It is never easy getting back into the groove of things when you’ve taken a break from school, and even though we did our daily Elf on the Shelf activities all December long, we had so much fun that it felt like a massive break from school. Not just that, but we took a break during the month from doing much of our Math U See or Sing, Spell, Read, and Write curriculum, so needless to say, Aria wasn’t super excited about getting back on track. Choosing to do the continent of South America the week we got back from break was a big gamble, and I can’t say I would do it over again. I definitely enjoyed learning about South America along with Aria, as I don’t know as much about South America as I do other continents, but the whole week felt rushed and forced in a way other weeks haven’t been. Jungle was a success, but I definitely need to spend more time preparing and more than one week on South America in the future so that we actually have a chance of learning the information.
I planned to focus the week on learning just a few things: the continent and its shape, the names of several countries, some of the popular traditions and food, and the Amazon jungle. Our first day, we studied the shape of the continent and the countries, and we played several games that I felt were effective in learning a few names. We then spent the next two days learning about Brazil and the Amazon (since most of the Amazon is actually located in Brazil). We had a blast making a jungle on our kitchen table for co-op along with playing with jungle animals and jungle stamps, and making it with a friend was all the more fun! For Brazil we also made Brasiliero, which the kids loved and I thought was far too sweet and we also made a jungle jello kit. You can see that we had far too much sugar this week! We also did our activities from our Little Passports Brazil kit that arrived a few months ago (I collect and wait for the right unit to use them). We studied basic things like the flag and several of the traditions like carnival, but I just felt like we ran out of time on both Brazil and the jungle.
We also studied the country of Peru, and I really lucked out in finding a free, large packet of information and activities on Peru. I highly recommend you download it if you do this unit. I was so overwhelmed in trying to pick through South America activities that it saved me loads of time and energy! I think she actually learned a lot about Peru through the packet, so ill definitely do the activities we didn’t get to next year.
Doing this unit for the first time this year gave me lots of ideas for how to grow and do it better next year. It made me think about what direction I want to go in for next year, especially with Skylar starting Pre-K 3 in the fall. Do I want to divide the entire year up into different continents so that we can get a deeper study and start doing World History? Do I want to focus on America and American history for a year? Even though the unit wasn’t as effective as I would have wished, I’m glad to get ideas for next year and the push to start mentally organizing for K/1!
Please keep comments contructive
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.