Saturday, October 01, 2011

Week 4: Thomas Jefferson and More!

Listening to violin music of Jefferson's era.
Week three lasted for two weeks. Last week, we sorta' just recovered. We had been dealing with many life-induced stresses, not the least of which was a dead car that needed to be replaced, so we dialed down and took school a little slower. This week, we jumped back into our regular routine and really finished digging in to Tapestry of Grace, Year 2, week 4. It was the week to discuss Thomas Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase, and the Lewis and Clark expedition. We read books about the expedition from the perspective of Lewis's dog, Seaman, and began a writing assignment incorporating that perspective. Molly read "A Prairie Dog for the President" aloud to me, and proved that her reading skills really are taking off!

Both of the kids began lap books on Thomas Jefferson, his life, and his times. We learned that one of his hobbies was playing the violin. He practiced several hours a day! One of our moms who is an accomplished violinist was gracious enough to play music that Jefferson may have been familiar with and played himself. The children were captivated and listened with rapt attention.

Making baby turtles.
We also did a bit of nature study this week, both inadvertent and intentional. Glen found a black widow spider in our yard as he was raking out a portion of ground in which to plant grass seed. He managed to capture the spider in a jar, which we allowed to die an oxygen-starved death. Ugh! I hate to think those things are hanging around our house! The bug-man came two days later and sprayed.

The intentional nature study was much more fun--a partially guided hike in Prince William Forest National Park led by a park ranger who showed us the flora and fauna of the forest. The kids were incurably curious and wanted to know what the smallest things were. She was very patient and answered all the questions as best she could. We found the variety of mosses and mushrooms to be particularly interesting, and one of the group spotted a turtle--actually two turtles, doing what turtles do to make baby turtles. The first question was, "WHAT ARE THEY DOING?!!" She looked carefully at the faces of the moms before proceeding.  No one in our group was the slightest bit ruffled by this bit of nature, so she said, "They're mating--making baby turtles." And so we observed them for a bit more and then got back to our discussion of the historic grave site that we had hiked off the trail to visit. That was certainly interesting too, but in a different sort of way.

Our Tapestry of Grace co-op is proving to be the highlight of our week. We have had some scheduling and location challenges, but for some reason this has not derailed the actual content that has been covered each week, nor has it impacted the level of fun and interactivity experienced by each kid! We are thoroughly enjoying the time we spend together as a group. I am not a traditional "co-op" type of person. This group however is small, personal, and is the heart of our weekly studies. If you are a TOG family and have not discovered the joy of getting together with other families to enhance that experience, I would encourage you to look for an opportunity to do so!

Each week in the update I try to reflect not only on what the kids learned, but what I learned. It's hard for me to do that right now--the week is a bit of a blur and I have been very tired. Even so, I have been very much at peace. I know that what we do here in this place, educating our children as we do, is answering the call that God has placed on us. It brings me such joy to see my children growing in their faith and becoming more and more who God has made them to be. Don't get me wrong, they're not perfect, but they have teachable hearts. I hope that I do, as well. 

1 comment:

  1. Your co op looks great. That is one thing I would do differently,if I had to do it all over again. I would find a few like-minded families to share our studies with.

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