Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unschooling Moments

Due to time differences we have to watch the olympics in two parts. We get a few hours coverage in the morning, and then we get recaps and highlights around 9:30 pm. This means that we find ourselves glued to the early morning sessions, which caused a bit of unrest with me.

There was this big huge inward struggle.. ‘do we watch the olympics, which are only on once ever 2 years-- 4 if you count from winter to winter or summer to summer. Or, do we do school.’

Now, I know many homeschoolers took advantage of the moment and are doing olympic studies. The thought had crossed my mind, but I wasn’t sure how much we’d get to see considering the huge time difference and the rumor that Australia isn’t too big on winter olympics. Due to those concerns we were going to stay the path with our Westward Expansion studies.

Only, it became more and more difficult to stop watching sports we rarely see. We were watching in horror when the Aussies rode down the bobsled course on their heads. We had lots of woots and screams when Tora won gold. We were elated too when Team U.S.A. won the hockey match against Team Canada; after all we had a bit of pride riding on that match! And there was many gasps of relief when Team U.S.A. advanced forward in skiing. There’s just too much excitement in watching your country(s) come to victory, cheering for the underdogs, & watching amazing stories of sheer determination unfold.

So we threw our plans out the window, grabbed the remote and settled down for a few hours of fun. Some of which was spent running up and down the stairs to give updates to Mr Scarecrow who can only join us for bits and pieces between work.

The boys took a huge interest in the country flags. This isn’t a big surprise to me. Morgan has always been intrigued by flags and he finds no greater joy then when people bring him back one from their various travels around the globe. So when I spotted him drawing flag after flag on scrap paper and then asking which country they were I was struck by a moment of ingenious planning. The idea was to keep everything laid back and simple. To, in essence, do a bit of unschooling for the duration of the games.

This is a big thing for me. I’m a planner. I like to color inside the lines. I like things to be even and square and perfectly straight. I like my sheets of notes, my file box of plans, & above all I like to be prepared. So doing something on the spur of the moment, while fun, was also slightly daunting.

We pulled out our book of Flags Of The World (our copy is truly called Flag Book, and is not the same as I’ve linked to, but we also like the one I’ve linked to and borrow it from the library quite often..) and I let the kids hunt for each flag they’d drawn from the olympics. We then proceeded to write the names of the countries on the flags. Then we checked out where each country is located.

We pulled out a world map that only showed continents, no country lines, and we hung it up. Then we printed out country/flag papers from Crayola of the flags that the kids had drawn. After the morning coverage of the Olympics was over today the boys each chose a few of the flags to color. Then, we checked witch continent each country was located in.

We colored the country (the country & the flag are on the printouts from Crayola) the same color as the continent is on our map. There is a method to that madness! Then we pulled out our big box of flags. (We use to purchase a large flag that was identical to the country flag we’d be studying about. They use to cost $5.00, but the price went up dramatically last time we went to order from the company!) The boys had a blast looking through the many flags and each selected a flag that was neither Australian or American.

Morgan chose South Korea because he loves their flag. He's fallen head over heels in love with it. Jayden had France out, which was not a surprise. He truly loves France, but he opted to put it back for the Japanese flag. I suspect he was looking for something similar to the flag Morgan had. We then hung up their flags in their room. I’m pretty sure during tomorrow’s olympic session they’ll be taken down, and that’s okay.

We also made copies of 6 contintent maps that had the countries broken down on them. We made our copies from the scholastic Ready To Go Super Book Of Outline Maps. Yet another one of our many geography resources. Can you tell we like geography around here? They took turns coloring the country on the map who’s flag they’d also colored. They were permitted to color the country on the map any color they wanted so long as someone else hadn’t used that color first. The idea was to help us be able to see the country more easily once we got several colored in.

Our plans to finish off our “study” with are nothing major. We’ll continue to color the flags and locate the countries on the map. Then we’ll make a graph of how many countries came from each continent. (Do you see my method of madness now?)

We’ll also make a graph of medals won, but how we’ll do that yet is still up in the air. I’m not sure if we’ll do each country; each country we’ve colored; or the countries we are most gung-ho for. That’s to be decided. We’ll most likely also read up about each country. Nothing major, just a small bit of info in books we all ready own or what we can gleam from My Country Report.

The best part is, the kids are delighted to do "Olympic School" and couldn't wait to tackle finding the flags and countries in the various Atlases and Flag books we had on the table. They were inspired to ask lots of fun questions, and were completely amazed that my grandma use to live in Germany. Wait until they hear "the poem".. Interestingly enough while they are always cheering for the Aussies and the Americans they don't hesitate to find someone to cheer on if those aren't available. And, in true American style they were slightly put out that America got silver to Canada's Gold in ice dancing. (No offense to ANY Canadians, but you know we have to pick on you, right??) However, in true Olympic spirit they dug out their Canadian flags and waved them for the ceremony.


joelle said...

Sounds like lots of fun. I am not sure I share your happiness over the Hokey game (I live in Toronto), but I will still continue to read your blog ;-)I'm French and my husband is from the Philippines, so worry. Happy Olympics days!

Michele said...

Love it Kendra! This is a wonderful idea! I have one flag lover here. I ought to see if he'd like to do this. We have been staying up late watching the olympics and so school has been slow this week due to the boys sleeping in.
We are partial to the Korean flag here, lol. We have been rooting for both the USA and Korea.

kenziekylanmom said...

I was reading your blog and my son walked through and saw South Korea and said what are they doing with
"my flag on their blog?" He's adopted from S. Korea so I guess he doesn't want to share the flag, lol!

Kendra said...

lol, take heart Joelle we had a big time Canadian supporter here during it, and honestly I was excited to see them win the hockey game today! lol

Michelle & Jennifer, Morgan thinks your kids are the most awesomest ever because they are from Korea! ;) He's completely over the moon all over the Korean teams this year. I should pull out the Fire Keeper's Son for him again.. really LOVE that book!