If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Unit Study Thoughts & Dangerous/Daring Books...

I have been researching unit studies, through my general favorite homeschooling forum, which actually happens to be a classical forum, but then many on there aren't classical educators, and it is a very active board. Anyhow, I was reading about a family that rotates the subjects of their unit studies... history, science, geography, and then through again, and I thought this sounded pretty cool! So I am thinking perhaps history, science (besides our regular science), geography, child-led/fun (like the mythical creatures unit). This way we're still covering a good range of topics, so I won't worry quite so much about gaps. Or perhaps even just history, geography, and fun stuff, since we'll already have science covered.

Yes, I do worry about gaps, mainly in math, writing, and science. And Cricket's reading... but, I feel more and more comfortable with writing since reading this book, and better about math in looking through the Life of Fred FAQs (especially this one), and Cricket will get there with reading (see more below). And science? Well, having made my choice for science, I am feeling really good about that.

One thing I like about the idea of rotating the focus of our studies is that it will give the kids a chance to really get in depth with various topics. Secondly, it will give me an excellent opportunity to utilize some of the many resources I happen to have lying about. Thirdly, I think switching things up about once a month or so will keep us from feelings of tedium.

What does this have to do with The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls? Well, I do plan on using great chunks of those as jumping off points for unit studies, and then the rest will be integrated into our everyday studies. For example, in history, we could do a unit on flight, famous pilots and pioneers in aviation, etc. Or units on great women of ancient times, famous explorers, etc. In science, there's weather, space, dinosaurs, birds, and so forth. Fun units on pirates, spies, and the list goes on. And for the integrated studies there are handicrafts, sports (maybe we could try a new one each month?), and much more!

I think we may do the history part in more or less chronological order, which satisfies the part of my mind that says that chronological history is the way to go. If we did that, I might use The World in Ancient Times as a spine for each unit.

As to the reference I made above to "see below" on Cricket's reading, I have come up with a plan of action that both she and I can accept. She loves the fun and game-like approach of Reading Eggs, and I can see where she is learning from it, but I love the simplicity and thoroughness of ClickN'Read, and I happen to view Reading Eggs as more of a supplement. So, the plan is this:
She'll complete a lesson each day from ClickN'Read first, after which she may do a couple of lessons in Reading Eggs, then finish up with a couple of pages in Explode the Code. We'll continue with bedtime reading - she reads a book to me, and then I read aloud to both kids. I know to some people this may seem pretty intensive, but we need to do this. At some point, she is going to need to be able to read, and this seems like it might get her there! I have told her that once she can read up to grade level fluently, I'll stop the reading instruction. Simple as that. And, to make it a little easier on her, I'm not requiring writing from her at this point besides ETC and some copywork.

So we're all geared up for our first fun unit study, mythological creatures. I have stacks of library books, and a cool looking lapbook resource. After that unit, which should take us through March, we'll maybe do a geography unit - Cricket's interested in Japan (mostly because I think she wants to go here again), and wrap up the year in May with a history unit - perhaps finish up prehistoric peoples? We'll be doing a very relaxed study of California history over the summer as well - lots of good books and fun field trips.

And I'll stop rambling now!

1 comment :

  1. I saw your post about the Dangerous Books on the WTM forums. I'll be watching with interest how you integrate them into your learning, because it sounds great!


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