I’m almost finished teaching a homeschool co-op class about Ben Franklin to a group of six 7-9 year olds. Homeschool co-op is one of the great blessings of homeschooling, and I enjoy it as much as the kids do. Each class ends up differently than I expect at the beginning. For instance, the class dynamics are such that I have three high-spirited boys, one fiery, smart girl, and two sweet, studious girls. Half of the hour involves being quiet and listening to me read a chapter or two from Robert Lawson’s book, Ben and Me. This is a great book which I’ve used as a read-aloud at home several times already, but it’s difficult for those boys to sit and listen. So, I let them draw. Well, then they started drawing pictures of the girls… you get the idea. It’s a little crazy sometimes.
I ended up doing more with electricity experiments than I intended. My library lets me check out Snap-Circuits, so I brought that in for two weeks, and that was a really big hit. Yesterday, we did a static electricity experiment with balloons and soda cans, which was simple and fun. We also worked on a Magic Squares math puzzle, which my teacher aide enjoyed. The kids did quite well, really getting out their math skills and trying to figure it out.
The girls especially liked the art project I did about symmetry. (We were talking about Ben going to the Palace of Versailles in France, and there’s a lot of symmetry in that palace and gardens.)
I always learn new things, too, each semester I teach. I appreciate Ben’s genius more. He had quite a lot going on in his brain at most times. I think he liked to challenge himself. He also knew the importance of smart friends. He had societies where he sat down with smart people and shared ideas. I need to remember that I feel much more inspired to challenge myself and my children when I’ve had time to be with smart, caring people. Much of my writing work is done in private, but that needs to be balanced with those times of social inspiration.