Seasonal Stories, Holiday Themes and Unit-Studies as a Springboard for Reading
© Beverley Paine, 2004
One of the easiest ways to homeschool is to build your learning program around unit-studies. Books play a huge role in a unit-study approach. Using books in this way introduces them to your children as a learning resource - they are a powerful medium for communicating information.
A visit to the library with a theme or topic in mind can harvest dozens of books of all types; reference books, picture books, story books, movies, documentaries, myths and legends, true accounts, biographies, how-to and practical books, and books on tape. Interest-based learning is exceptionally efficient. Let a child run with their interest as far as she wants to, but don't take over; remember, it's her interest!
Using a mind-map it is a relatively easy process to design a unit-study that encompasses every area of learning, based on the material you've collected from the library alone. That's just the start! Add ideas and activities from the Internet and other homeschooling friends and a few excursions and you will be kept busy for at least a couple of weeks.
Reading skills are used way beyond reading from books in any educational program. It is worth remembering that your child will be reading lists, labels, instructions, directions and more as she moves about her daily homeschooling life. Writing is a great way to further develop reading skills - as is talking about reading, writing, listening and speaking, and what you are doing as you do it. All too often we forget that conversing is the earliest form of communication, and the most effective, judging by how much a child learns in her first five years!
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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