Mesoamerica! The October Co-op Recap You Don’t Want to Miss!

The Able to Teach Homeschool Collective is back in business for the 2021-2022 school year!

We are on year two of a dream I’ve been living to bring a distinctly Black and distinctly Christian-led co-op to the greater homeschooling community!

Last Wednesday, 17 kids and one excited teacher dove deep into Mesoamerica!

If you remember, last year was centered on the Ancients. You can see our approach to the Ancients here, and here, and here, and then be sure to meet me back HERE!

This school year, we are tackling the Middle Ages around the world. Our October class, was all about Mesoamerica!

Students and families received their materials and supplies list well in advance, as well as their course outline. I wanted to ensure everyone knew exactly what we would be covering this school year. Families were responsible for obtaining the simple household items listed so they’d be ready to go for our Zoom class.

When students first got on screen, I gave a short spiel of who I am and the heart behind Able to Teach. You can read all about the mission and vision for Able to Teach here. So everyone could feel comfortable with their new classmates, despite having some familiar faces from kids returning in last year’s co-op, we played a fun icebreaker. Everyone introduced themselves and shared their favorite fairy tale or story. In a sec, you’ll see how this ties into a fun Cinderella project we are embarking on for the school year.

I may have bored the kids just a *tad* with an overview of this year’s topic and theme. 😉 But I really wanted to familiarize the kids with our subject. I didn’t want to assume everyone had heard of the Middle Ages. After all, our co-op this year is comprised of kids aged 6-12 years old. Last year, our co-op was made up of two different groups, the Littles (4-6 years old) and the Bigs (7-9 years old).

This year, I’m trying my hand at combining them. It’s more so due to ease of schedule for my own family. But after last week, I realized, I may need to go back to the age divisions next semester. After all, 6-12 years old is a huge gap! But, this time around, I made it work. 😉

I hinted at it earlier, but this entire school year, we will also be reading Cinderella tales from around the world!

Cool right?

Did you know the first Cinderella-esque story made its appearance in the Middle Ages? We are going to have so much fun! I did a similar study with my own kiddos some years ago, and we loved it! I cannot wait to do this with the kids in my co-op. It’s really intriguing to draw comparisons and contrasts between cultures and the different ways this age-old tale has been told.

After this, we got into some fun! We made some yummy Mayan hot chocolate.

One of our students sipping his Mayan hot chocolate and showing off his suspension bridge from our STEM challenge!

My hope was for the kids to have this for the end of class when we’d read parts of and discuss Adelita: the Mexican Cinderella. (Spoiler: We ran out of time for the story, because we were having too much fun with our other activities and projects. But I heard from several of the parents afterwards that the hot chocolate was still a hit!)

Next up, we got into each of the major people groups from the region. We watched cool videos about a “deadly” ball game the Aztecs played and got to see a 500 year old suspension bridge made entirely out of wild grasses that has been maintained until present day!

Always up for a challenge, I walked the kids through the steps to build their own suspension bridges in a STEM challenge. They were tasked with the responsibility of figuring out ways to alter its design and add the most amount of weight to them.

Overall, it was a fun class!

Some parents let me know their kids had so much fun, they even had trouble pulling them away from their bridges when it was lunchtime!

I’d count that as a win!

On another note, be on the look out for some newness coming down the pike!

I’ll soon begin offering study guides to all our courses if you’re the type who loves step by step instructions, informative powerpoints, and the chance to recreate your own STEM challenges, as well as other cool experiments and activities! The Able to Teach Homeschool Store will soon be open for you to purchase and download your own lesson plans and study guides!

In the meantime, let me know how your family approaches the Middle Ages. Want to know which region will we be covering in November? Be sure to subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already. And, turn on your email notifications so you won’t miss any of our exciting visits to the past!

Thanks for reading!



Published by Courtney B. Dunlap

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer...and excited to grow! I believe there's a need for more down-to-earth online spaces in which moms like you and me and anyone else in-between can explore the in's and out's of homeschooling free from competition yet rich with encouragement. My hope is that all that you find here will provide just that!

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