Thursday, November 21, 2013

COSI Field Trip

We are visiting family in Ohio for Thanksgiving. We came up a little early, since everyone is still in school (so are we), we decided to take a field trip today to the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus - AKA COSI. This is a perfect field trip for us because science is Zach's favorite and spending hours upon hours doing nothing but science stuff makes not only a great school day but a fantastic family day!

And Oh My Goodness what a fun day it was! Yes, many pictures are coming your way! I linked their page above, so you can get some idea of what we were heading into today. Ocean and Life and Space oh my! Bonus, we finally got our hands on a Newton's Cradle too! Do you know how hard it's been to find one of those? Holy Cow!

So much to do the boys had to make a plan!
Our first stop (and third stop too!)

Inside part of the ocean lab. 

Using a pulley system to lift himself up

Inside a submarine mock up

These last three were a step into social studies. It was called Progress and it went from Colonial Times to the 1960's. It was extremely cool!

All in all a really great day!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

More Unit Studies

We have mostly drifted away from our regular curriculum and now are doing unit studies. At least for the time being - everything is subject to change around this house!

Math is still Teaching Textbooks. Although it's starting to annoy Zach (he hates the reviewing stuff in every lesson), I told him when he can get 100 every time on every single thing he's reviewing I'll switch his math. Yep - holding on to TT still. Also, unless we are doing a science unit, we work out of our science every day.

We worked on a Veterans Day unit study. It took us until just past Veterans Day, but that's ok. I got it from Amanda Bennett many many moons ago. With our limited library (and short notice) I did have some trouble finding books about the people in the unit, but we managed to substitute some other interesting Veterans in their place. When all was said and done he decided he liked learning about Theodore Roosevelt and Arlington the best. And even though it's been discussed plenty before - he didn't realize how many people in our family are Vets. This picture was taken about 5 years ago on the day I retired.

The whole back row are Vets
Shannon (SIL - USAF), my Dad (USN Ret), Me (USAF Ret), My husband (USAF Ret). and Scott (BIL - USAF)

Lots of Vets, lots of people to ask questions to (and about). For some reason this raised the cool factor for my son about 1000%! And yes, that's him in the red shirt :)

So, we have a few days before Thanksgiving. Not enough for a four week Amanda Bennett study, but plenty of time for a two week In the Hands of A Child "Pilgrims" unit. Yes, I also bought a ton of these many many moons ago. I even have some about Colonial Times, The American Revolution, and the history of Native Americans. All subjects we would have covered this year. *sigh* I'm glad we can do it this way instead.

I'm sure there are a lot of places to get unit studies. Plus you can always make your own! But like I said, I got mine from Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett (Christian based - I usually leave out the Bible stuff) and In the Hands of a Child (these are more lapbooks, but they do have options for notebooking too!). My son usually hates lapbooks, but you know, I'm making him do it this time. Mean mom {smile}!

As we get more comfortable with this way of learning I see us making up units on anything that strikes the fancy of us crazy homeschoolers!

Friday, November 1, 2013

All is Well

We have been doing school - I swear! I'm just being uber-lame about my blogs these days. I guess because we aren't doing super fantastic wonderful things I figure "why write about it?". But I'm going to anyway :)

We've made our way through Early Explorers and are now working on Colonial Times and the beginnings of the American Revolution. Zach's math is getting more complicated, so I've been reading up on some of that so I can help when there are questions (and there are always questions!). But I've been losing him. So I decided to write my own unit study.

Was it about the American Revolution? The Incan Empire? Taking a trip on the Mayflower? Nope - it wasn't about any of those things at all. When the eyes glaze over you know it's time to do something else - so I chose one of his favorite interests - Pokemon!

I took about a week and made up some math, science, geography, and history questions all related to Pokemon. We learned how to make excel spreadsheets, work percentages, and even touched briefly on Hiroshima. There was not one day (seriously) that this boy was not ready (and willing) to do school work. It was such a pleasant change from fighting him every day.

Honestly, I wish I knew how to do a unit study for everything. He really enjoys them much more because it's something that he really wants to learn about. But I feel that somehow, 7th grade might be too old to learn that way. I'm probably wrong (I usually am about such things). So, we will continue to plug along as is until I can figure out some way to make it more interesting and exciting for him.

I don't want him to hate school - I want the boy back that was eager to do school every day. Now I have to reconcile that with the way I think it should be done.