Today my youngest two and I talked about our Ancient Rome unit study night planned for next week. Another homeschool family and our oldest daughter are coming over for dinner and reports. We used to do this years ago. I would assign a topic (a time in history or maybe a country) and we would check out every book we could find at the library. The kids (the older three at the time) would look through our treasures and each decide on a specific topic. From there they would research and write a report. We usually had a fiction book I read that went along with the time period. We would find out about the food, clothing, way of living and we would dress up, prepare and eat food like they and then the kids would give their reports.
In the first pic we had only had our foster/adopt kids one month and we had a medieval feast. (Side note: what on earth was I thinking?!! Thus, the crazed look on my face! M was our jester. Hysterical!)
The second pic is our study on China.
The third pic is our study on India.
This year is the first time I thought I could walk M and S through this process without sabotaging the night. There is a lot of work involved with making decisions and teaching them how to do a well written report. I used this method as a starting point. I didn’t follow the time frame because there are some days that my kids are shut down emotionally and cannot use the necessary critical thinking skills. We also had our house projects in December and all of our holiday shenanigans. We did tackle it again at the first of the year.
Today as we started talking about the food I realized I needed to research some more myself so that I would know what to prepare. M is reporting on gladiators and has his costume mostly done. S needed some nudging on her costume. She has the tendency to want things to be perfect and then gets stuck because she has trouble applying critical thinking to the problem. The probem: what to wear? The solution: either something out of our closets or dress up. She just couldn’t problem solve and figure out what to wear. She wanted it to be perfect for the time period and that’s just not the purpose. We had another opportunity to apply real life problem solving. After all, doing nothing IS something. It just doesn’t solve the problem. I finally found a body pillowcase and cut a hole for head and arms and voila! The beginnings of a costume!
Communication, whether written or oral, is not their strength. The ability to find 20 facts, extract commonalities, put them in some kind of logical order for paragraphs, list the facts in order within each paragraph and THEN start writing is a lot for my kids. A LOT. We’re working through it. Lots of learning going on. Sometimes a few battles but there is learning happening!
It takes more work for me and much more patience to implement this kind of school versus worksheets and textbooks, but I believe this provides for a much richer experience and greater retention. When you’re battling for you kids’ hearts this may not be doable. I pray for each of you homeschoolers to be able to experience this kind of progress yourselves. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Linking with: Hip Homeschool Moms, 3 Boys and a Dog, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Living Life Intentionally, Time-Warp Wife