Friday, April 27, 2012

Dairy Week

I am in love.
I am in love with a brilliant method of learning.
I want a t-shirt that says " I heart Unit Studies".  We have been rounding out the remaining weeks of Kindergarten by doing various unit studies together. Today we finished up "dairy week" in which we learned about a different dairy product each day. We also made homemade butter and homemade ice cream.

I love that I can make all subjects "more" fun by encasing them in a theme. Dairy Week methods: Multiplication is more fun when you can color in the answer on a yogurt carton! Learning what a "sphere" and "cone" are and how they differ from a circle and a triangle is pretty cool when its all about ice cream cones. The library never lets me down; I found a great children's book all about how ice cream is processed. And there is the ever-helpful internet, land of videos on yogurt production and milking machine diagrams!

I love unit studies because Blue Elephant likes the fun and different spin on things... but I will tell you a secret: I love unit studies because I love getting to create them! Finding just the right "how it's made" video or drawing ice cream scoops around double digit addition problems makes my heart sing. And a hands-on, homemade butter project? I'm in heaven!

This is a huge step for me in my homeschooling journey. I feel like so much has changed since last August! I began the year pretty much in stark terror that I was going to be the first homeschooling mother to get this gig completely wrong. I was scared to deviate from the curriculum in any matter. It had all been pre-planned for me, after all, and we had spent money on it! I HAD to use it to it's fullest, right?? 

BE took to schooling like a duck to water. He has always had a huge thirst for knowledge, and I saw him drinking deeply every day. So deeply in fact, that he began to progress faster than the curriculum was allowing for. Then came a day about a month ago that I realized we had left the curriculum far behind. I had been creating lessons from bits gathered here and there, themed around a fun book or an animal of the week. Nature studies, tiger facts, dairy week, bug explorations... we were out of our seats for 75% of the day, and BE was blossoming!

I was "winging it" and I was not afraid. You might say that I finally learned to fly! :)
Now I will not pretend that there are not still "off days"... and I don't "unschool"... we still get in pencil to paper on 5 subjects a day, 5 days a week. But theres just so much more spark, color, creativity, noise, action, glue and glitter. And I am loving it!

I want a shirt that says "I Heart Unit Studies"... and maybe I will just have to pull out the puffy paint I just bought last week (on clearance!) and make one!.... As a part of a "fabrics and how they are made" unit study, of course! 

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