I haven’t posted in a while. The local homeschool group asked me to help with their co-op this fall. I found that preparing took all my extra time, and my writing took a back seat for a while. We had about 70 people attend from babies through to the oldest, me! What fun I had reconnecting to the homeschool world! I already knew some of the mothers and a few of the children. One mother had been homeschooled the same time as my children.
Our co-op topic was “Jobs from the Past.” The first week I spoke about jobs that depended on the power of a water wheel: miller, sawyer, and paper maker. After my talk, the younger children, aged five to seven, colored pictures of the workings of a grist mill, played a memory game with two sets of pictures of the parts of a grist mill, and looked at different types of grain and flour. The middle group, aged eight to ten, read about paper making, made a timeline, and examined a grist mill diagram. The oldest students, aged eleven to fourteen, did some of the same activities but also watched a slide show about grist mills and placed the steps for making paper in the right order.
The second week was declared a favorite when Mr. Jim Page visited dressed in his colonial time attire. He explained the blacksmithing process to the group and showed many items he had made. An eleven-year-old attender of the co-op told how he tans hides. He brought a deer, mink, and muskrat, and hide as well as a corn snake skin. For this day, I dressed in my mother’s 1976 bicentennial dress and brought lots of hats to speak about colonial hat making.
The third week, we devoted to the factory stage of industry. They seemed to like hearing about all the people who used to make automobiles in Pennsylvania. I related how a dress would be made in a factory. Explaining ship building and talking about Mr. Hershey’s candy making rounded out the opening talk. During the individual classes we gave them the opportunity to make a craft using an assembly line.
The last week, each family traveled to Greenwood Furnace State Park where we watched a video about iron making and toured the grounds. During my part of the presentation, I gave each child a job in the iron furnace company and explained what comprised his or her job as an iron furnace worker.
Overall, I think the children acquired some knowledge about jobs from the past, and I gained some experience in public speaking. A big thanks to Judy Mummau for the pictures!