Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Clear-Your Shelves Curriculum Plan for Eliza for 3rd Grade

Unschooling has worked really well for us, but she seems to want to try something more structured. So, as I mentioned in my last post, I looted the piles of homeschooling stuff we have sitting around here, gathering dust. Holy crap! Isn't there a reality T.V. show called "Hoarders" or something like that? Have they aired a special homeschoolers' edition?

An embarrassment of riches ... or too much crap? My plan is to give Eliza the opportunity to use these materials throughout the year ... then pass them along to someone else!

I picked the topics based on what we have on hand and what I thought she and I would both like. She can freely choose whether to study any of these subjects.

Items we don''t own are in orange.

Math/Logic: I am a big believer in exploring math as the art of patterns, and as a way of finding beauty and order in the universe, rather than focusing too heavily on computation. I'm not saying computation isn't important. But I think learning about math in the way I suggested can broaden your thinking in so many ways, and you can buy a decent pocket calculator for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

A. The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas -- recommended for ages 9-12; it focuses on discovering math patterns -- includes 0s and 1s (binary numbers), fractals, infinity, Mobious strips, Pascal triangles, golden rectangles, paperfolding, tessellations, abacus, magic squares, tangrams, and more.

B. Miquon Math? -- I'm thinking about starting with the Blue Book.

Science: Learn about the different kinds of living things in the world and the various habitats in which they live; explore astronomy. Eliza's interests include animals and the habitats they live in and astronomy.

A. The Five Kingdoms of Life -- Resource: The Science of Life: Projects and Principles for Beginning Biologists by Frank G. Bottone, Jr. I bought this simple hands-on biology curriculum, recommended for ages 9+, years ago, hoping to entice River to do more science. It was never used, but it's a great resource.
  1. The Scientific Method
  2. Bacteria (Various activities to choose from, including growing a bacteria culture)
  3. Protozoans (Various activities to choose from, including viewing protozoa under a microscope)
  4. Fungus (Various activities to choose from, including cloning mushrooms)
  5. Plants (Various activities to choose from, including germinating seeds)
  6. Animals (Various activities to choose from, including studying insects and spiders)
B. More About Animals
  1. Usborne Pocket Nature -- Includes sections on wild animals, birds, fish, "creepy crawlies," butterflies, flowers, and trees.
  2. One Small Square: Backyard by Donald M. Silver, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne and Dianne Ettl (Seamus LOVED this series when he was younger) -- nature study in your own backyard
  3. My Nature Journal written and illustrated by Adrienne Olmstead -- This is a very cool resource which my dad gave us years ago. It's a hardcover journal with lots of prompts for nature study in various habitats and plenty of room for writing and drawing about your discoveries.
  4. 13 Phyla Sorting Cards -- These are intended for middle- and high-school students, and they seem to be meant for a specific kind of classroom activity. However, I can imagine us getting a lot out of these -- we could play Memory with them.
 C. Biomes/Habitats -- Resource: One Small Square Series by Donald M. Silver, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne:
  1. Woods
  2. Pond
  3. Swamp
  4. Seashore
  5. Coral Reef
  6. Tropical Rainforest
  7. African Savannah
  8. Cactus Desert
  9. Arctic Tundra
  10. Cave
D. Astronomy
  1. One Small Square: The Night Sky by Donald M. Silver, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne:
Social Studies: Learn about one part of history (American colonial times), which was partly an exodus from Europe of people seeking religious freedom, explore early Native American life, which includes a wealth of spirituality and folklore, and learn about religion and mythology. We've never explored history in depth before, and I'd be overjoyed if she caught a love of this subject, which has always been one of my favorites. We are not a very religious family, though I think of myself as "spiritual" and am fascinated by the subject of spirituality and faith. I think understanding this subject is essential to grasping so many other topics, including history, sociology, psychology, literature, art, and film. I hope to raise kids who will respect and appreciate various religions and spiritual paths, but who will never accept ANYTHING without questioning it with their own intellect. 

A. Native Americans
  1. Native American Games and Stories by James and Joseph Bruchac -- My dad gave us this terrific resource years ago. The stories and games are thematically tied together. For example, the section on Ball Games and Team Sports offers a Native American-inspired game of stickball and traditional story titled "The Ball Players in the Sky."
  2. More Than Moccasins by Laurie Carlson -- Lots of recipes, crafts and other activities for her to choose from.
  3. If You Lived With ... series: the Sioux Indians, the Indians of the Northwest Coast, the Hopi, the Iroquois, the Cherokee.
  4. American Girl series?

B. European Colonists in America
  1. American Pioneers and Patriots (Christian Liberty Press) -- This book has been collecting dust on my shelf for a long time, and it's a nice resource. It looks at early pioneers from Spain, England, Holland, and France and continues by exploring pioneers and immigrants during the move westward. Each section includes stories about children living in those times and places along with discussion questions and recommendations for hands-on activities.
  2. Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World by Laurie Carlson -- Lots of recipes, crafts and other activities for her to choose from.
  3. Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kris Bordessa -- Many more hands-on projects to pick from.
  4. You Wouldn't Want to Be An American Colonist: A Settlement You'd Rather Not Start by Jacqueline Morley, illustrated by David Antram and You Wouldn't Want to Sail on the Mayflower! A Trip That Took Entirely Too Long by Peter Cook, illustrated by Kevin Whelan -- Some of the nasty bits, with humorous illustrations.
  5. If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern, illustrated by June Otani -- Non-fiction picture book in Q & A format.
  6. American Girl series?
C. Religion, Faith and Mythology

1. Creation Stories --

2. The Early Mideast
  • The Quest of Gilgamesh retold and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman
  • The Revenge of Ishtar retold and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman
3. Classical Mythology
  • D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths and The Heroes by Charles Kingsley -- beloved books I saved from my own childhood.
  • Easy retelling of The Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne (series)
4. Native American Folklore
  • Dragonfly's Tale by Kristina Rodanas
  • Peboan and Seegwun by Charles Larry
  • Miro in the Kingdom of the Sun by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by David Frampton
  • Snail Girl Brings Water: A Navajo Story by Geri Keams, illustrated by Richard Ziehler-Martin
  • The Flute Player: An Apache Folktale by Michael Lacapa
  • Coyote and the Laughing Butterflies by Harriet Peck Taylor
  • Coyote Places the Stars by Harriet Peck Taylor
  • Turquoise Boy: A Navajo Legend by Terri Cohlene, illustrated by Charles Reasoner
  • Ka-ha-si and the Loon: An Eskimo Legend by Terri Cohlene, illustrated by Charles Reasoner
  • Why the North Star Stands Still and Other Indian Legends by William R. Palmer
5. Folklore from Other Parts of the World ?

6. Hinduism ?

7. Buddhism
  • Buddha by Demi
  • Buddha Stories by Demi
  • The Dalai Lama by Demi
8. Judaism ?

9. Christianity
  • Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
  • The Parables of Jesus by Tomie de Paola
  • The Miracles of Jesus by Tomie de Paola
10. Islam ?


A. Child-Size Masterpieces by Aline D. Wolf -- I spent a lot of money on this, years ago, when I was on a Montessori kick. This is targeted toward a younger audience, but it can be adapted.  Have you ever known me to use ANY resource in exactly the way it was intended?

B. Artistic Techniques to Explore -- How Artists Use ... series by Paul Flux
  • Color
  • Line and Tone
  • Shape
  • Pattern and Texture
  • Perspective
C. More Resources
  • Usborne -- The Children's Book of Art: An Introduction to Famous Paintings and The Usborne Book of Art: A Complete Introduction for Beginners by Rosie Dickens -- Lovely resources to browse or use for reference.
  • Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime! by Anna Nilsen -- Very cool!
  • Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
Read Alouds to Consider -- I pulled most of these titles from the Sonlight catalog
  • Third Grade Detectives Series
  • Along Came a Dog by Meindert De Jong -- 5th grade reading level --  stray dog earns a home for himself by protecting a little red hen and her chicks from a preying hawk.
  • "B" is for Betsy Series by Carolyn Haywood
  • Betsy and Tacy Series
  • The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
  • Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary -- 6th grade reading level -- Emily Bartlett is a fourth-grader growing up in Pitchfork, Oregon, who helps bring a library to the small town.
  • Encyclopedia Brown Series
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements -- 5th grade reading level -- When Nick Allen decides to turn his fifth-grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, he cleverly invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control.
  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes -- 6th grade reading level -- The disappearance of a new puppy named Ginger and the appearance of a mysterious man in a mustard yellow hat bring excitement into the lives of the Pye children. 
  • Henry Huggins Series by Beverly Cleary
  • A Llama in the Family by Johanna Hurwitz -- 4th grade reading level -- Adam is surprised with a llama, rather than the bike he really wanted for his birthday.
  • Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry -- 5th grade reading level -- A breed of wild horses inhabit an island, and one is befriended and tamed by the love of two children.
  • Mouse and the Motorcycle Series by Beverly Cleary
  • Socks by Beverly Cleary -- 5th grade reading level -- The comfortable cat's life for tabby Socks is disrupted by the arrival of a new baby in the owner's home.
  • The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill -- 5th grade reading level -- Rufus Mayflower learns about making toothpaste, forming a corporation, and earning lots of money.
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan -- 3rd grade reading level -- In this loving story of a motherless family, a tall, plain woman comes to stay with them.
  • Half Magic by Edward Eager -- 5th grade reading level -- Four children spending their summer in a city apartment enjoy a series of fantastic adventures by double-wishing on an ancient coin.
  • From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Koingsburg -- 4th grade reading level -- Claudia and her brother Jamie run away from home and take up residence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • The Chalk Box Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla -- 2nd grade reading level -- Nine-year-old Gregory's house does not have room for a garden, so he creates one in a surprising place.
  • Clara and the Bookwagon by Nancy Levinson -- 2nd grade reading level -- Clara's dream of enriching her rough life on the family farm is fulfilled when a horse-drawn book wagon visits with the country's first traveling library.
  • Cora Frear by Susan Goodman -- 3rd grade reading level -- Cora Frear travels over the prairie with her physician father who makes house calls. But one day there is a prairie fire and they must struggle to save their lives.
  • Jake Drake Series
  • Keep the Lights Burning, Abby by Peter Roop -- 2nd grade reading level -- In the winter of 1856, a storm delays the lighthouse keeper's return to an island off the coast of Maine, and his daughter Abbie must keep the lights burning by herself. The coauthor is Connie Roop.
  • The Littles Series
  • The Long Way to the New Land by Joan Sandin -- 2nd grade reading level -- Story of a Swedish family traveling to America in 1868.
  • The Long Way Westward by Joan Sandin -- 2nd grade reading level -- This book relates the experiences of two young brothers and their family, immigrants from Sweden, from their arrival in New York through the journey to their new home in Minnesota.
  • The Paint Brush Kid by Clyde Robert Bulla -- 2nd grade reading level -- Nine-year-old Gregory paints pictures representing the life of the Mexican American old man known as Uncle Pancho and attempts to save his house.
  • Prairie School by Avi -- 3rd grade reading level -- In 1880, Noah's aunt teaches the reluctant nine-year-old how to read as they explore the Colorado prairie together, Noah pushing Aunt Dora in her wheelchair.
  • Prairie School by Lois Lenski -- 4th grade reading level -- This book is the story of things that did or could have happened in a one-room rural school on the prairie of South Dakota.
  • Tippy Lemmey by Patricia McKissack -- 3rd grade reading level -- Tippy Lemmey is no ordinary dog. Not only is he the only dog Leandra, Paul, and Jeannie have ever met with a first and a last name, he's a living, breathing monster!
  • Tornado by Betsy Byars -- 3rd grade reading level -- As they wait out a tornado in their storm cellar, a family listens to their farmhand tell stories about the dog that was blown into his life by another tornado when he was a boy.


Gleamer said...

What an amazing treasure trove of materials. Though it sure does sound like unschooling to your child resources and opportunities and letting them choose which to use. After reading though each subject description, I'm wondering if you would like to teach one of them at Raw Learning. 11 weeks of consistency. :)

Susan said...

Sounds like a very full plan :) I have tons of stuff around that we're not using, too. I periodically look through and see if there's stuff we should pass on to someone else, or if we might actually use it someday.
Unschooling is really all about doing what works for each kid, so if Eliza needs more structure and you're working out a plan to provide what she wants, then it's still unschooling!! :)
Looks like lots of fun learning ahead!!

Karen said...

Sounds like a year full of great learning! We could pull tons from what we had too. As much as Kei likes the idea of unschooling she likes more structure too! I can't wait to hear all about your days next year!

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