Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review, Part One

Yesterday Aidyn and I reviewed "universe month" by reading some space books including The Aliens Are Coming and Amazing Space. Aidyn pointed out planets, stars, the sun, the moon, and some of the planets. Later he watched The Magic School Bus: Space Adventures, one of his favorite MSB shows. Because of our universe unit study, Aidyn was introduced to space and life outside our home planet. He became familiarized with terms and images related to the universe and learned many things for the first time. This was also the month where we focused on the letter A and the color black, specifically.

From this particular unit study, Aidyn learned:
-the names of the eight planets and their individual characteristics
-the occupation of astronauts
-that the sun is a large gas-ball that heats our planet
-that our moon "revolves" around the earth and "changes" shapes
-how to identify certain planets
-that Pluto used to be called a planet but has recently been demoted to dwarf planet status
-how to identify stars
-how to imagine what may be going on in space and on other planets
-how to identify the letter A and that 'Aidyn' starts with an A.
-how to further identify the color black
-space-related words and ideas (i.e. gravity, asteroid, meteor)

When I first began this unit study homeschooling program, I intended to weave letters, numbers, and other such items in our themes, but found them too structured for Aidyn's readiness level. There were times where we tested out handwriting, but he wasn't ready for it. So I aimed to get away from rote learning for the time being. I discovered that I did not want him to memorize facts either, but instead I wanted him to be inspired to think. Thus, our focus became the themed unit studies and the goal was to ignite a level of interest and excitement with the subject so that when we return to it, it's with fond memories. Through our fun books, videos, baking of the Mars cake, trip to Discovery Museum, and night sky viewings, I believe we accomplished that. Next year I may try formalized subjects, but I am in no hurry. Instead of handwriting, he has instead spent lots of time coloring, smooshing and molding Play-Doh, handling utensils, and picking and plucking rocks and sticks outside as a fun way of developing his finger-hand coordination. Overall, this month proved to teach us so much in terms of the study and Aidyn's learning needs and style. The subject of the universe will definitely be revisited sometime in the future.

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