Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Change of Pace

After a few days of pondering, I decided yesterday that the kids and I would take a little detour from our usual lesson plans and do a unit study on the Olympics.  For those of you not familiar with a unit study, it has a main focal point (in this case, the Olympics) and every area of study is centered around that focal point.  So for the next month, all of our history, geography, handwriting, read-alouds and more will be about the Olympics (I think I'm still going to have to sneak in some Math for Benjamin to complete the lessons).

I'm so pumped!  It will be a great change of pace and add some excitement to this time of the year when reasons to take a break from school do not appear in abundance.  Besides, I pretty well have our noses to the grindstone because I'm pondering a change in next year's school schedule, and I need to have us finished with this year by the end of May in order for it to all work.

I had a hard time making the final decision to jump off and try this unit study.  For one, I've never done one before and wasn't sure what to expect.  Also, I'm VERY Type A and a perfectionist to boot, so structure and a plan is extremely high on my priority list.  Besides, if I do this unit study, what on earth do I do with the four weeks of lesson plans that we would have been doing otherwise?!?!?!  (my personality is exploding out of this paragraph!)

I was talking to God about this yesterday morning and asking Him to give me the guidance to know whether to do this or not (all the while wondering if He really cared whether we did an Olympics unit study or not).  As I was writing my prayer about this (yes, I am one of those that writes out my prayers in a journal...key word: FOCUS), God was answering me at the same time.  This is what he put on my heart:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3.5-6
(It just so happens that was the kids' memory verse just two weeks ago, so it was fresh on my mind...guess it wasn't just for the kids.) 

I know this decision wasn't rocket science, but as a homeschool mom, any decision regarding their education is not taken lightly.  And God showed me that He does in fact care about the little details of my day, even regarding a change of pace in our homeschool life.  Peace immediately flooded over me, and my mind went to work getting us ready to start this study.

Today, the kids made folders in which to keep all their Olympics-related work.  We talked about the start of the Olympic games in Greece (did you know the early Olympians wore nothing but maybe a layer of oil when they competed??), made drawings of the country and flag of Greece, looked at the temperature and weather conditions in Vancouver (43 degrees and light drizzle), talked about what it means to play fairly, read about an Olympic runner back in the 1920's and his good sportsmanship, and practiced our handwriting by writing Psalm 139.14 (I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful).

Our plans for future days and weeks include making a chart to keep track of the medal count, learning about different countries with athletes competing in the Olympics, talking about notable athletes of the past, and much MUCH more!  I think this will be a shot in the arm for us and will make watching the Olympics that much more exciting.  I'll try to do more posts on the things we are doing and learning as we attempt our first unit study!!

(In case you are interested, I got my unit study here.  No, I did not make it up myself!  I do have a life, you know!)

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