LEARN TO TELL A GOOD FISH STORY
Our son started his fish study unit this week as part of his 4th grade science with the Ron Paul Curriculum. So far the science course has been perfect for him. In order to fully understand how perfect this curriculum has been for him, you have to know one thing. Our son LOVES to fish. Absolutely loves it. He dreams about fishing and catching the big one. He has trouble sleeping the night before a lake trip because he can’t stop thinking about fishing. And waterskiing. But that’s another story for another day.
My in-laws have a “lake place”. The kids love it there. There’s tons of fishing, water sports, playing with cousins, and time with their grandparents. I love it there because it’s relaxing and beautiful, and because my mother-in-law makes the best cobblers EVER. So it’s a win-win for everyone.
While we are all really liking our curriculum choice for this year, one thing that has been a bit hard for me about it is that it’s not mom/teacher-centric. Some days I feel like I’m missing out on being as intrinsically involved in their learning as I have been in the past. Of course, that has also been really good for me as well.
And it’s been good for them too. This new curriculum has hit both of our children where they needed it. Our daughter has been able to move forward at a quicker pace than she can when she’s waiting for me to wrap things up with little brother so I can go over lessons with her. And our son has become more independent and has honestly been stretched a bit academically, which has been great.
MORE MEAT, BUT STILL MORE BEAUTY
I follow several moms and creatives on Instagram that develop and use some absolutely amazing science and nature learning tools for younger children. I find myself wanting to buy every product in every beautiful picture I see. But I know that in some ways we are past that point in childhood and are ready for more meat in our learning.
Yet as our son started this fish unit I started thinking that gaining more “meat” I don’t want to lose beauty.
I really don’t want to lose beauty.
The belief that the LORD God created our world and all that is in it is central to who we are as a family.
It’s this belief that has sustained us through learning and playing, through nature walks and living books. It’s this belief that I want to be so careful to continue to cultivate even when their learning gets more bookish and less playful in some ways.
I believe our world is beautiful, so very beautiful. The animals, the weather, the land formations, all of it. And I believe it can all teach us so much about the mind and the nature of its Creator.
So while my kids love their new curriculum and they have great teachers who bring in great resources like videos, art lessons, and wonderful stories, I still want to bring in tangible spots of beauty to their days.
Now that we’re more used to the curriculum and I want to add back into our lives more living books, more nature walks. More beauty.
I don’t want to overwhelm what we’re already doing or detract from it, but simply to augment their learning and help make it deeper and even more joyful.
So fish. I’m going to start with fish. Those lovely, little slippery creatures that I don’t like to touch (or to have touch me when I’m swimming in the lake), but that give our son such cause for delight.
MAKING FISH BEAUTIFUL
So here are some of the ways I’m planning to add more beauty to our fish unit. I think my list is a bit much so we may not get to all of these ideas, but we’ll enjoy whatever we do.
The Audobon Society Field Guide to Fishes—somehow we still don’t have this field guide in our library so it’s definitely time to fix that now.
The Heron and the Fish by Percy Graham—simply because a heron stole away with one of the biggest fish my son caught this summer so hopefully this will be funny. (He’s still a tad mad at the heron!)
The Life Cycle of Fish by Darlene R. Stille
The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway—I’m thinking of using this as a read aloud.
Bible Reading: The book of Jonah
Just a quick note on books–my philosophy is always to search our own bookshelves first. Then the library’s bookshelves before I actually buy anything. We are blessed with a wonderful library system that generally meets or exceeds all of our needs.
I’m also planning to buy a copy of Twig and Moth’s fishing log for our son too so he can keep track of all of his fishing tales.
Play “Go Fish”
Work this beautiful shark puzzle.
Aquarium Visit—Hopefully we’ll get a chance to drive up to the Oklahoma Aquarium. They’ve opened a new exhibit or two at the Oklahoma Aquarium since the last time we were there, so I’m really hoping we can make the drive up there in the next few weeks.
Fishing Trip—we’re hoping to go fishing for trout this winter. Several of the Oklahoma lakes and streams either have trout year-roundor are stocked with them over the winter. We’ve never fished for trout so that would be a fun trip.
Sam Noble Museum of Natural History—they have a visiting exhibit right now entitled Megaladon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived that the kids want to go see so it’s time to head to Norman again.
Bass Pro Shop—we can check out all the fishing gear and look at the fish in the display.
The Living Sea IMAX film—we already have this and the kids have watched it several times, but I’ll still probably have them watch it again.
And maybe we’ll watch the Incredible Mr. Limpet yet again, simply because they love that goofy movie so.
IT’S SIMPLE TO ADD MORE BEAUTY
I hope you’ve seen from this post some ideas that can help you to add beauty to your homeschooling. More than anything I want my children to learn to love to learn and bringing in beauty wherever I can is the best way I know to do that.
More beautiful literature.
More beautiful visual aids, games, and experiences.
More learning, more joy… more beauty all the way around.
I hope you’ve found some ideas in this post that can help you. Whether you use some of the resources I’ve recommended or whether you simply use my ideas as a launching place to get you started on adding more beauty into whatever you’re studying.
As you begin new units in your homeschooling you may also want to check out my post on how to introduce new unit studies to your kids. You can read all about it here.
May your learning today be delightful and full of beauty.
Until next time…