This week we started a new unit study on healthy eating. I got some information and neat lesson plans from mypyramid.gov. I printed out the "Go Fish" cards in black and white and my boys colored them on Monday. It was really funny to be going about my work and answering their questions like, "Mom, what color is papaya?" and "What color are collared greens?" They glued the papers on construction paper and cut out the cards on Tuesday. That day we also looked at the new Food Pyramid.
If you have not seen the new pyramid, it is quite interesting. (I am not able to use my apostrophe key on my keyboard right now–sorry for the lack of contractions in my writing!) There are 6 groups: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Oils, Milk ,and Meat & Beans. So, the kids will be learning which foods go into which category and how much of each food they should be eating. Last week I started including a vegetable every night for dinner. I usually do not serve them to the kids because I know they will not eat them. But I know they will never eat them if they never get the opportunity! So, we have had baby carrots (with honey dip); broccoli and potatoes (with cheese sauce); red pepper slices, yellow pepper slices and sugar snap peas (with ranch dressing). I will just keep offering and serving them. Hopefully it will work!
I checked out a neat book from the library called Food and Nutrition by Janice VanCleave. It has short chapters and an easy science experiment for each lesson. Today we read about the 6 nutrients found in food that our body needs (water, carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals) and about dehydration. Our science experiment was to put a plastic bag over their bare foot for 10 minutes and see the sweat causing condensation on the inside of the bag. This was to show them how our bodies are 50-70% water and that water comes out of our pores.
Another unit study I started this week was on birds. We checked out a Bird Discovery Pack from the library. It included some binoculars and a few books about birds. We also have some other binoculars and bird guides. So, as soon as the weather is warmer, we will head out to a forest preserve and see what we can find. I will try to get together the materials so they can start sketching for a nature notebook. I really want to do this!
Another thing I am going to do for the bird unit study is organize all the bird sounds that I have from my Musikgarten teaching CDs. We will listen and identify all the bird sounds. I think I have the sounds of robin, bluejay, crow, duck, goose, 2 woodpeckers, 2 owls, mockingbird, meadowlark, cardinal, and chickadee–maybe more. I am sure we will add some crafts and maybe make a lapbook or at least a simple notebook. We will take a "field trip" to a Wild Bird store and pet store, too!
In our other schooling, we have been doing the following:
Bible: reading Luke and Joshua; Leading Little Ones to God; memorizing all books of Bible, verses from each book up through Esther, the Lords Prayer and the Ten Commandments.
Phonics: My 6 yo has memorized all phonograms from TATRAS. My 5 yo has memorized about 75% of it. Each day they read aloud to me from McGuffey or Rod and Staff readers. I need to get some more at the Homeschool Conference next month!
Handwriting: We are doing Handwriting Without Tears. I really need to get more diligent with their handwriting so we can move onto copywork.
Read-Alouds: I finished "The Golden Goblet" which we read during our study of ancient Egypt. Then I read "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (it is nothing like the movie!). My husband has been going through the Chroncles of Narnia and is up to the 6th book (Magicians Nephew). Now I am reading the Janice VanCleave Food and Nutrition book. I also read a poem everyday from "A Childs Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson.
History: We started with the beginning of the world back in September and are now up to the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites (from the book of Joshua). I have been reading from Egermeiers Story Bible and Story of the World (Bauer). I have a feeling we will take another year before we get to the end of the Roman Empire. I am expecting to go through history chronologically and then start over again. It will probably take 6 years or so to get through it all! History was always rushed for me and we never made it past World War II in either high school or college! So, I plan to go slowly and enjoy it with my kids.
Silent Reading: My eldest is now reading alone as well. He has read every story Bible we have, Dr. Dolittle, Charlottes Web, and I have encouraged him to start reading the Gospel of John in NIV.
Other: We continue to do Musikgarten classes with all kids, violin lessons with the eldest (but will probably start with my 5 yo soon), Signing Time videos for sign language, The Easy Spanish (just listening to the CDs). Math is thrown in whenever we experience it! We will be doing some graphs and other math with the food and nutrition unit study.
Wow. I see many similarities in our teaching styles. I love doing unit studies, and I have used several of the books you mentioned too. Leading Little Ones to God was key when the kids were younger, and I have often referred to Janice Van Cleave's books for science ideas.
Nutrition is especially near to my heart at present, as I'm changing my eating habits in order to lose some weight. Sounds like you're doing lots of interesting schooling. Blessings on you all.
I have wanted to do a nutrition unit but never did much. I kept getting discouraged with them not wanting to eat anything new. I am looking forward to Farmer's Market and fresh veggies to try– at least Jesse will.