this was the first study unit we did under the new "plan" i put together for ella this year. it was an unconditional HIT.
the story she was most interested in when we were choosing was the myth of daedalus and icarus, which is actually from the 2nd grade core knowledge book, but we had not covered it yet. as always, there were more possibilities than we could fit into a single week! editing is always my weak point :) so i made a list of everything we COULD do, then each day i chose what we WOULD do based on what appealed to her most or what seemed appropriate given the weather, our existing schedule, our energy level that day, etc.--trusting that that the story and the activities themselves were rich enough to provide plenty of learning without any additional "enrichment".
the story of daedalus and icarus from bulfinch's mythology (a little past the middle of the page, beginning at the part titled "Daedalus", and ending "and hung up his wings, an offering to the god."). i read the story to her once a day, and sometimes more upon request, for five days.
also available in downloadable format for various reading devices at the gutenburg project.
social studies: ella wanted to know about the land that was named for icarus--ikaria (sometimes spelled "icaria"). after quite a search we finally located the island of ikaria on the map, learned some history, and made a small flag to start our flag bunting.
ella's embellishment is on the back--a prayer for the people of ikaria. this has become a tradition for her with each flag we've made.
vocabulary: on a printout of the story from bulfinch i let ella mark each word that she was not familiar with.
next i let her choose a word to look up in the dictionary, i showed her how to look things up alphabetically, and had her make a file card for that word. she figured out how to look up words with just one demonstration, and enjoyed this project so much that she worked for almost THREE HOURS the first time, just writing out vocabulary cards.
then i showed her how to file them in the card box, so now she has her own custom vocabulary list. on the back of each card i made note of where she first encountered that word, and my hope is that as she finds each one in other stories she will remember and be able to add to the list of stories and books on the back.
math: i think this is where this belongs. :) we learned to make a labyrinth! mystery labyrinth has a brilliant explanation of how to make a simple classical labyrinth, which we practiced on paper several times.
and most fun of all, we made our own labyrinth in the yard! (hint: one, 5-lb. bag of flour is not enough). ella and i are considering how we can make this a permanent feature of our home landscape.
sprinkling flour to make the path:
walking the labyrinth:
visual art: bruegal's painting "landscape with the fall of icarus" (seen at the top of this post). an excellent printable image of this painting is available by clicking the image at the wikipedia site.
another good printable is available at the artchive website (click the image viewer).
question ella came away with after studying the picture: " how come icarus' wings melted and he fell into the sea but the sun was so low in the sky?"
music: we listened to reconstructions of ancient greek music using reconstructed instruments, and to examples of homeric singing, both available online from the commission for ancient literature and latin tradition.
we don't "study" music, we listen to it and think about it and spend some deliberate time with it but we don't "do" a lot with it. appreciating it seems worthy enough a goal to me.
science: we have a small collection of bird feathers that i had ella sort according to whatever made sense to her, then had her explain the various arrangements she had chosen (the purpose here is to observe, sort, categorize, describe, reexamine, and reinterpret). her categories were:
size and shape:
and animal--they all come from birds!:
ella's principle science question: "how come if you go high up on mountains it is cold enough to snow, but if you fly high up in the sky it is hot enough to melt wax?".
thus offering us a chance to investigate issues of temperature at different altitudes.
science stuff we looked at but didn’t “study”:
serendipity: there is always serendipity. :)
- the evening after we looked up ikaria and read about the history of the island, the daily show happened to do a segment on the recent economic unrest in greece. most of it was over ella's head but she did recognize the flag! she was so excited, because now this place was REAL and she could see regular people there. happy.
- a few days later we found this image from NASA’s astronomy picture of the day, taken on the island of ikaria.
all in all, this was a fun, easy unit and i am thrilled to have found something so simple that so readily meets her needs and desires!
*how is school (home or other place) going for your children? what particularly is working for them or for you?