fine motor skills book that would be helpful as well:

Activities for Gross Motor Skills Development

 

ETA:

Fine Arts -

make sure you have plenty of $$ for art supplies or have parents donate from a list you formulate

The Big Messy Art Book - we had great fun with this book and a few friends.

Primary Art

any other Mary Ann Kohl art book

The Story of the Orchestra

Classical Kids CD's

contact your local orchestra and see if they can have one or two people come in with their instruments

have children's musical instruments on hand to play with

Lots of picture books on artists, musicians & composers from the library

This really should be an easy going day.

Edited by TechWife
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I like the idea of things that are better in groups and harder to do at home: art, music, p.e., science experiments, even boardgames and puzzles

 

I like the idea of incorporating the pledge of Allegiance, calendar time, show and tell, and learning songs together each week.

 

FIAR would be good for story time and literature.

 

I don't think handwriting would be hard to incorporate.

The kids could practice together.

 

I do think teaching reading would be harder in a group, but maybe incorporate a time to take turns reading aloud. You may have to have parents send books from home that they are working on, as they will all be learning different ways. It is not like in school where everyone is on the same reader using the same sight words and are at the same phonogram in phonics.

 

And I agree w/ a PP who says that the kids will only be sitting there thinking about when they get to go outside and play together! I find this to be true at co-op and at our weekly scouts meeting. They are only there until they get the free time to run around and chase each other. They so look forward to that!

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This is what our local coop does(i'm not in it this year, found out too late):

Language:

- German

- French

- Spanish

Physical Education,

Performing Arts

Art

_________________

 

For phys ed, I would suggest reaching out to your local colleges and universities as well as sport organizations will do outreach. Many will organize a sport day. Our ladies ringette team brought out rings and sticks and introduce the kids to the sport, then left the gear for a few weeks so the kids could get into it. Another organized floor hockey. I could see baseball, soccer, basketball organizations that want to grow, possibly coming in to do the same.

 

I'd also look at doing science :) We had a science olympics here for a workshop and there were tons. I'd look to see what the state/province requirements are for science, and build a program from that. As we all see here on the boards, science is hard to do at home. Or we don't like it(my case), so a co-op that would do those things would be beneficial and fun for the kids.

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I wouldn't want my kids doing Reading, handwriting or math at co-op. For Lit. you could probably do FIAR. Bible, you could do character studies, or missionary studies...unless you were thinking of making it kind of like sunday school. History and Science are fun to do units with. Or do something like SOTW for history. The things I like about co-op are gym, art, music and some of the fun unit study things that I don't seem to get around to. Also foreign language if you have someone able to do it justice. ;)

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