Thursday, October 15, 2009

Under the Sea

We have been working on an under the sea unit study for about 5 months now off and on. The sea is a fascinating place! A friend of mine had a wonderful idea of making a 'research notebook' for the kids to record their adventures in. Each time we read a book about the sea, go to an aquarium, have a fun boat trip, or go to the shore (like the 7 beaches we discovered on our beach tour) we write a little bit about it. Alex is assigned two paragraphs, and Cyan two sentences. They can be about anything... anything of interest about the sea.

Today their assignment was to read a book, and then write about that. We got 33 (yes, 33) books about the sea, tide pools, sea shells, sea creatures, etc at the library yesterday and the kids have been pouring through them.

I think my very favorite thing about it is listening to Cyan read. She is getting SO good! I love her sounding out words like "fortune" and "creatures" and "Whelk" (a type of shell).

This is also helping Alex with his summarizing skills. He is one of those kids who would rather read you the entire book instead of tell you the main points, and so being limited to two paragraphs has really made him think about summing up the important info.

Unit studies have always worked best with my kids. As my friend says "Val, you don't do things half way"... I always throw myself full into whatever I am researching, learning, or passionate about. I have found lately that my kids are the same. They LOVE to bring me new facts about the anything they are passionate about. And if I am smart enough to USE that... they suck up 'education' like a sponge.

I have always thought of a child's brain like a room filled with empty boxes. Once you introduce a subject... even with nothing but a word on an audio book... that word starts to fill up a box in their brains. I believe that the public school system gives a lot of single words, but not a lot of full boxes. If that makes any sense at all. Topics are segregated into subjects... without the overlap that my kids thrive on. I would rather do one 'unit study' than 4 or 5 'subjects' per day. The information just seems to stick better. And isn't that the real goal of education?


Sybille said...

Yes, yes, yes, that's it: I just have the same thougts about learning. Isn't it... logical?
Thank you for this nice post.

Annicles said...

Yes - I try tp teach like this at school. Each child has a project on the go and the more subjects that can be included in it the better. Cross-curricular is becoming the buzz word over here in the UK but it has always been mine!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

I completely agree! What better way for the kids to retain all that knowledge? I love how you dive into things like this, and let your kids natural interests guide their learning!