Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Unit Studies

I think I may be getting the hang of this. This school year, so far is much better than the last. We are having fun. I am not nearly as uptight. I see lots of progress being made.

I attended a class a few weeks ago on unit studies. This used to be how school was taught. Most of the subjects were incorporated around a topic (writing, history, science, art, English). So I decided this year I would try my hand at using unit studies to teach Drew about the ancient civilizations. We just finished Mesopotamia and will start Ancient Egypt next week. When I was 8 I had no clue what the Fertile Crescent was let alone it was bordered by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, Drew does and he can explain what a shaduf is and how it works. We learned that the Mesopotamians invented the wheel as well as the flush toilet (I thank them for both). We have learned about Cuniform and ziggurats. We have drawn pictures, colored maps, made puppets, discussed agriculture, roles of men and women. The list goes on. It has been LOADS of fun for both of us.

Today he started asking about where Dracula came from as well as Frankenstein, werewolves, why mummies were supposed to be scary. He already has Halloween on his mind. So it hit me. I home school! I can teach what I want! If it excites Drew then let's learn about it. We are going to take about 2 weeks close to Halloween and do a unit study on the myths and legends of Halloween.

We have the big trip in December that he doesn't know about. So, why not do a unit study on the life of Walt Disney and his vision? I actually have unit studies planned for the next 5 months. Maybe this will be one way to keep school going year round. In the summer we just do a couple unit studies.

We still do math and spelling most days but we have so much fun with these studies it is hard to get the other stuff in like we need to.

I found this video the other day and it sums up homeschooling so well. I was terrified at the beginning but my home school friends have helped so much. I have learned that every day there are opportunities to learn that don't involve a classroom. We embrace learning in a totally different hands on way. We now go camping, play dates, park days, museums, field trips to all sorts of places. We are going to Monterey Aquarium in November, Fort Ross in April. Drew will be taking Spanish, nutrition this semester with our local co-op. He is also taking a year long class to get us ready for Fort Ross and when we get back he will have to make a presentation board about what he learned. He has already picked his country for our International day.

I get really irritated at our pastors wife. She is a teacher and every time she sees Drew she asks him math questions, spelling questions, English (noun verb) questions. She is continually tell me that he is behind. UMM...NO he is not behind, he is where he needs to be for him. How may second graders do you know who can point to the Tigris River on a map and explain that is now an area in conflict? The math and spelling will come - heck Phil can't spell and he is about to graduate from college.

I guess what I am trying to say (getting off my soap box) is that while home school is not for everyone. For us it has been the best thing we CHOSE to do.

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