In anticipation for our home schooling adventure, I was the most concerned about social studies and science. These were my least favorite subjects when I was in school and so I feel my background is pretty weak in these areas. In preparation for this year, I did a lot of praying…A LOT! And, this is why I had to chuckle when the Lord told me to focus my attention on science/social studies and that math/language arts would take care of themselves.
Well, wouldn’t you know it. The Lord was right!
Though I still feel a little uncomfortable and stretchy in the science department, social studies has come along really well. In our first six week session, we did a unit on US Symbols. We covered the US flag, bald eagle, Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty. It was a lot of fun, Mason and 3-year old Madison picked up more than I realized and they are ready to find and visit US landmarks.
Our most recent social studies unit covered community helpers. I knew I could use the mass of wealth on the web to pull together many activities for several different community jobs/helpers. However, I was running out of steam! A lot was going on in life, and I just needed to find something already made for me. So the search began. I’m telling you, there is so much out there! Thankfully, after not much searching I found a great unit put together by Travis Hutchins for sale on his teacherspayteachers.com store.
I am extremely picky about what units/curriculum I pay for, and I highly recommend this Community Helpers unit. It is very thorough, with just the right amount of information about 10 different community helpers. Each community helper comes with good information, a great song, and wonderful cross-curricula activities.
For an example of the cross-curricula activities, when studying the veterinarian we sorted animals into three classifications – pet, zoo, farm. This is a great science classifying activity and the kids loved it.
While learning about the librarian, the activity to go along with it is to make a reading tree. A leaf is added to the tree each time Mason reads a book to me, his little sister, his dad, grandparents, etc. You notice that our tree’s leaves have started turning colors for fall, Mason’s idea.
There are mazes and learning sheets to fill out for each helper. A large teacher book can be printed, as well as a smaller student book that can be colored and used to follow along. A page poster of each helper with a teacher page that can be printed on the back is also included. Again, this unit is very thorough and completely worth it.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I found a great freebie over at Mama’s Learning Corner on building your own town! So, I went out and purchased a cheap white shower curtain from the dollar store and Masonville was born. Every time we studied a community helper, identified the building where that person would work, then he would color it and place it in his town. This was a great motivator. There were mornings that he spent an hour or more working on his town.
All in all, we had a great time with this unit. We studied two to three helpers a week, and took approximately four weeks total to complete. Field trips to police stations, fire stations, libraries, etc can easily be worked into this unit as well. We did not do that this year, but I’m sure we will in years to come.