|Festive handcraft for the attendees in Peoria!|
During the course of the weekend, it became clear to me that there are a few misconceptions about our co-op model, which we have been practicing for nine wonderful years. I thought I would address those here today.
|students narrating during picture study|
First, the question assumes that we are a fine arts co-op. We’re not. We do Geography, Plutarch, Shakespeare, Current Events, Nature Study and other subjects that aren’t in the fine arts category. Second, the “all on one day” is a puzzling phrase. That makes it sound like all the subjects we do are done on that day and we don’t participate in them during the rest of the week. Our meetings are a support and scaffolding for the work that is done in the homes between meetings.
For instance, I introduced Philopoemen as the new Plutarch biography for the term. I shared some proper nouns and important geography, as well as a statue that I knew would pique the interest of the students. I then read parts of the first reading and had the students narrate. Their assignment was to read and narrate the next lesson at home, as well as discuss certain thought questions as a family. When we meet again, we would continue the conversation and I would scaffold the next lesson.
For Composer study, Sally prepared a lesson in which she read some of The Arabian Nights and asked for narration, leaving us all breathless as to what would happen next. This was the background for Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade Symphonic Suite for Orchestra. She then suggested a few things to listen for and we enjoyed about 3 minutes of the 1st movement. The work to be done at home was to be still and listen carefully to the entire 1st movement a few times before we meet again.
|students working at a local greenhouse.|
2. Mason staggered the types of lessons. Doing a day of only inspirational subjects would not be true to her model, right?
Right! Which is why we do Shakespeare and then sing. It’s why we do Picture Study and then Geography. We vary the lesson types as prescribed, the same as we do at home. But this brings up another interesting point. While I acknowledge and vary the lesson types, we have never participated in this type of dualism that is showing up of late in Mason circles. By that, I mean the teasing out of “extras” or “fine arts” or whatever you would like to call the more inspirational subjects. We have never viewed these things as separate, different, or less foundational than science, math, or literature. They have always been part and parcel of the whole scheme in a Mason paradigm.
The point of our group is learning in community and allowing the mother to spread the feast to her children without having to plan every single subject and lesson, which can lead to burnout. I began this group years ago so that I would be able to really do some of these things with excellence, preparing only some of the lessons in detail and letting the gifts of other like-minded mothers shine brightly in other subjects areas, thereby multiplying the work, the joy, and the feast for the students. When approached carefully under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is a beautiful thing.
Grace and Peace,
P.S. - For further information on our community, see the TBG Co-op tab at the top of the page.
|TBG Teens (The Hive) experiencing rotational inertia for Physics.|