A colleague of mine through the Schoolhouse Review Crew (Marcy at Ben and Me) has done a “Blogging Through the Alphabet” series several times now, and I’ve never remembered to start when she’s back at “A.” She’s since decided not to do the series, but I think it’s a great idea, so I’m going to give it a go. Alphabet posts will happen once a week in addition to anything else I have to write about that particular week and may or may not relate to each other. Some will be about our homeschooling journey, some will be recipes, and some will simply my thoughts for the week. Enjoy!
So . . . A is for Armadillo. Pretty random, no? Not for our home this week. We just started a unit study on Wild Animals: Small Mammals (from the set of My First Reports by Hewitt Homeschooling) in our homeschool, and the first animal we’re studying is armadillos.
Here’s what’s on tap for this week of our study.
First thing each morning, we do our non-unit-study lessons. These include grammar, math, reading, and Bible. By the time we finish all of these, it’s typically lunchtime, so we take a break. After lunch, we dive into our unit study. Because it’s our first week on this study, things are a little rough, but I know they’ll come together as we get the hang of it. (The year before last we did tons of unit studies. I didn’t realize until I joined the Schoolhouse Review Crew that such a way of learning and teaching had a name and was a “legitimate” way of doing school. Now that we’ve done a full year of a different way of learning, and had lots of experience with a variety of curricula, I know how my boys like to learn and I can embrace that instead of feeling like it’s inadequate.) Using a lot of the ideas from the Hewitt reports, and some of my own, I’ve developed a course of action for our unit study on wild animals.
On Monday, we read a legend about an armadillo. I found The Armadillo’s Song online and read it aloud to the boys. Then I read Armadillo Trail to them. This is an absolutely beautiful book about the life cycle of an armadillo. The illustrations are breathtaking, and the story, while fictional, has a lot of really good information about armadillos in it. In fact, every single question from the My First Report was answered in this one book. Love that! While I read it, the boys listened for the answers to the questions and wrote them down as we came to them.
I had stuff planned for Tuesday, but we had some other items come up, so we didn’t work on our armadillo study this day.
Today (Wednesday), we’ll start our Small Mammals lap book. I have all sorts of plans for this; by the end of our unit study, it’s going to be a massive lap book! I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. I can’t remember off the top of my head all the things I plan to include in it, but I’ll make sure to share it in a few weeks when we’re all done with this unit study.
In addition to the books we read and the lap book we’ll create, they boys are each doing a report on each animal; an acrostic poem for each animal; a “find words within the word” activity for each animal; and a US map with pictures of each animal (either cut from magazines or printed from the internet) in the area of the country where that animal lives.
So that’s how we’re tackling the unit study itself. Now, since “A is for Armadillo,” what have we learned about armadillos so far this week? Lots! First of all, the variety of armadillo we have in the United States can’t actually roll up into a ball. The ones we have are 9-banded armadillos (which is a deceiving name – they can actually have anywhere from 6 to 11 bands); only the 3-banded armadillos from South America can roll up. We learned that armadillos have long, sticky tongues that allow them to capture bugs to eat. And, one of the most interesting things that I found (as a mother) is that armadillos almost always have quadruplets. That’s right – quadruplets. Not just four pups at a time, but identical quads. They can occasionally have three or five babies, but it’s usually four, and they’re all the same gender.
Have a great rest of the week!