We are FINISHED!! As I sit here writing this I just feel really darn proud of what we all accomplished this year. The privilege of being able to teach my kids at home is not lost on me, but it is a lot of work…for all of us! Learning each others rhythms and how we work best, what time of day is most productive, how to wrangle the toddler, and being patient with each other. There’s just nothing easy about it, but it’s the very best thing we have done. I don’t just get to be involved in helping fix the disappointments and frustrations in learning. I get to be there for their successes too! I get to be there when a concept finally clicks. I get to be there when learning something new brings wonder and excitement. I get to be there to help foster deep and lasting relationships with their siblings. We had good days, we had hard days, and we had days where we scrapped most of our stuff and instead ate donuts out while reading piles of books. It was a good, good year.
We finished up the year with a KONOS unit study on Orderliness, meaning everything in its place. It was a fun one since my oldest likes things neat and organized, and my middle one is all things messy. Did I mention they share a room? Whoa. It is the reason for many, many, many of their arguments. It taught us all a lot and we had so much fun learning it!
We started out this unit by focusing on the days of creation and their order. Although it was the first thing we did, it really was one of the highlights of this unit. Ivy adores art and allowing her to really take time to draw and paint and focus on her work was just super enjoyable.
We studied and learned about all different kinds of building tools and what each is used for. Since their dad is a woodworker we had lots of tools at our disposal to look at and see in action, but we also checked out a bunch of books that gave us very detailed descriptions of different tools. I had some building kits from Lowe’s that I brought out and had them build their own set of binoculars. It was a great hands on lesson as they had to follow the instructions in order for the binoculars to be put together right.
Another fun project that we did was to sequence the books on our bookshelf from tallest to shortest. We have A LOT of books so it took awhile but it was a great visual lesson on order.
Next we moved on to counting and measuring. I bought cheap tape measures at the dollar store and set them to work measuring anything and everything in our home and outside. Easily my kids favorite was a graphing exercise with M&M’s. And lastly, we did a ton of baking to learn different measurements.
We learned a lot about classification as well. In general terms we learned about the attributes of different objects. I made labels such as large/small, curved/straight, hard/soft, etc., and then gave them a box of different household objects that they could classify into these groups. We gathered several objects and then took guesses as to whether they would float or sink when dropped in the water. And I introduced dividing things into equal parts, specifically one-half.
We then moved on to animal classification which was another really fun part of this study. We have a ton of plastic animals, so it made it really easy to come up with different ideas and activities we could do as we learned about the different classifications. Plastic animals have been one of our favorite things to collect over the years. My parents started the kids collection and added to it over the years and now we have a huge collection! It is loved by all ages in our home and played with several times a week. For this study we organized each of them into their classification. We also classified by location (i.e. forest, desert, mountains, arctic, etc.).
After this we started in on plant classification, just in time for spring! We talked about our garden and what we would be planting. We studied and illustrated the anatomy of a leaf and the anatomy of a tree and discussed the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees. Another highlight of this unit was taking the time to have Ivy memorize a poem. I mentioned on my instagram page that I don’t like poetry. I never have. Mostly I just don’t understand it unless it’s silly and rhymes. However I am trying to make sure my kids have an opportunity to love it if they want to, so I’m diving in despite my issues with it. The poem she memorized was titled “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer and it’s the single most adorable thing ever.
We touched on rock classification with this really cool rock kit I purchased off of Amazon. We didn’t do a lot of in depth study of how rocks are classified, but both of my girls are obsessed with rocks so finding very simple ways to classify them was a total win!
Next we learned about the planets. We learned the names of all the planets and read lots and lots of books about them, and we also did a really cool painting project that ended up being another highlight for them.
We finished off (with very little gusto) with a very light touch on calendars and seasons. Since the end of the school year was super hard to find motivation, I was so glad that I had worked with her on this topic at the very beginning of the year. We learned the days of the week and all of the months of the year, as well as the different seasons and things that we do and participate in during those seasons. We did, however, work harder at filling out our Melissa & Doug magnetic calendar, which was a fun way to learn without feeling like it’s actual work. 🙂
Like all of these character traits that we have studied through this first year, the learning has been just as great for me. I am naturally a pretty organized and orderly person. I function better like that. But one area that feels like I could always use some improvement and help is cleaning. I can keep my house looking fairly presentable and picked up, but actual cleaning many times gets pushed to the “I don’t want to spend my time on that” pile. So I started a cleaning challenge and whoa. It is kicking my rear, but also making me feel so productive! I am using the book Simply Clean by Becky Rapinchuk.
It’s been good for me to develop some daily cleaning habits so that it doesn’t get away from me so often, and it’s a great way to show my kids that they aren’t the only ones that need to learn about and have good character. This was a really fun unit study for all of us with so many interesting topics to discuss and learn about. That being said…we are done!! And we are really ready for summer break! Aaron is off in two weeks and then we will be in full summer vaca mode!
Links to resources used for the Orderliness Unit Study: