We have two weeks left of our first summer break. Summer Science looms before us in all its glory. We enjoy breaks, but we all always look forward to getting back into the school groove. For me, it’s two parts getting a few hours of my Littles’ undivided attention and one part getting to play around with knowledge. I think it’s probably the same for the Littles.
I am super stoked about this summer. It’s going to be a little less undivided attention and a little more independent work, but I think it is going to rock their socks off. See, I love me a good research paper. I know, I’m Freaking Weird, but there is nothing more enjoyable to me than delving into the bookshelves (and these days the ol’ interweb) and learning everything I can about a topic. I never got less than an A on a research paper, not even in college, because I Enjoy Them So Much I put in 200% effort. Don’t you love to Know? Everything? What better way to do that than to research a topic to death?
I think that’s why I enjoy writing all our curricula myself–I get to do research! Stop throwing things at me. You know it rocks.
Anyhoo, this summer we are combining research writing with our summer science class. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve come up with a plan I really crush on, and I wanted to share it with you. So here’s what I did:
Gathering Science Topics
I got out a bunch of our science books and thumbed through them. Every time a topic caught my eye, I added it to a list. I don’t want them to just concentrate on one branch of science this summer, so I chose 1 book from every branch I could think of. It looked something like this–
Don’t you just love books? Look at all that information, just begging to be known. I heart this stuff, big time.
So I went through the books and chose random topics that I could list in just a few words. Then I made a table so I could cut the topics out in strips.
This is the first page. I ended up with 4 pages. Here’s why. I’m going to cut all these topics out and put them in a mason jar. For the first week of school, we are going to learn how to research and research 1 topic together so the Littles get the hang of it. Then each week for the next 6 weeks, the Littles will each pull 2 strips from the jar on Monday. They will look at the topics and decide which of the two is most interesting to them. Then they will spend the week researching the subject and writing a report to turn in on Friday.
O. M. G. I hope they love it as much as I love the idea. By the way, click on that pic of the list–it’s a free download for subscribers! That way if you decide you like the idea, you don’t have to thumb through all your science books. I’ve already done it for you!
And Other Refinements
This is going to be the Best Summer Ever. Not only are we doing a really cool science class, I have decided (thanks to a yard sale I stopped at over the weekend) to introduce my Littles to my hands-down the best book about the Arthurian legends ever written. (You know I know–I own over 100 books about King Arthur and Merlin and I have read them all. This one takes the prize.) Why because of a yard sale? They had a copy for practically free, which means I don’t have to break out the well-read copy I’ve had for nearly 30 years and risk anything happening to it. A hardcover, 1st edition, 1970 copy identical to mine without the wear. It even had the dust jacket! Whaaa?
If you’ve never read Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave (and the other books in the series), go get a copy now. It is an historically accurate look at the time period with an absolutely gorgeous retelling of Merlin’s story. Yeah, this one recounts Merlin’s childhood and all the stuff that leads up to his doings with the famous mythical king. Did I mention it’s gorgeous? This book has the stuff.
Also, I got that cool spelling book on the cheap and I think we’ll go through it as part of summer school. The Littles are both good spellers, but I think it will be a cool look at the Language of English. You get me? I heart finding books like that–not run-of-the-mill textbook terribles, but interesting ways to learn a subject with a little fun. It’s not really for the spelling. It’s for the Understanding. Painless Spelling is a guide to spelling rules and patterns of the English language (which we all know has so may rule-breakers in it, it almost counts as not having rules at all.) It breaks down the rules we can work with, and I think it will be interesting for the Littles to learn.
I love homeschool. I crush so hard on this stuff it hurts. I hope my Littles love this summer as much as I will. Surely a teacher with this much passion on a subject can impart a little love to her students. Right?
Ha. Wish me luck, my friends!