Friday, April 10, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: New Beginnings - Zoology and Early American History

This week was our first official week of homeschooling Bunny.  I tried a schedule that was much more defined, in order to try to keep some semblance of organization through the day:
  • Bible
  • Math
  • Language Arts
  • Science or  History (sometimes both)
  • Chinese during lunch
  • Free time in the afternoon to explore their own interests
I'm doing most of it together, except for Math and Language Arts, except for this brief moment when they both worked on LA together:

So not only was it a new beginning in terms of Bunny being homeschooled, we also started new units for Science and Social Studies


We began using Sassafras Science Adventures: Zoology with Animal Classification and African Grasslands .  We've just been doing science based on Monkey's interests for the past year, but with both kids, I wanted to try to do something they would both be interested in- Animals! I found some online games that covered animal classification:
We read the book "Do Cats Have Family Trees?" to explore the different classification categories of animals and watched a Brain Pop video.

We learned about Lions and Cheetahs in the second chapter of the Sassafras Science Adventures. This curriculum is a different approach to science-using a story to impart the facts, and it's alot less dry than reading a textbook with animal facts. The story is 2 kids who are staying with their eccentric Uncle for the summer, and this uncle has a cool invention that allows them to go on an invisible zipline to locations around the world, where they will encounter and learn about all kinds of animals. We will supplement with short books about the animals from the library and DK's Encyclopedia of Animals to learn more facts about each animal.


I had started with Ancient History a few months ago with Monkey, but it wasn't quite 'exciting' and didn't seem to capture the kids' interest (I was including Bunny after school when we did History), just felt very forced and unnatural. Maybe it was just too distant to feel relevant? I was also concerned about ancient practices being a little too intense for Bunny (sacrifices, mummies, etc.) so I decided to just do a different period of history now that Bunny is home-Explorers/American History. I love the idea of using living books so I got the, TruthQuest History Early American History for Young Students I, which is a very open-ended guide of History, with no planned schedule, just a list of great living books, and a commentary, and we are free to explore those periods of history. I will supplement with videos and a timeline. (In the meantime, I've also discovered Notgrass's America the Beautiful, which I think I will add to this, even though this is a textbook and I prefer to use living books.  Notgrass's textbook looks great and covers daily life, biographies, American landmarks, and a biblical worldview when looking at history, but also as a literature component corresponding to the periods in history).

So we started with the Vikings and Leif Ericsson(or Erikson, Ericson, Eriksson) as the first to 'discover' America, reading:
We also watched the Crash Course video on Vikings. The kids love the Crash Course videos, but most of it goes over their heads. They might catch a brief overview and general idea of a topic, but they talk so fast and cover so much, and make jokes that are beyond the kids, so I don't think they learn that much from them, but they love to watch them.

But, after this first week with both kids and also doing a planned science and history unit, we've decided to just focus on one at a time. We'll do Science only (zoology) next week (and incidental history, if we come across it in our reading or everyday life), and at some point we'll switch to History (explorers) again (and do incidental science based on interest)

This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.