Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer Curriculum, Week 1

Hi there. A few people have asked me to write up what we are doing each week now that the kids are out of school. I learned a long time ago that they all do better with some degree of structure, and that it helps me stay sane throughout the summer if I have a list to pull from. This isn't to say that anything about our plans are set in stone. Sometimes we don't get to everything. Sometimes things get moved around. Sometimes other things come up and the whole week gets tossed. It is what it is, but for me this is a helpful tool.


By this point, my kids actually look forward to our summer lessons because they can learn about things they want to learn about without having to worry about tests or homework. The older two helped set up the plans for this summer themselves.

I'm focusing a bit more on science this year than I ordinarily do for a few reasons. One, all the kids love it. Two, science experiments are rad. Three, Freckles is moving on to middle school in the fall and will have a dedicated science class for the first time, which is something this aspiring veterinarian is very excited about.

As for the amount of time we spend on all this, I can't really say. Some days we get so involved in the book of the week that they ask to just finish it. We read the book, then watch the movie. All books chosen have been made into films or stage productions so they can compare. Sometimes we get so caught up in the science projects that it distracts us from everything else.

I also have them all work on penmanship and cursive during the summer. I will also have them start working on typing and formatting references this summer since it's something that drove me a bit crazy with The Oldest this year.

Lower case printing worksheets
Upper case printing worksheets
Cursive worksheets
Free typing website

Each week on Monday, I plan to share our goals for the week and will include any external resources I am using as well as links to where you can download the books. We will be trying to go on one local trip a week related to the theme as well, and though you don't necessarily have the same things where you live, there is probably something similar enough if you are interested. Check into free days, family days and special events for discounts for those locations that charge admission.

Week 1 - May 26-June 3

Book: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Available for free download on Amazon here.

Movie: We will be watching the 1954 Disney version of the film after we finish the book. It is available to rent on Amazon and youtube for $2.99. It is playing on BYUTV for those of you who receive that channel on May 29th. We are recording it from there.

Writing: We will do some creative writing, some research based writing. This week, for the older kids, the topic is, "If I woke up tomorrow with amnesia...". For my younger kids, the topic will be, "The best part of being me is..."

Science: Animal kingdom, classification and diversity. My primary resource for the science unit is this book (though I don't generally love Usborne books, this one is pretty good).


I also use a ton of online resources for science generally, but the best I found for animal diversity and classification is this one, through the University of Michigan Zoology Department.

Project: We will be constructing a huge tree of diversity, using as many animals as we can think of, placing them on the tree according to their classification. It's similar in idea to the tree that Neil deGrasse Tyson talked about on Cosmos a while back. If you haven't seen the show, you simply must watch it. The tree of life episode is here, in full length if you haven't seen it yet. 

Trip: We will be going to the zoo towards the end of the week, and I'll have the kids bring journals to write down the classification names of the animals.

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