Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Returning to an Old Favorite

So, what do you do when the lessons your children have planned for them in a curriculum you're using just doesn't sound appealing? You go back to something you have done before and you know it and you love it, yet you change it to make it "new" again.

Maybe, as in our case, your science curriculum choice has you making yet another lap-book. Maybe, again like us, you don't really enjoy lap-booking or your children just don't learn that way. Maybe it's something else, something you've covered before or something that doesn't coincide with your beliefs. 

I ran into this problem a few days ago. ECJ has two science curriculum this year, one is Easy Peasy and one is Apologia General Science, and so if I had had him skip the lap book/presentation he'd have been just fine. However, YCJ is only using Easy Peasy this year as her main curriculum for science and I attempt to teach Peanut something along the same lines as the older two are learning. Needless to say there are many things that I could have done here. I could have found their science curriculum from last year and expanded on some of the material. I could have changed the actual assignment from Easy Peasy and yet kept the topic. I could have given them the next ten days or more off of science and just picked it back up when that lesson was over. I could have simply skipped that lesson and gone straight to the next science lesson planned.

Here's what I am doing. At our last trip to the library I grabbed a couple non-fiction nature books from the children's section and brought them home with the intent of writing out a few notes from them and just plugging in some of the information from them when we took our nature walks, or whenever else it seemed appropriate. It dawned on me when I ran into the lessons for the next ten days or so for the Cracker Jacks that I could make the next two weeks or so an intensive nature study. This is something all of us enjoys doing. Our nature walks end up with a purpose again and the children are reminded to explore more and draw or write in their nature journals. I also get to put in more information than I previously knew (and some activities) because of the books I picked up. I'm writing out a loose lesson plan based on these books and what we find while we're walking and that's what we'll be doing for science. There's no need to bring this down to Peanut's level or simplify it at all, what terms she doesn't "get" right now don't much matter because she'll learn them with repeated use. 

This also means that our postponed (a couple times now) Michigan state unit and our Kentucky state unit for history can be worked on during this time as well. We have done a couple small things for both units already but not spent a good deal of time on the. I'll be able to make a lesson out of the nature, ecology, of each state (2 lessons yay) to include with the state history and any other thing I can think of. I can use pictures that we took while on nature walks in KY to help with it's ecology since right now we're in Michigan. I also picked up a couple books from the library about both states intending to make sure we got the units finished before Christmas. Their history lessons for the next two weeks looked pretty light as well so they'll be able to do both the state units and their regular history without too much issue.

Tomorrow we'll be identifying some of the leaves found on our nature walk today and adding them into our nature journals. We'll also be talking about the types of forests that are around our part of the country and what is happening during this transitional time between fall and winter.

*I'll still be taking a lot of notes from both of these books as they cover things for each season. That means I will be able to dedicate some time each season to nature study specifically in case this issue crops up again.*

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