Monday, January 13, 2014

All the social studies extras….

I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, but I just haven't, so I'm going to try and rectify that now. :) Things are going swimmingly with homeschooling this year…. soooo much less stressful than last year. I attribute this to the fact that I'm not requesting about 20 books a week and obsessing over planning the next unit study. We haven't rowed a single book from FIAR this year, and I don't regret that. We may row a few this spring, but I'm going to do it in a far more low key way if we do.

I thought I'd talk about what's working in our Morning Time portion of homeschool. When we start the morning, we do social studies and devotions first. I have a Baptist hymnal that I've had for ages, and at the beginning of the year, I made a list of hymns that I wanted to learn. I put a paperclip on that page, and I just open, and we sing. (By the way, paperclips and post it notes are the way that I mark all of my pages. I find if I don't use them, I get frustrated. So simple, yet so essential.)

We'll do a devotional reading and pray briefly. I have all kinds of devotionals that we've used, from the Jesus Storybook Bible to The Big Picture Story Bible, etc. Right now, we're using a book called "Character Trails" by Marilyn Boyer that we're all enjoying.

I have a giant laminated map of the world on the wall, and I also have a laminated circle with a boat on it from FIAR last year. I've started using my DK First Atlas for simple geography this year. Each day, I'll find the next continent in the book, and I'll have Seth or Evan move the boat to it. We talk briefly about different aspects of the continent. I point out all the different kinds of animals pictured in the atlas. The next day, there is usually a little more content about the continent that I'll read, and then I'll have them move the boat to a feature of the land. For instance, I have them move the boat to the rain forests in S. America. We learned how to use a compass rose last year, so Seth refers to that sometimes when he's looking for something.

I gave up on trying to find the perfect picture study materials, and I fell back on the Usborne Art Sticker book that I'd started last year. We put a few picture stickers in the frame, and I read the short snippets of text around them about the little paintings. This has been short and sweet and surprisingly interesting to them.

For composer study, I'm just getting picture books about the composers from our local library. Anything by Mike Venezia is usually age appropriate. I'll also make a playlist on Spotify. I've been enjoying the Classical Kids playlists for different composers. I'll play them while Seth and Evan are having table time, and I'll just briefly mention that we're listening to Mozart or Bach today.

Sometimes I'll read a silly poem by Shel Silverstein or something from A Child's Garden of Verses. We have memorized a couple of poems this year, and I've also gone over the Bible memory that we did last year to make sure they have that down. I need to add in more Bible memory this year.

Most days, we read a portion of Story of the World, and I ask the questions in the manual. (I would have Seth narrate, but it's pretty challenging because so many of the names and concepts are unfamiliar, so we narrate only for the story sections in Writing With Ease.) Most days, we also read a library book about the body system we're studying or the animal that we're studying. This week, we're reading lots of different books about the eye and sight. Last week, we read about dolphins, watched a short Youtube video on them, and answered questions about their characteristics. That takes care of history and science.

I feel like the boys are getting a well rounded education, and its not killing me. :) I can see being able to go through the summer this year doing this a lot of days without difficulty. Last year, the thought of doing school all summer made me want to put a fork through my eye, so we quit formal studies in May and started back in early September. I'm so glad I don't feel that way this year. :)

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I have decided that unit studies (like you were talking about with FAIR from last year) that require lots of planning are for small families :) I love unit studies, but I have come to the realization that it's just not possible sometimes! So I understand what you mean about keeping it low key. We do well when I do that as well. I'm sure there are plenty of large families that do well planned unit studies, but it's just not for me! :)