Christopher Columbus Cooperative Style!

With sixteen kids in our class from age 14-18 we have a ton of fun!  It can get a little bit crazy, but it is always wonderful!  So how does natural learning, with a cooperative-style class and high school age students, look?  One never knows for sure!

Beginning with prayer and some beautiful thoughts is critical.  Today we read from Corinthians 12:7-11.  We’ve been having an ongoing discussion about talents.  This gave us a chance to talk about the spiritual gifts or talents that come from God and to reflect on those that have been given to us individually.  I always learn so much from the kids as they share their ideas with one another.

After some mind math and individual math time, we had some fun with Christopher Columbus.  We’ve already talked about Mr. Columbus this week so to continue with his story we read from the Baldwin Project stories.  I love, love this site! Please check it out.  Not everyone is going to be as enthusiastic about the discovery of America as we think they should be, but everyone can get excited about something, especially as it relates to their own interests.

I’m going to interrupt myself here to emphatically state that music is underused by many of us who school at home!  I found the song: Age of Discovery on Youtube.  It set the mood for heading off on our own discoveries and visualizing Christopher Columbus as he set off on his voyage!

Without prior warning I had everyone take out a piece of paper and draw a map of Italy – labeling Vinci, Florence and Rome.  Next we added  the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily and the continent of Africa.  There was laughter all around as we realized that perhaps we have a little bit of work to do on our geography.  I sent them home with the assignment to check their map against an official one and try drawing it one more time for accuracy!

Other choices were available for the students to choose from including: cooking Spanish Omelets, dsc_1347dsc_1337sketching a picture of Christopherdsc_1343 and going on an adventure walk.  The adventure walk went like this:  Roll the dice…..the first die indicates the number of blocks we walk and the second die tells us if we turn right or left. (Odds we turn left, evens we turn right.)  We had about thirty minutes and no idea where we might end up – but it was to be an adventure and away we went! I did make sure that someone had a cell phone just in case they ended up on the mountain and needed a ride home!

On Thursdays we do our foreign language and between our 16 students we have 6 languages of choice.  Everyone brings their own resources and chooses whether they want to study individually or in the group. They find a quiet spot (some of which were interesting)dsc_1353 and get started with the understanding that they will be grading themselves at the end of the term. This is where our opening scripture gained new meaning as they all considered how amazing it would be to have the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues!

Today we were lucky enough to sample our yummy Spanish omelets as we studied!  We were so grateful that everyone indeed has their own unique talents!

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