Voyagers Coop Days typically consist of what we call Study Groups: 4 small-group activities, about an hour long each, and 2 hours of unstructured time. During the unstructured time, we share a meal, chat, make plans for the Coop Day, and play.
Study groups are planned collectively by the families attending that Coop Day. New members are asked to assist with running a study group or to run one solo if they can. Study groups are led by members of that Coop Day, although families sometimes decide to bring in an outside instructor for an additional fee. Participation in Study Groups is based on interest and ability, not age.
Study groups change each term. Each term we plan a new set of Study Groups, based on the interests of the members of the Coop Day. While the initial planning process takes place during the prior term, adjustments to the schedule may be made through the beginning of the term, depending on demand.
Examples of recent study groups are:
Heroic Women - We will take a look at what it means to be a hero and examine the lives of heroic women in history - famous and lesser known and how they impacted the world around them. The kids will then pick a woman to focus on and present to the rest of the class.
DnD - Dungeons and dragons is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game that takes place in medieval times. You will create a character, go on quests with other player characters, battle monsters, solve problems, gain experiences to level up, become more powerful and have a good time. Open to experienced players as well as those new to the game.
RSOBio 2 - We will be doing the lab and microscope work in the first part of the Real Science Odyssey Biology 2 course. For additional information, please see the Pandia Press website at www.pandiapress.com. The “Try Before You Buy” option will give you a feel for the book, lab and microscope work.
Theatre Arts - Come join "The Tuesday Players" and learn lots about the art of theatre. Students will learn skills in acting and more. Plus all students will have the opportunity to participate in a play performance at the end of the semester.
Intro to Spanish - Come join this fun-filled class and gain an introduction to the Spanish language.
Yoga - This study group will include tradition yoga postures and how they can be used alone or in conjunction with other movement practices and/or exercise routines to improve the body’s range of motion, alignment, flexibility and strength. No experience is necessary. Students are encouraged to work with their own physical abilities and variations will be given as needed. Students may choose to do more challenging postures when they are ready but first we will observe how our bodies respond to the easier postures. This way we can get a better sense of what our body’s need. We will be reviewing the names of some bones and muscles. Students will be given terms (verbally and written) to explore on their own should they wish to deepen their understanding of anatomy (which is encouraged but not mandatory). Some meditation and breathing techniques will also be covered. Cushioned mats are available. Students are welcome to purchase/bring their own mats should they wish to.
Blockly Coding - This group will work with Blockly to write code and develop programs. This is for kids who have some experience with coding and are looking for the next challenge.
Storytime and Activity - Every week we will read a fun and engaging story, and then do a craft, a movement activity or song to go along with it. We will explore various themes, including but not limited to Fall, Friendship, Community helpers, Animals, Vehicles and Feelings. I will also work to include themes that explore the kid’s various interests.
Our Solar System - An early elementary look at our sun, planets and the objects in between.
Scientists in the Making - This study group is a hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory experience where participants will gain a better understanding of the scientific process. Each week, a new investigation/experiment/demonstration will be performed. Science topics will vary, but may include making slime, purifying dirty water, solving a white powder mystery, kitchen/food science, and engineering a small Rube Goldberg machine.
Exploring Ancient Cultures Through Clay - Each week our group will explore a different ancient culture of the world, and create a clay model of a building, sculpture, monument or dwelling from that culture. From the Egyptian pyramids, to the Stonehenge, to the temples, statuary and coins of the Ancient Mediterranean, to Mayan and Incan ruins in Central and South America, to Native American dwellings and artifacts in the United States, to the Great Wall of China and the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, students will be read a book about an ancient culture and interpret some material expression of it in clay. By the end, each student will have a collection of their own "wonders of the world" inspired art works to remind them of what they have learned. We will finish each week by placing a picture on a global timeline so that students understand how these amazing cultural developments relate in the big picture in terms of when they were created. Questions about cultural exchange and impact through global exploration, economic trade routes, resource use and ecological changes, war and conquest in the ancient world will be discussed.
Current Events - This will be a discussion based study group. We will discuss current events. This could involve topics like politics, science, environment, important world events, human rights, and more.
Latin 1 - This group will study Ecce Romani 1. This is a group tutorial and substantial work outside group time is required. You can expect to do 4-5 hours per week at home. This semester will be the 1st half of High School Latin 1.
DnD - Dungeons and dragons is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game that takes place in medieval times. You will create a character, go on quests with other player characters, battle monsters, solve problems, gain experiences to level up, become more powerful and have a good time.
Origami/Calligraphy - We'll spend half the sessions learning origami, starting with basic folds and learning how to read instructions for creating origami. The second half of the sessions will focus on calligraphy. We'll choose a font to work on as a class. There will be a materials fee, but it will depend on the size of the class and their ages.
Elementary Life Science - Life Cycles, Food Chains, Habitats and more. We'll observe and learn about the natural world and explore how it works!
Construction Challenges - We'll build stuff. It might be construction challenges using everyday materials each week, like building the strongest paper bridge or the tallest spaghetti tower, or launching marshmallows the farthest. If the kids are up for some bigger projects, we might even make a whole set of carnival games -- think Plinko, Wheel of Fortune, ring toss, and maybe even a mini golf course. These ideas are subject to change depending on study group leader.
World War II - Full year course; will be continued in the spring semester. Both the European and the Pacific theater will be covered, as well as sensitive topics including the holocaust, pearl harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We will also study the home front, including the internment of Japanese-American Citizens.
Paleontology - Study of the fossil record; emphasis will not be on dinosaurs, but on ancient sea life (fish/sharks, sea arthropods, mosasaurs, pliosaurs, plesiosaurs, etc).
Endangered Species Ecology - This study group is based on a curriculum studying the black-footed -- the most endangered mammal in the United States. Study group participants are placed in the role of members of a recovery team whose job it is to assess whether Fort Collins, Colorado, is an appropriate site to re-introduce ferrets that were bred in captivity.
Participants consider the interdependence of ferrets with the population of prairie dogs and the antagonism of ranchers toward them. They calculate how many prairie dogs are essential for the survival of the black-footed ferret, and consider the rights of homeowners and ranchers against the survival of the species. They take into account what may be causing ferret decline, including the problem of a genetic bottleneck. In the end, they come to a decision about the problem and then try to persuade others to their point of view. Participants will learn about biomes, habitats, and human-animal interaction, as well as the complex issues involved and the conflicts of interests posed by trying to save the black-footed ferret from extinction.
We may also research and discuss how these issues play out in the cases of some other endangered species.
Book Buddies - Reading and talking about literature.
Greek Mythology - An overview of Greek Mythology. Topics will include Myths of the Earth's Creation, major and minor gods, heroes, myths involving love, and the Trojan War. Some myths have content that may not be suitable for younger kids. (i.e., violence)
Evolution - Overview of Evolution. Topics will include basic Genetics, Theory of Natural Selection, Evidence for Evolution, Mechanism of Evolution, Phylogenic Trees, Important Evolutionary events in Earth's history, Species and Speciation, and investigating current examples of evolution.
History of Fashion - Each we will cover a different aspect of fashion (e.g. color of fabric, the pain of fashion(!) and makeup). The book - Why'd they wear that: Fashion as the mirror of history - will be our guide for topics. On occasion, we'll also do a craft or activity such as dyeing silk scarves.
Art - Children of all ages will learn about different mediums and try them out. Process over product.
Around the World with Instapot - Explore the world of cooking one pot meals with Instapot - a slow cooker and pressure cooker combined. We will explore cooking appetizers, dinners, and deserts from various cuisines worldwide and enjoy eating them together. Weekly fee for groceries TBD.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) - Using a comprehensive approach, this program helps senior-high youth gain the knowledge, life principles and skills they need to express their sexuality in life-enhancing ways. Includes a parent orientation and 12 sessions. (Age 14+ or grades 10-12). The Middle School class will be offered at 11-12:30. The fee for this class is TBD; $75 is the current estimate.
Ultimate Frisbee - Come play ultimate Frisbee! Ultimate is a soccer-like sport using a frisbee. We play casually, no experience is necessary, although being willing to learn how to throw and catch a frisbee is a plus!
Artist Trading Cards - Artist Trading Cards (ATC) are tiny masterpieces created by you in the medium of your choice! Only 2.5x3.5 inches, you can store them in a trading card sleeve, and trade the ones you're willing to part for your favorites made by your friends!
Religion, Ethics, and Justice - Discussion group for exploring what religion is, how it relates to ethics, and what purposes it serves in different times, cultures, and contexts. This discussion will be welcome all questions and viewpoints, and it will offer opportunities to explore issues of healing and justice and how religions grapple with, work toward, and also work against justice in different ways.
Citizen Science & Field Ecology - The natural world is a changing rapidly in response to the human world. In fact it is changing so quickly that scientists can't keep up. As a result many have turned to Citizens for help! In this study group we will spend the first half of the semester taking a nature walk and exploring some of the many Citizen Science projects (ebird, nature's notebook etc). Then as the weather turns cold and the world quiets for winter, we will spend some time looking at how scientists use the data that citizens collect.
DnD/Starship Artemis - A role playing game of combat, lore, and humor! We'll make our "character sheets" to choose what characters we'll play together, and play them out in Dungeons and Dragons version 5. Rolling dice to decide who can see the enemy, picking up story elements to attain your next mission, and seeing who can drink the most mead in a tavern. The possibilities are (almost) endless!
Marine Biology - Study of the identification, classification and interrelationships of marine organisms. Study of the various marine habitats (sandy beach, marine estuary, intertidal, coral reef, open ocean, benthic). We will be reading and discussing articles or textbook excerpts, watching video clips, and a few optional field trips outside of Coop day will be offered.
Kerbal Space Program - Participants will use Kerbal Space Program (KSP) to develop their own space mission including rocket design, launch, and orbital controls. KSP realistically simulates the flight and behavior of a user's space ship and provides an exciting and intuitive environment for learning about space exploration, from rocket design to control to orbital mechanics. You'll learn how to create your space vehicle and the rockets to launch it into orbit.
Mock Trial - NOTE: Mock Trial is a Voyagers Resource Center offering, open to Voyagers members and non-members who are homeschoolers. Though many of the meetings will take place on Thursday during Coop hours, Mock Trial is not a Thursday Study Group.
Since this is a Resource Center program, a fee will be charged. Last year, the fees were $125 for Voyagers Members participating in Mock Trial; the nonmember fee was $200.
Voyagers Mock Trial Team, with the help of a teacher-coach and a volunteer attorney-coach, will study civil and criminal law, rules of evidence, and courtroom trial procedures, as part of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Mock Trial Program. Participants will read material from actual case decisions and statutes; will learn to help prepare the entire case for both the prosecution and the defense; and will assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses in competitions against other teams.
During the first few weeks, we will cover the basics of the court system and trial procedures and take opportunities to hone presentation skills. The case materials for the competition will likely be available in early November.
Note that Mock Trial sessions are 2 hours long, and this program continues from the Fall term into the Spring term, and will have some meetings during Voyagers' winter break. As competitions approach, some longer and/or additional practice times will be scheduled as needed.
The Voyagers Team will compete with at least three other Mock Trial teams on various weekday afternoons between late January and mid-February. Depending on the team's success, we might continue competing all the way into March. Dates and courtroom locations will be set by the MA Bar Association, and announced when the time approaches.
For more information, consult the Massachusetts Bar Association Mock Trial Program at http://mocktrial.massbar.org/
Strategy Games - to be determined by kids in the group.