I'm proud of some of the big things we have accomplished since we began our school year. One of those is our study of mammals - which I tried to tailor to my nine and six year old so we could learn together.
In August we began reading The Burgess Animal Book for Children. Originally I had purchased the book because it is a part of Ambleside Online's curriculum - and we do use parts of that in our homeschool. A few times a week we read a chapter in the book. I must say, my children always ask me to read more and have gained so much from this sweet book. I read it aloud to them and the short chapters (about 15 minutes each) kept my little one's interest, and the detail in the chapters kept my nine year old very interested as well.
While I ordered the physical copy of the book, you can download your own copy for free, read it straight from the internet, get your own free audio download, or download your own free version for the iPad or Kindle (just search the iPad and Kindle stores for that). (By the way -- there are many other Burgess books for free download out there, and I can't wait to explore some more!)
The narrator of the book is Mother Nature, and each day she conducts "school" to instruct the animals around her about the mammals of North America. Each mammal gets a cute name and persona, which really helped my children to remember them. Now, when we see a certain animal out in the real world my kids will say "There goes Johhny Chuck!" or "Do you think that's Chatterer the Red Squirrel?" I LOVE IT! The scientific classification is an added bonus, and while my children remembered some of that, I didn't feel it was of utmost importance. At this age I just wanted them to soak up a general knowledge of the mammals of North America and enjoy learning about them. We accomplished this goal!
Some days I would print out coloring sheets from the internet about mammals we learned about, and other days I would just let my son build Legos or blocks while he listened. I'm finding that he's ALWAYS listening, even when I think he's not!
This week we are reading the last chapter in the book, and then will be watching a video, a DK Eyewitness Mammal DVD, which I got from our library.
I think it will be a perfect way to wrap up our study, and in these weeks before Christmas it's nice to relax a little. We've been doing the crafty thing and baking, too -- but quite honestly I just like activities with low prep on my part and high interest and learning on the kids' part!
If you wanted to make this a totally independent study you could download the audio and let your children listen in the car or during quiet times over a period of months, then let them wrap up with the video at the end. I'm all about instructing my children, but I'm trying to get more "hands off" activities for my own sanity!
I hope you can use this resource as you plan for the New Year!