Two years ago, I got together with a few other home schooling moms to form a co-op. We shared the responsibilities of preparing the lessons and activities. Our theme for the school year was other countries.
One of our most memorable presentations was given by a friend from Croatia. He came to the United States in his early twenties, so he was able to recall many details about his homeland that we might not have learned otherwise. For example, he told us all about the sea urchins off the Croatian coast in great detail -- little crawling balls full of sharp, slender spikes like brittle needles that plunge deep into the skin and then break off, having to be painfully dug out -- and warned us to be careful when wading in the shallow waters, where they like to congregate.
He also brought humor into the lesson, which is always appreciated. When one of the children asked if he'd ever stepped on a sea urchin, he replied, "No. But I sat on one once!" All of the kids thought that was absolutely hilarious!
One of the other moms put together a unit on Japan. Her family had just hosted a Japanese foreign exchange student, so she had all kinds of great stuff to share. The kids were able to try on a kimono and play a fun game the boy had brought from home. We were also given the opportunity to sample some rice balls wrapped in seaweed. One of my children loved it, the other hated it, but you can be sure that they both remember it.
Our co-op also "visited" Israel, Honduras, Australia, Germany, Cambodia, and even our very own United States of America. We not only tried seaweed-rice balls, but also strudel; fried bananas; pretzels; sufganiot (Hanukkah donuts); sugar cane; and more. As a result of memorable experiences such as these, the children involved in that co-op have not forgotten those lessons and still mention specific facts about the countries we studied even now. And the best part of all is that this is something that can be easily duplicated-with your own twists added, too. The examples mentioned such as trying ethnic recipes, playing regional games, and dressing up in traditional clothes are only a few of the things you could do. The possibilities are endless, and just waiting to be discovered.
So what are you waiting for? It's a big world out there! Start exploring!
Lana Jordan has loved writing pretty ever since she was old enough to pick up a pencil. In elementary school, one of her Language Arts teachers gave the class a weekly writing assignment and awarded a lemon drop to the student who wrote the best story. Lana got lots of lemon drops! She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in journalism from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Lana draws on her experiences as a mother and a teacher for these stories. She has worked as a teacher off and on since graduating from college, and has home schooled her own children for the past eight years. Lana now lives in Southern Utah with her husband and two children.
Copyright © Lana Jordan. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.