I had an idea over the summer and chatted about it to a few friends. It was an idea I kept revisiting. I wanted to have a co op for my kiddos that met regularly. I wanted a place where we, adults and children alike, could share our talents and explore topics together. I wanted it to be interest led with some structure. I wanted buy-in from other parents and shared responsibility and enthusiasm. I wanted multi-age. I wanted the ability to cater to my older kiddos, while not ignoring my youngest. I knew what I wanted; I just wasn't sure how to achieve it.
This fall I put my plan into action. I spoke with our local library about a shared use space within the facility. It was perfect, and they agreed to host our co op. We would keep it open to all children who came to explore and learn. With the help of a few other parents, our first few meetings were full of discovery and a few challenges. We learned what worked and how everyone needed to participate for full success. Eventually other parents took the lead and facilitated sessions. We have covered a variety of topics including geocaching, maps, language, and codexes. The older kiddos have begun working on a special project; a civilization complete with back story, clans, rituals, and culture. Everyone was coming together.
Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. One of the parents took on the huge task of making sugar skulls for the group. She and her children molded, scooped, and transported those skulls as well as a rainbow of royal icing. All of the children were attentive as she spoke of the traditions and symbolism surrounding the celebration. We talked about the ofrendas, marigolds, calaveras, and pan de muerto. We looked at picture books depicting and explaining the celebration. The kiddos all received a skull to decorate. Armed with icing, feathers, sequins, gems, and foil for the eyes, they set to work. Each creation was unique. Eruptions of icing occurred a couple times, but were quickly resolved with parental help. While the decorating occurred two of the parents painted the children's faces. The painting was symbolic of both life and death. Other children colored paper calaveras.
It is such an amazing opportunity to share these learning moments with our friends. We are learning together and sharing our knowledge. It is truly what homeschooling is for our family, and we love it.