Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Presidents and the Olympics

From the title you may be able to tell that this post will mostly revolve around homeschooling. At the end of last week we began the preparations for Valentines Day (on Sunday), President's Day (on Monday - and yes we still had school), and the XXI Winter Olympic Games had begun. I had planned a few weeks ago that we would spend this week and the last half of the month doing a few unit studies/lapbooks. For those of you unsure about lapbooking or unit studies, I encourage you to do some research, find a topic that you or your children are interested in, or the setting of the time (like holidays, birthdays, etc.) fits your schedule, and then do one. That is how we started and the girls love them.
We primarily homeschool from a classical standpoint. However, I want my children to have fun and I found that unit studies/lapbooking allowed for a "break" from the norm. We are doing two lapbooks this week. Well, one will be completed this week and the other by the end of the month.
The first one is about President's Day and includes information specifically on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. When we complete our lapbook, I'll post pictures. We read a little bit of information each day and then we have these little mini-books that we cut out, write in and decorate that helps reinforce the information we learned. Arianna is able to do a lot of the writing, but sometimes she dictates the information to me so I write it down for her (she says I write faster and it doesn't hurt my hand as much.)
The second lapbook is on the 2010 Winter Olympics. I have enjoyed this unit study/lapbook primarily because of the way they break down the study. Some companies have all the reading material upfront and then the rest of the activites follow. The way this company (A Journey Through Learning) does it is it has a small page or two of information they call a study guide and then the activity (or activities) that correspond with that part of the guide. I think this is much easier for teaching, especially since I am new to the unit study/lapbooking process. Anyway, it has the Olympics broken down into the history and origins of how the games began and then specific information about the games that are happening in Vancouver. It also has a detailed "plan" of where each minibook is to go in the lapbook(s). I say lapbooks because this one is actually three file folders that are folded and manipulated into one giant lapbook.
I also just realized that if you are new to homeschooling or have never heard of these concepts you might be asking - what is a unit study and what is lapbooking? Well a unit study is just what it says - a study for a unit of time that focuses primarily on one particular subject. That subject may be anything from butterflies, to airplanes, to George Washington and anything in between. A lapbook is a file folder (like the kind doctor and dentist offices use - manilla folders or any color) that is folded differently to create a type of "book." Inside this newly created book you put mini-books of all shapes, sizes, colors (using different color papers.) This allows for a visual of what has been discussed and hopefully learned throughout the unit study.
Arianna has done a few other lapbooks this past year that she loved. I will try and post some of those pictures. But for now, I need to run so we can get onto Latin and math before embarking on today's activities in our unit studies.

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