Wednesday, January 12, 2011

School Plans: The Pumpkin Runner & Australia

You know the old saying, "The best laid plans.." It's been one of those kind of weeks around here. We had the best laid plans to start back to school on Monday the 10th. That was before I was severely sunburned after remembering to apply sunscreen to everyone except myself. I seem to do that at least once every summer, please tell me I'm not alone!

We also had a few other things creep up that we'd either forgotten about or completely hadn't expected. Things like trying to get all the camping laundry washed and dried while it's raining out. We don't own a drier, and really that's okay.

The upside to not being able to start school is that it's given me a little extra time to finish printing things out and putting stuff together for our upcoming study. The downside is that my kids love school and were looking forward to starting this week. They're a tad antsy and unsure of themselves because they've had a few too many weeks off.

The boys have also hit a point where they won't be doing every bit of school together, at least that's the plan starting out. It's a tad intimidating, because for the most part they've been able to do most of their stuff together. This year, however, Morgan is going to be doing more in depth studies as he starts to take the leap for some independent learning, and Jayden just isn't quite ready for that. Which means we might have two unit studies, with some form of a common theme between them, happening at the same time around here. The boys don't care, but I'm a little worried that my head might spin clear off my shoulders!

Here's the plans I have for Morgan, which we'll be starting on Monday, unless he convinces me to start sooner! Both boys are starting the year with an Aussie themed book as Australia Day is this month (Jan. 26th) and we like to take advantage of holidays to help us decide what to study! Morgan is starting with the book The Pumpkin Runner; it's a fictional telling of Cliff Young's 1983 Sydney to Melbourne run. We'll be using it as a jumping point for studying a handful of famous Australians over the next couple of weeks.
 I decided to make Morgan some notebooking pages to go with this unit as I felt notebooking would give him more room to write down the things he researches and writes. The above papers are some of what are he'll be using. He's been big on maps for as long as I can remember, and he's going to love the mapping lessons for this unit study.

We'll also take advantage of the nature around us and do a few minor nature studies about the things around us. Needless to say our camping trip this past weekend was very timely, and with complete purpose! We have a few other fun field trips lined up too.
Our first week back the boys will both be studying different bits of Australia together, and in the second week they will both be studying the Human Body together. Morgan's unit studies will last 2 weeks each, where as Jayden's will continue to be 1 week studies. The boys are psyched to finally be using the My Body Book which I picked up from Currclick a while back, we've just been waiting on a roll of paper to trace their bodies onto!

I also snagged these papers from Homeschool Creations for free. They'll come in handy for a variety of people we'll be learning about this year. The information on the flag is quite basic, but it will work for our needs. She also had a Mapping Australia paper, but it was a tad too basic and I made one similar adding on other things I wanted Morgan to mark and locate on his map. It was really hard not to leave a link over there saying, "Kola's are not bears!" 

Other resources we'll be using for this study (books currently excluded) will be:
Books in the book basket:

We have a few other fun projects in mind for this year that will tie in beautifully with this study too, you'll have to stay tuned for those!


Renelle said...

Wowza, Oh My you have done some awesome work and research with The The Pumpkin Runner. We have decided to row TPR first as it is Autumn and I wanted to have an Australian Notebook started to send off samples to the BOS. You have done such a wonderful job of making FIAR work for you I hope you don't miss it too much and that Winter Promise fulfills your hopes. I just want to say thank you for sharing your resources as I am not as talented as you in this area and was wondering how on earth I was going to pull it all together but you haven given us such a great start.
Blessings, Renelle

Marsha Diane Arnold said...

My goodness. My goodness. I love your site and I especially love this amazing work you do with my book. Thank you so much for the Aussie Pumpkin Patch. I'm going to share your link at a talk I give next month to librarians and teachers.
Run all your races with joy,
Marsha Diane Arnold
author of The Pumpkin Runner