Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Making Core F Exciting

Again this year Morgan is using the Sonlight Curriculum. He's doing Core F this year which has the heavy geography & research focus. He really loves geography & facts so it's a perfect fit for him, but he summed up his first week with, "It's fun looking things up, but that encyclopaedia is so boring!" And he's right, you know, because we've yet to meet a fascinating & exciting encyclopaedia. However, we're not about to throw in the towel over a boring spine, that defeats the purpose of sharing that there's more then one way to accomplish a job, or better yet that even the more boring aspects of education can be made fun if you use your noggin.

First we scanned the shelves for some pretty useful research information. I pulled off Winter Promise's Children From Around The World, their spine for their geography core, Material World, & How People Live. Then I introduced Morgan to the geography section of our home library, yes our books are really broken down by category, so in situations just like this I can easily say, "Just go to the geography shelf & look for the book called ... you'll love it!" I also pulled Story Of The World Volume 1 off the shelf & located my digital {I need to grab them in normal book fashion} copies of the other 3 volumes.

From there I also created a blog specially for Morgan where I line up his research for the day. I use the same ideas from the Sonlight IG. It's pretty easy. I simply put together one post for each day that he's suppose to research something. Sometimes I change the order that it's listed in the SL guide, sometimes we slow the pace down or sometimes we add things in. Something to keep in mind is that, at least in the 2012 Core, you spend 30 days or 6 weeks in China. 15 of those days, or 3 weeks, of that time is spent researching every possible aspect of Chinese history from dynasties to where they are now. Then for the final 15 days or 3 weeks you only have 3 topics to study & the rest of the time is filled with the Choose your Own Adventure {CYOA} choices. None of which I feel will take my child the scheduled 3 weeks to accomplish. While I do feel it's important to give our children assignments & have a dead line to turn them in by I also think that this is overly easy in that aspect. Had I looked closer at this layout for Morgan's first 6 weeks we probably would have slowed down the pace spreading the research over all 6 weeks, but that's okay. It was a good lesson for both of us & we survived the crazy frazzled pace, all though we look forward to a slower pace, or at least an easy jog, & getting back to writing {something he's really enjoying} & our Australian History lessons.

Each day for Morgan differs with what's on his blog. Somedays he finds one video, a variety of websites to look through, & instructions for filling out his notebooking page. Other days he might find that he has several videos to watch & total liberty with his notebooking pages. Yet other days he may find pages or chapters of books he's required to read, videos to watch, & news articles to read with a combination of specifics & liberties on his notebooking pages. It works for us & he's really enjoying the process.

I'll admit he was skeptical of the whole idea at first. He was worried it would be proper school, seriously where on earth did he get that kinda of idea?! Anyway, I told him to give it one day & if he didn't agree it was research & school we'd go back to the old way. His first day he read about the size of China, the government, their flag, national anthem, & had several videos to watch as well as some notebooking to do. He came out after he was done & said, "I was wrong, that is school. I like it, thanks Mom!"

This means we've decided to drop the EHN {it's no longer referred to as an EHE as it's now a set of notebooking pages} & use our own choice of notebooking pages from Notebooking Pages {.com} also available at Currclick if you don't want to forkout for a membership. We obtained the sheets a few years back & so far the only missing country I've seen is S. Korea but I think we can make the N. Korea pages work for that.

Last week Morgan started using this method & it worked wonderfully for him. He enjoyed the research, still learned the same facts, had more liberty with what he chose to report about in depth, & was able to work independently while I worked a little bit with Jayden. Granted, he & I did get carried away reading about the various Rebellions & wars in Story Of The World, seriously good books if you've never read them, but in general Morgan does the work on his own.

Morgan no longer dreads it when I say he needs to go do the research, in fact he says, "Oh please please tell me you picked another funny video for me!" I do try to mix light hearted versions of things with the heavier stuff on serious matters. The screen shot at the top of the screen shows a light hearted version of the Silk Road, just a simple worldess sketch that he found so funny he asked if he could share it with Jayden.

He does know computer safety rules, but I often remind him at the start of each post that he's not to click on links that lead him away from websites I've directed him to. No watching other videos other then that which I've selected without asking first. I've embedded all the videos right into his blog, but I do supply him a link to watch it off the blog at QuietTube. QuietTube is nothing fancy just a little button in your browser you can use to grab a video link so there's no adverts in the video & a more private place to watch it at.

I have supplied him with a video that had words in it our home doesn't use. I did warn him that he'd hear words he wasn't familiar with & if he had questions about them he should ask me. He watched the video said it was quite funny, but it was a couple of days before he came forward & asked if two fo the words he'd heard were rude. I told him only one was & that he shouldn't make the habit of using it. I had considered not using the video, which would be our normal standard, but considering the word wasn't constantly used we permitted the video to be seen.

All in all, it's been quite a fun experience for him, a little extra work for me all though not a huge deal. Had I made the choice before term started I could have had everything lined up & ready to roll, but that's okay. I guess I know what I'll be doing between terms though!


Mel said...

I LOVE your book shelf. I should take a photo of mine and post it so you can see what I'm dealing with...it's neat but it's not categorized. I can't wait for the book swap this year. I will have a huge box to bring along. Maybe we should have two book swaps a year?

Kendra said...

Oo, another book swap, as long as no one takes it TOO seriously. ;)