Monthly Archives: July 2012

Unit 1 Science Book List

This information was originally listed in a post with the humanities book list for Unit 1, but I decided to separate it. Along with our humanities unit on Prehistory, we will be studying Weather & Climate Change. I tried to make our Science units loosely correlate with our humanities units, without being contrived. The third graders in our school district will be studying various weather-related topics this year, though probably not climate change. I’m trying to make sure that we, at the very least, cover the material her peers will be doing in school, plus as much extra and related material as we can. I think you probably need a good understanding of how weather works to appreciate the concept of a “climate,” which is more complex.

Weather, Paul Lehr
Weird Weather, Kate Evans
How We Know What We Know about Our Changing Climate, Lynne Cherry
Under the Weather: Stories About Climate Change, Tony Bradman

UPDATE 8/29/12: After actually reading these titles over the past few weeks, I have determined that this is way too much work for an eight year old to cover in six weeks. I mean, what was I thinking? I have cut out the Paul Lehr book, as it is a fantastic reference book, but very dry and dense. It would take us a whole year to cover the material in that tiny book!

I’ve replaced Weather with The Weather Detectives, by Mark Eubank and Mark A. Hicks. It is much more kid-friendly, and reads conversationally, which is what I was looking for. Lillia really absorbs information when it’s given in narrative form.

Also, we won’t have time to read the Lynne Cherry book of short stories about climate change, or the How We Know… book, either. I will offer those for independent reading at her leisure. I do, however, want to read Weird Weather, which is a really well-researched, yet very fascinating, graphic novel about climate change. It will be worth it to squeeze it in somehow.

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Basic Unit 1 Schedule

Here is a preliminary schedule for our Unit 1 study of Prehistory and Climate Change. I haven’t added any of the supplemental materials yet, as I haven’t quite worked out where they will fit. This schedule reflects only the work that Lillia will be responsible for doing on her own.

Click here to view—> Unit 1 Schedule PDF

UPDATE 8/29/12: This has changed completely. I will post an updated version soon.

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Unit 1 Humanities Book List

Here is a list of the books Lillia will be reading during the first six-week Humanities unit, during which we will be studying Prehistory — beginning with a quick overview of evolution on Earth from the Big Bang to the rise of Homo sapiens sapiens. We will concentrate a lot of our time on the Ice Age peoples of Europe and North America. I will post a reading schedule later this week or next, so you can see how I broke down the readings by chapter and/or page number so they are manageable for an eight year old.

Disclaimer: I do not consider myself an expert on education. I do consider myself an expert on my particular child. This reading list is designed for a child reading proficiently at a late elementary/early middle school level.

Born With A Bang; From Lava to Life; Mammals Who Morph, Jennifer Morgan
Children of Time: Evolution and the Human Story, Anne H. Weaver
Oxford First Ancient History, R.E.C. Burrell
Anooka’s Answer, Majorie Cowley
Maroo of the Winter Caves, Ann Turnbull
Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones, David L. Harrison

* I chose two books of historical fiction that have female protagonists. Marjorie Cowley also wrote a book called Dar and the Spear Thrower, which has a male protagonist. You could substitute that for one of the books I selected.

UPDATE 8/29/12: I’ve changed this list quite a bit since I posted it. I am now breaking it up into two subjects, covering History (which we will read together) and Literature (which she will read to herself) separately. This will still take us six weeks, but I have cut down the number of pages per day, to keep the lessons manageable, and that leaves us with fewer books. The other titles we can read at our leisure, like the Jennifer Morgan series which we have already read many times. Here is a more accurate picture of what we will read, including some new titles:

Voyages Through Time: The Beginning, Peter Ackroyd
Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones, David L. Harrison
If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge, Marc Aronson

Children of Time: Evolution and the Human Story, Anne H. Weaver
Anooka’s Answer, Majorie Cowley

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The Adventure Begins

We have decided to…

Before I go into any details, I must first apologize for my complete lack of posts for the last few weeks. I meant to keep updating during our trial period, but it only ended up lasting a week. Then, we were going back and forth with our decision, and I just didn’t feel I had much to say in this space. But, now that we’ve decided for sure, I feel I can write posts again.

As you may have noticed, we have a new header, and our “homeschool experiment” is upgraded to an “adventure!” It took my husband quite a long time to come around to the idea. So long, in fact, that we actually ended up switching positions at the end — I was ready to send her to school! But, it had to happen this way because I wouldn’t have been successful without 100% of his support. There can be no acquiescing in this sort of decision.

During our trial week I learned A LOT about what would/wouldn’t work for us in a homeschooling situation. I have so many questions, but they will remain unanswered until we start our program in the fall. I think that it will be a “take it as it comes” sort of adventure, and I am okay with that.

We are still going to use some of Charlotte Mason’s ideas, but others just won’t work for us. And, though I love the Ambleside curriculum, I feel much more comfortable designing my own. Lillia will read many well-written, not-dumbed-down books. I am creating humanities “unit studies” based on various periods of history, and incorporating primary source literature as much as possible.

I feel very strongly that children should have access to primary sources when studying history. Professional historians use primary sources, not textbooks, for their work. If we want to stay true to the discipline, we should teach it the way professionals practice it. Also, children should be free to make their own connections and interpretations about the past. Simply memorizing names and dates does not make history meaningful.

We will also be combining the humanities unit with a science unit that is in some way connected. For example, during our first six weeks we will study Prehistory and Climate Change, which played a huge role in the development of human civilizations (people couldn’t really develop agriculture during the ice age…). This will ensure that Lillia learns modern science, but not in a void. She will learn the history of the science topics and why they are important today.

I have chosen to do the humanities units in chronological order because, as a history major, I find it completely illogical the way children learn history in school. They jump around between time periods, so everything is always out of context. There wouldn’t have been an Enlightenment without the Renaissance. There would be no U.S. History without the Enlightenment. See where I’m going with this? So, for the coming year, we’re going to cover Prehistory through Ancient Rome. If we decide to homeschool again next year, we’ll do the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment, which is a whole ton of stuff, especially because the closer we get to the present, the more cultures there are to study. And, each time period left more and more literature behind for us to read!

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