This school year looks nothing like I expected. Last year was such a sweet year of homeschooling around the dining room table, using familiar curriculum that Sweetheart had used in private school the year before. She loved all things schoolish and loved for me to act like it was "real" school. (She would come in every morning and say, "Good morning Mrs. E" or "Mom, pretend like I'm a new student and you have to introduce me to the class!") I really enjoyed last year.
But having the summer to think about things and research my options a bit, I changed a few things. What worked really well in 2nd grade wasn't necessarily going to work again in 3rd grade. And I'll be honest, it was very hard to let go of my preconceived notions of what 3rd grade "should" look like. (I used to teach 3rd grade.) I branched out and got some new curriculum that would allow us to study things from a Christian perspective and I'm very glad that I did. I have enjoyed the curriculum we purchased, but the year still doesn't look like I thought it would.
For one thing, the younger grades (Pre-K through 2nd grade) lend themselves to thematic units. That's how I always taught. If we were to the part of our reading book where we read stories about the ocean, I stayed late at school hanging blue plastic wrap from the ceiling to transform our classroom into the ocean. Then I researched and found extra books to go along with our study. We had the best Titanic unit back then. When the movie came out, my former students all had to stop off at my door to ask if I had seen it yet. They remembered that unit because their interest was sparked. I love theme units. It's so fun to put huge dragon footprints in the hallway leading to your room and decorate your door like a castle and watch your students' faces as they walk up. "What are we learning about?????" The answer? Fairy tales. Don't even get me started on my pig unit. I stayed late hauling landscaping timbers to my classroom to build a pig pen that we filled with the students' stuffed pigs where they could sit and read.
Sigh. School used to be so much fun.
But because of the curriculum choices for Sweetheart's 3rd grade year, there really isn't as much time to do a theme unit. Besides, she knows all about Johnny Appleseed and the first Thanksgiving already because she remembers from last year. And if we do our History curriculum every day, it is a theme unit in itself. (The Ancients and all that encompasses.) But to us, that is boring by itself.
I could not believe the transformation in my oldest daughter when we began learning about horses two weeks ago! Since she was already interested, I think I could have gotten her to do just about anything. And we've pretty much kept up with our other subjects. Kind of. But how else can you find yourself watching Mr. Ed and The Roy Rogers Show on Youtube? We were studying famous horses, OK? We have had so much fun.
And that led into our Colonial Unit. I wanted to do some stuff on the 13 colonies, then I got a homeschool freebie download of a colonial book that looked awesome, then I thought, "Why not read the Felicity American Girl books next?" Hmmm. Then I remembered a free lapbook for American Girl books on Homeschool Share.
Another unit is born.
And if you think I have a plan past this you are VERY, VERY funny.
Or new to my blog.