Last week we resumed our school year after our long Christmas break. We really enjoyed our break this year, but it went by so fast! Because our break was so long (calendared that way) we really had a hard time jumping back in on Monday. In fact, we didn't. I had a blockage issue with my ears and spent the morning at Urgent Care. By the time I got home all I wanted to do was rest. So we started on Tuesday instead.
We took it pretty easy on ourselves all week doing lots of reading.
We also watched t.v.
What? Yes, we use some television shows as jumping off places for learning.
I have blogged before about how we use the show Timeless to help us research American historical events. We see what event the show will be about, fully research that event, and then watch the show. We have been so pleased at how historically correct the show is, although taking some liberties in some of the characters to make it a little more fun. We can pick out what is true and what is not true based on our research. We have studied some events that I know would not have come up in our regular studies. This is the kids' most favorite thing we do all week. It's a highlight of our Mondays.
Another show we are now watching to help us study is The Wheel on Discovery. The Wheel features six people who are each dropped into a drastic EcoZone in South America for an undisclosed period of time. They are each given an identical backpack at the beginning of the total 60 days that holds supplies (though scant) they might need and only 3 days of food rations. At the full and half moon they are moved to their next EcoZone and their previous location is wiped clean for the next person. So far none of the people have figured out that their move date is linked to the moon, so they have no idea when they will be leaving. They have to find shelter, food, water, build a fire, and just survive the physical and emotional challenges, as well as keep from being eaten by the lurking animal predators. Any person can tap out at any time. We have started watching one episode of The Wheel and then the kids research one of the EcoZones (Biomes): Tundra, Wetlands, Island, Rainforest, Bush Plains, Mountains. They are required to provide me with: the location of the biome, climate, seasons, environment, plants and animals and their adaptations to the environment, and then analyze whether or not they would want to live there or even try to survive there for 8-16 days. (We use this worksheet.) And now this is a highlight to our Fridays.
We will soon also start watching the show The Zoo on Animal Planet. It is a docuseries that follows the inner workings of the Bronx Zoo. I am not sure how we will use this show in our researching, yet, but imagine it will involve choosing one of the animals featured and researching that animal. Or, heck, this might just be one of our "Freedom Friday" activities and we won't do anything but just watch the episode. I will figure that out soon. It premieres February 18th.
We are really working on our researching skills this year, and these shows give us a little direction and just make it a little more fun.
We plan to resume our full schedule of lessons this week, although the stomach flu hit this weekend so I am not sure how many of us will be ready for it. Let's hope for the best.