One of the wonderful things that has been happening here at the Homeschool Den is the amount of independent work the kids have been doing. DD is always asking to learn more about animals so at the beginning of the semester, I downloaded Erica’s wonderful Expedition Earth: Discovering God’s Animals over at Confessions of a Homeschooler. It is a free animal unit study. Erica has made animal mini-books for close to thirty different countries and regions. She has two options available to download. One set of mini-books has information that can be traced. The other set (not pictured below) has blank lines so the kids can do their own research.
ED and DD were very, very excited by these and immediately set to work on making their own booklets. ED has the tracing bookslets. DD chose to copy some of the sentences (from ED’s booklets) and has been doing her own research on other animals that excite and pique her interest.
Here’s a few pictures of DD doing research and making her own pamphlets. She’s been heading straight to the homeschool room to get started on this each morning!
Pretty soon LD became interested in doing some research as well. I printed out some sheets for him and he immediately started researching the Pangolin of China. Right! I hadn’t heard of it before either!! He decided instead of making booklets, though, that he would make trading cards to make for his friends. He researched several animals, carefully wrote them up and had me laminate them. He gave one to his friend, N, and another to M. (I’m kicking myself because I didn’t get pictures before he gave them away… just the one he kept for himself.) He was very proud of his work! I had absolutely nothing to do with his work and it involved (gasp) writing!
Meanwhile, the kids became interested in some dollar animal cards that I had tucked away in a cupboard. I bought them at Target some time back, but never found a good use for them. The kids did! They decided to make them into an elaborate game. First, they divvied up the cards.
Then they studied the cards carefully and divided them into Fighters, Scouts, Spies and Food cards. They carefully looked at the information on the back of their cards. I heard things like this (I furiously took notes as I eavesdropped!!!):
“The Blue Merlin is a battler. He can kill mackerel, tuna and will even dive for squid. It’s the biggest, fasted fish in the world and has snout spears. Yes, it’s a fighter.”
“The chicken should be a scout. Maybe it could even scout without a head for a while.” (I told them once about a Mike the chicken that lived for 18 months without a head!)
“The road runner is a spy. Yup, it’s fast so it’ll make a good spy.”
“Animals like oysters and earthworms that don’t do anything are food cards. They’ll give power to the fighters.”
Apparently the game then was a great success!! I went off to do other things as they battled, but they reported that it was great fun.
Meanwhile, ED who lost interest in the animal battle game took the cards to her desk and started to draw.
Anyway, I am really amazed at the amount of learning and excitement the kids have had… And all of this was self-directed, independent learning!
Thank you to Erica over at Confessions of a Homeschooler for allowing me to post the collage of pictures above. Be sure to visit Erica’s site for other great resources as well… like her Letter of the Week program for tots, a K4 programs for older preschoolers, great artists, world composers, literature units and much more!
You might be interested in our Animal Packet: