Our Europe unit was such a great way to start out a month of Europe related learning! We are going to be spending the rest of the month studying St. Patrick and Fairy Tales (most of which come from writers in Europe or are based on real castles in Europe), so we were able to really set up a lot of that through this unit. I also ended up planning a last minute spring break trip that will take a week away from our fairy tales unit, so we were able to cover castles and medieval times early so we didn’t miss out on any of that information when we get to the fairy tales.
I can’t stress enough if you do world units the importance of maps. Whether felt or coloring, the only real way I’ve been able to give Aria a sense of not only where a continent is but also the countries within the continent is through maps. I found a really great one for Europe where we colored every single country in Europe, which gave us a good chance to say every country name. We followed that up with writing the first letter of every country and looking at their flags, which I got from Every Star is Different. She has awesome activities for every continent, and her Europe one is amazing (pictures of landmarks, famous artists and their works, flag recognition, counting money, etc).
Once we knew where Europe was, we focused on two different things about Europe: France and medieval times. I could have focused on a ton more things, but I decided to make my life a little easier this week and found an amazing deal on a Kid Wonder medieval box (which gave us 5 full blown activities, all the materials, and kept us busy the entire day). So, along with the castle blocks I already had, boxes from the garage that we made into our own castle, our castle characters, puppets, and dress up costumes, we were set!
We focused on France because our Little Passports subscription sent us activities for Paris. I also own some beautiful wooden Paris blocks and had bought a Paris Busy Book a while back, so we were able to cover Paris really well. We also lucked out and two months ago our Raddish cooking kit included items for a French meal, so we ended our week with a yummy dinner of a Croque Monsieur and nicoise salad that the girls helped me make!
For our co-op of the week, we focused on Paris and Parisian artwork, with a specific focus on Claude Monet’s lilypad works. We made our own lilypad work, we decorated one of his works and made it our own, and then we looked at different European artists, picked a work we liked, and tried to paint like that artist. The kiddos also built an Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks and marshmallows. Super fun!
This was definitely a unit that I wished we had more time to invest in covering, though I may just spend a whole year at some point focusing on Europe because there are so many things we can cover! We had such a fun week and I really think that Kid Wonder and Raddish are amazing investments if you are looking for some complements to your homeschool curriculum! Hope you have as much fun diving into Europe as we did!
Dr. Seuss week is so fun, not just because Seuss’ works are fun in and of themselves, but we get to spend the whole week reading loads of books. Plus, if you are lucky enough to live in a place with awesome libraries, you might be able to go to a fun library birthday celebration like we do! Definitely a silly, fun week that can also be challenging and rewarding in many ways.
Our huge, huge win of the week was Aria reading me Green Eggs and Ham. This is the first time I really had her sit down and read things that aren’t considered “readers,” and she blew me away with how well she did and how little help she needed. Definitely owed to a mix of her determination to succeed and the help of our Sing, Spell, Read, and Write curriculum. I’d like to try and see if I can get her to read Cat in the Hat or One Fish, Two Fish by the end of the year, but we will have to just wait and see!
The girls just loved this week. We did loads of science activities and hands on stuff, crafts, and literature/ math items. The best thing we own Dr. Seuss themed (other than the books of course), is the Cat in the Hat game I recommend in my lesson plans. Not only is it a great way to get kids moving, but it is also a good way to practice reading sight words (even if some are very silly). The Lorax had the best crafts, Green Eggs and Ham had the best hands on activities, and The Cat in the Hat had the best stuff to get you moving.
I highly suggest making celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday a yearly tradition and taking advantage of all of the stuff that goes on in your community during this time. Any unit that gets your kids excited about reading is a great unit in my mind! Plus, his books are too much fun for even the most reluctant reader not to enjoy. Hope you have fun celebrating!
Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.