Tuesday, March 16, 2010
How we learn what we like to learn about.
I have to admit that we thrive the most when we do things spontaneously. That includes our "science lessons".
Even though I have developed my own views on what and how to teach our kids, in the beginning of the school year I was tempted to purchase a science curriculum. I had looked into Apologia, but the price had deterred me away from buying it. I decided we would just read books from the library on the topics of nature and natural events, weather, animals, astronomy, etc., and we would look up things on the web whatever the girls want to learn about.
It has been working just fine for us. Doing things in our homeschool this way we were able to cover a plethora of topics already, even including some basic chemistry and physics.
But when this morning the kids were asking what we would be learning for science, honestly, I had no clue. I guess the spring blues are showing up a bit early with wanting to be outside more and enjoy the warm days and not wanting to be planning any lessons.
"Mom, why didn't you plan a lesson for us?" they would question me.
"Oh, I have...(think quick, quick)..." As I was coming out from our office room and saw a sticker book we had bought over a month ago, I knew in an instant what we would be studying not only today day, but for a few weeks, possibly. "We'll be studying the nocturnal animals!" I proudly presented the idea to the girls and it was happily accepted by the learning crew.
To get started with the topic we went on line and looked up a few nocturnal animals that are local to our area. The sticker book was with the animals that we had never heard of (like, cavy, genet, slender loris, etc.), so we left it for another time.
Meanwhile, we read about the red fox, snow leopard, opossum, badger, firefly, hedgehog (an animal of my childhood). The photographs we found on line were phenomenal and the girls kept on ohing and ahing with one cute image after another. We read about the animal, the girls reviewed the info by answering leading questions to help them retain some info and new vocabulary. We learnt about the physical characteristics and then measured the length of the animals with and without tails, added, subtracted and found out the differences between the animals and our body lengths, worked with inches and feet as measuring units. We compiled a new vocabulary list of the terms like nocturnal, hibernate, aestivate, insectivore, carnivore, omnivore, marsupial, mammal, looked up two new animals that were related to the subjects we were studying (marten and marmot). We learnt about the animals' habitats and looked them up on the globe and reviewed our knowledge of geography.
We read some amazing facts about the animals we constantly see in our backyard. Who knew that fireflies (so cute and adorable) actually are cannibals, as they can eat each other! Or, next time when we will be holding a firefly we'll be sure to count the seconds between the flashes. Five seconds-and it's a male, two seconds-and it's a female.
We also were tempted to write up a report on one of the animals of each girl's choice (thus doing the penmanship part) and then create a habitat out of the recyclable things we use for all our activities.
But, the weather was too gorgeous to stay inside for any longer, and we took off. With having such a rounded learning time before, we had no problem to be outside all the way till dinner time. Playing with rocks, water, going for a bike ride, and simply soak up the sun rays was a great way to spend an afternoon.
When you teach the kids and they use what they have learnt that is like the music to any teacher's ears! I got my music today, "Mom, Evanchik has excrement in his diaper!"