December was a short “school” month obviously so I do not have as much to report as far as cool new-to-me resources. But I do have a few.
I find that we are not using the Oak Meadow curriculum I bought. I guess even that is too structured for me. I think we are basically a mix of eclectic homeschoolers and unschoolers and we tend to learn in units and based upon our interests. We don’t feel like tackling each subject every week (or month) or often times we want to incorporate those subjects into other ones and learn by doing. For some things I like textbooks and book reading and for others I like worksheets and labs.. history, math, science. Writing and spelling happen by doing the first three. So we have been using some of the resources below and using some more unconventional means of learning. We have been taking hikes a couple times a week and identifying birds, trees, and other aspects of nature. I signed my son up for Art lessons at a local studio, plan to enroll him in a gym class with personal trainer, and we visit the zoo or the science museum to see the exhibits, due sponsored activities, or take in the latest IMAX documentary. A documentary on The Great Lakes and one on Geckos is coming up. This week he is going to a Monster Truck Jam. I swear the kid knows all the trucks and drivers as well as what they have going on mechanically.
One interest lead unit we just completed lasted from November through December. My son wanted to study up on Bearded Dragons. He read library books about them, did Internet research, watched YouTube videos, and learned as much as he could about these reptiles. Then he did a display project all about them… what they eat, where they come from, the conditions in which they live, how to care for them ,ect.
Then we ended the unit by buying him a Bearded Dragon and the needed setup. The Bearded Dragon was a gift for doing such great research and he worked for and paid for much of the needed gear. My husband managed to get some great deals for him. The 20 gallon starter tank, lid, and UVB light were only $10 at an auction!
Meet Sammy… I have to say I was not anxious to bring a Bearded Dragon into the home but he/she is a cutie!
We have also taken a step beyond our unit study and my son has started (with my help) a blog all about Bearded Dragons. The education continues as he writes and makes videos for YouTube and his blog.
Homeschool is Cool Resources
History Odyssey: Ancients – We are loving this history curriculum. It essentially uses the books pictured at the top of this post… The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1:, and History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations, as well as several books we can get via the library. All of these resources are beyond excellent and can be used in conjunction without the History Odyssey curriculum but I like how it is presented and executed.
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History – This book gets its own section because it ROCKS! The photos are beautiful, the info is wonderful, and it has Internet links that accompany each section that you can explore for fun stuff and more info. The section on Ancient Egypt for example has links to a resource for helping you recreate an Egyptian board game that young Egyptian kids would have played. Also a link to a place where your child can type in their name and see how it is spelled in hieroglyphs. This book could be a stand alone curriculum!
Educaching – We haven’t tried this yet but it is on our too-get list. We do not have a GPS device as of right now but we have wanted one for awhile so we can start doing geocaching which is to use a GPS to find hidden caches. It has become a popular past time and this is the first curriculum to pop up that caters to the idea. It uses geocaching to teach math, science, and social lessons. Any curriculum that requires hiking and exploring sounds good to me!
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain – Good book alert! My son and I enjoyed this book as he read to us. William Dufris’s homey voice invites listeners to settle in for a favorite family story. As Jonathan’s mother plans for a family christening celebration, she realizes that only Aunt Emma’s pot is large enough to hold stew for 20 relatives and that only Jonathan can be spared from the farm work to fetch the cauldron. Dufris coordinates his pacing and mood to Jonathan’s trek over the mountain–speedy and jaunty as Jonathan sets off reciting his mantra “there are no bears on Hemlock Mountain,” poky as Jonathan stops to feed forest animals, and elongated and exaggerated as darkness falls. How alone IS Jonathan as he hides under the pot to wait for help?
Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities to Turn Travel Time into Learning Time – Admittedly we don’t drive so much that we need to make travel learning a big concern. But travel fun is always good right? Once every other week we do usually make a trek up North to visit with grandparents so this book has been nice for ideas. Mostly it is full of games that you can play on the road like Backseat Spelling Bee or Highway Hangman… good stuff.
This article on Making Curriculum Work for You from the Weird, Unsocialized, Homeschoolers blog.