As I read various homeschooling blogs, it is very interesting to see the sorts of “fairs” that homeschoolers participate in. Most of us are, of course, familiar with science fairs. I did a few of those when I was a kid! I also see many homeschoolers participating in fairs I had never heard of before I starting homeschooling – History Fairs, Geography Fairs, Literature fairs and more.
Our homeschool co-op takes a unique twist on the “fair” concept with our annual Expert Day. Instead of limiting projects to one subject area, students in grades one through six may choose to become an “expert” on any subject area of their choice. Students often bring projects on favorite animals, historical events, or various hobbies.
Here’s Miss M last year (as a 1st grader) with her project on Sea Horses:
Instead of all students bringing their projects on the same day, Expert Day happens during our co-op’s “assembly time” (the first 45 minutes of our co-op meeting after announcements) for three co-op meetings in a row. Two grade-levels bring their projects each week, and all students not presenting move around the room in small groups and listen to each “expert” give a three minute presentation on his or her topic. Students are expected to bring some sort of display. Many choose a standard three panel display board, but others just bring props, while a few go high-tech and have a computer or iPad presentation.
Miss M’s turn for expert day will be on the 2nd Thursday in April. She actually picked her topic for this year – horses – soon after last year’s expert day! She began a few weeks ago preparing for expert day by working on a horse lapbook. Over the next couple weeks I’ll be helping her find more library and internet resources, narrowing her topic for her oral presentation, and of course we’ll be working on the presentation itself.
I am so happy to be a part of a co-op — it’s a great way for my kids to have valuable learning experiences like this in research, public speaking, and so on (that I would have a hard time providing with just my family alone!)