So…. having four kids TOTALLY takes a toll on blogging… well, it takes a toll on everything really… sleeping, eating, showering, wearing matching clothes, brushing hair and teeth… get the picture?
However, it’s a new month… so… I’m giving myself some grace and a fresh start. I am going to really try to be more consistent with writing… for a few reasons..but mainly because I like to write and hope that someone out there in the blogosphere can relate to/ benefit from my experiences.
Onto today’s subject… unit writing. When I was just out of college, I took a job as a four year old kindergarten teacher in a school that had before that year, only hosted 2nd- 3rd graders. There was no curriculum to follow and no classroom materials. It was a complete blank canvas that I got to fill up. I broke up my year into 1 -2 week units of study… things like ocean animals, plants, seasons, transportation, community helpers, Dr. Seuss, nursery rhymes… to name a few. I thought I would take some time to share how I put together my studies.
I like to write things by hand… it helps me focus and seems to make things stick better in my memory… so… my unit planning usually looks something like this in the beginning:
As I said… this is how it begins… First I brainstorm. I get online and google and jump on Pinterest and tap into all the great resources out there. I break up my study into science, math, language arts, art, etc. I write down activities under each category. I keep a list of books, songs, great websites, etc. I write down possible fieldtrips (realistic or not). Next stop… I head to the library and check the heck out of some books having to do with the topic at hand.
I take my brainstorming sheet and begin to create actual lessons from the ideas. I download or create the worksheets I need, bookmark the websites that I like, gather the materials that I need and plan how long the unit needs to last.
Why would you want to create a unit study?
– it allows freedom in teaching the subjects you and your children want to learn about
– you can tailor make the lessons to fit your family and resources.
– you can save money by creating your own curriculum rather than buying a ready made, boxed set
– you can tailor make the lessons to fit your teaching style as well as your child’s learning style
– you could even invite your child to plan the unit with you… what activities would they like to do? What are they hoping to learn?
– you can think outside the box
I think, and this is something I REALLY need to work on, that it is important to let your children lead as much as possible when it comes to school. Follow their lead and their interests. Our kids are SUPER curious and we have the opportunity to come alongside them and build on that curiosity. One thing I have to work on is letting go of my agenda. We are studying American history this year. If I want to complete my goal for the school year, we are really going to have to amp it up… but the kids and enjoying reading about and playing Little House on the Prairie. So… I’ve slowed down. I’ve looked up activities about pioneers and let them spend hours playing in their covered wagon (a.k.a. the bunk bed). These are the things they will remember and take with them. Sure… we do math, we do science… but we also take time to do the things they enjoy. After all… kids learn so much through play (a fact so many of us adults have forgotten).
I hope this helps you in your lesson planning. Unit studies can be whatever you make them to be. So many resources are available online and at the library. Homeschooling doesn’t have to cost tons of money.
Unit planning does take a little more time and effort on the part of the parent…. but I think it’s worth the time. We are still using My Father’s World… but one thing I appreciate about those curriculums is the freedom I feel to add and take away as I see fit.
Other things I am going to try to implement this month are more homeschool week in review posts, freebies (primarily for the Kindle), thought provoking/ musings about parenting and maybe some crafty stuff as well.
I’m also going to do a photo a day challenge on Instagram for the month of May. I got my list of photo challenges from here. My Instagram user name is katiedug if you want to follow along.