Friday, October 10, 2008

Who's Teaching Who(m)?

Today is Friday and that is homeschool co-op day for our family and 3 others. Co-op is one of those things that I don't enjoy getting ready for but enjoy immensely once it happens. Co-op definitely doesn't resemble any kind of a real school but there is a whole lotta learnin' going on.

The medium-sized kids had a great time in Ancient History, today. They have worked their way up from Mesopotamia to the Aryans of India and the Mauryan Empire of India.....and on into the empire of Shi Huangdi of Ancient China! Shi really held their attention. Not so much because of The Great Wall of China (which they were fairly interested in) but because of his tomb, which Joel and Harlan had already learned about. From Nova or the History Channel, you say? No. From The Mummy. They also referenced several Indiana Jones movies for some of their scholarly thought. Anyway, so Shi Huangdi is the emperor of the last Mummy movie, where they found his tomb and his thousands of clay soldiers....and then fought their way to the Water of Eternal Life. Here are Keziah, Joel and Harlan doing some map work.

And here is Jules doing his. Yes, he is under the glass coffee table. He likes to lie under it with his book or paper up on top. Then he can just rest and relax while reading through the glass without having to actually hold anything up or open with his arms. Ingenious. I do think he might have some trouble in a traditional classroom, though.
Speaking of traditional classrooms, let's move on to the Chemistry Lab where the high schoolers are doing unsupervised experiments. Our cluttered counters serve as lab tables, of course, which is occasionally handy if you find yourself in need of some coffee, chips....

or the occasional tequila shot (as seen behind Ellie's area of calculating and recording). Sticking with that theme, here is Galen using a margarita shaker for the experiment. Here is the experiment. I would describe it for you but this is not my area of expertise. I was doing the Mummy Lecture. *Okay, Ellie just told me they were calculating the rate of displacement of water by dividing the amount of water displaced by the time it took to displace it.
I am going to stick with The Mummy.

Apparently, one of the results of the experiment was a really bad odor.

Juliana is like, "Don't look at me." She records their observations.

The little kids worked through a story with Tangrams, and observed bean sprouts begun two weeks, before. Seeds are the science theme.

The high schoolers also spent time debating and analyzing another Great Work, Adam Smith's, Concerning the Division of Labor. This is my favorite part of co-op. The teens continuously amaze me with their insight and wisdom. A demonstration of this would be 15-year-old Galen's final opinion in his summation. He writes, "Although Smith made some erroneous points, having lived a long time ago, and as such not having available to him all of the resources we convenience ourselves with today, the core of his argument is solid. Man is far more likely to obey his self love than benevolence. But I choose to look at this as a blessing rather than a curse, because you can always trust a human to do what's in his best interest, and his best interest can be controlled. If he were truly benevolent, there would be no predicting his actions, and as such, no way to control them. In this way, we can guarantee that each man will pursue his own unique talents that he loves, out of his own self love. And since no two men are identical, each will have skills unique to himself; thus, each skill will be continued, and man will live on."

OK, folks, I get to read stuff like this every Friday and then sit and talk about it for an hour!! None of my grownup friends are interested in doing this :). So I get my intellectual fix from a group of teens, who continue to amaze me, fill me with hope, and make me feel humbly unworthy of "leading" them. Who is leading and who is following? It is not often obvious.
In addition, all 3 groups of kids do Spanish with Michele. Today she laughed and taught her way through a "very aggressive" as she stated, game of Spanish Candyland. Thanks to Michele, Jasper could count in Spanish way before English. You know, because somebody bothered to teach him.....
During lunch we do some cultural studies. Right now we are learning about India, and that means next week our four families will be sharing an Indian feast! Hooray! Today we learned a little about Hinduism, which we found fascinating. I had bought a little statue of what I thought was the god, Shiva, at Ross (for $4.99).

Today there was some confusion while we tried to decide if it is Shiva or Purusha, the first man, according to the Creation Story. We decided it was Purusha but I have since discovered it is, indeed, Shiva. He is entwined with a female in an erotic stance and there are little humans in each of his hands, under his feet, descending from the union of the two figures' shapes. During the identification confusion my friend (said friend has dreadlocks in case some of you are trying to figure out which friend) suggested that the statue was Jeff and me - "ya know, kids coming out everywhere." Anyway, I will try and learn more about this particular depiction of Shiva.

Hinduism has its own trinity - the 3 gods of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, associated with the creation, preservation, and destruction and re-creation that is thought to happen eternally.
We read several Hindu sayings from the Usborne Encyclopedia of Religions. We really loved several:

Real happiness of heart cannot be attained without giving up the ideas of "I" and "Mine". Tulsidas

I have now come to a stage of realization in which I see that God is walking in every human form and manifesting Himself alike through the sage and the sinner, the virtuous and the vicious. Therefore, when I meet different people I say to myself, "God in the form of the saint, God in the form of the sinner, God in the form of the righteous, God in the form of the unrighteous." Ramakrishna

And finally,

Earth has enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed. Mahatma Gandhi

So, it was another day at co-op and another day of education for myself. How lucky I am to still be actively learning and growing every single day - and in such wonderful company (my kids and friends).
Jasper was not in the mood to participate in co-op today. Well, usually he is not in the mood to participate. But it is rare that he is behind the scenes being quiet. Today he was quiet. I thought maybe he was getting sick, but he doesn't seem to be. He was busy doing stuff like this.

He said he was getting ready for a date. With his sister. Where to begin? Which is more disturbing? His choice of attire or his choice of a date? So many issues, so little time....of course, before you think he is too disturbed, let me say that a date to Jasper, consists of "date nights" within our family, where each kid goes out alone with one half of the parental unit, or with their grandpa or aunt. Since Jasper's next date is scheduled to be with me, we're going to focus on fashion for a few days.
Have an awesome weekend!
Sardine Mama


  1. So that is what Jasper was up to!!

  2. ok, so first of all, co-op is now held on FRIDAYS instead of Thursdays. just thought i'd point that out.

    ellie's face was funny, and slightly disturbing (but i don't have any room to talk). same goes for Galen.

    as always, your blog made me laugh. and i love the pic of Jasper! oh my god that was so funny! so he trades in the pink cowboy boots for black leather hooker boots?! too funny. and you so have to keep that pic and show it to him when he's like 15 or so just to embarass him. it'll be great!

    ok i'm done.

  3. Excuse me? Hooker boots? Those are mine!! But yes, (ahem) I do like them because they are nasty. Although now that I have seen them on Jasper I will probably never be able to wear them, again.

    And I have no idea what you're talking about. The blog says Friday. F R I D A Y. Since, like, forever. It isn't like I just changed it or anything. You're nutters.

    Michele - Camille wants to play Candyland again IN SPANISH.

  4. ok that was weird. i KNOW it said Thursday yesterday. ah, i'm going crazy. :P whatever.

    something i didn't get to mention yesterday (be it Thursday or Friday) my favorite part of co-op is also the English/writing class with you. i love our little debates and discussions.

    i kid about the hooker boots. :D i still find it hilariously funny though.

  5. OK - you're making me feel bad. It isn't as though Jeff read the blog and told me it was Friday and then I said, "Oh my God - I better get on there and change it right now before Juliana sees it and corrects me...." Like THAT could happen!

    Cut me some slack. We used to do it on Thursdays. Which makes you laugh more? The idea of me in the hooker boots, or Jasper? BTW, did you notice he even slicked back his hair??? I see cheesey in his future.

  6. haha ok ok, i do get what you're saying about how we used to ahve it on Thursdays. that makes sense. it's still pretty funny though.

    the fact that Jasper had the hoker boots on makes me laugh a whole lot more than the fact that you own them. :) i don't know if this is good or bad. and yes, i did notice that he slicked back his hair, which is even funnier. this is all gonna come back to haunt him!

  7. I especially like the Ghandi quote.

    And because I am too lazy to go to the chakras post, I started a class in Quantum Touch last Wednesday, and it is freaking awesome. This week we are learning about opening and closing the chakras using energy flow.

    And now everybody else is all, what? Energy, opening, huh?

  8. Pamela - so your house is yellow, you are opening chakras (how awesome is that???),and your favorite Gandhi quote is MY favorite Gandhi quote...I proposed to you on your blog, I believe. Truly, marry me.

  9. Sounds like you sure don't let learnin' get in the way of funnin'. Good for you.