Homeschool Reading Blog

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Unit 38: North America


This unit is an add-on to the Native American Unit, not a replacement.

GENERAL GOALS:

  • To review the seven continents and highlight North America, locating exactly where you live.
  • To use and develop basic map skills in determining cities, states, countries, and continents.
  • To become familiarized with what unique animals live in North America.
  • To begin to understand what immigration is in preparation for the Thanksgiving study in upcoming weeks.
  • To introduce the story of Lewis & Clark along with Sacajawea.

BOOKS:

  • North America – Madeline Donaldson
  • Building Beavers – Kathleen Martin-James
  • North American Animals – Dawne Allette
  • Grandfather’s Journey – Allen Say
  • Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President – Shirley Raye Redmond
    (Any other books your library may have for children on the Journey of the Corp of Discovery.)

ACTIVITIES:

  • Explain the difference between city, state, country, and continent.Here is a great project to help little ones understand. The overlaying circles give them a visual for this abstract concept. Another mother chose this spin on the same idea to teach her children.
  • Read Grandfather’s Journey with a globe at hand. Follow the paths taken with your finger on the globe as grandfather goes back and forth across the ocean to the New World & “back home”. Remind your child where Asia is. Point out California & even San Francisco. Remind them the difference between continent, country, state, and city. Talk about immigration, familiarizing your child with words like immigrant, immigration, New World vs. Old World, village vs. cities, etc. Lots to talk about here! Remind your child of the Thanksgiving pilgrims & talk as you wish about their immigration story. Tie it in briefly; to be continued the week we study Thanksgiving.
  • Introduce your child to Lewis & Clark, the amazing team that traveled the wild west for President Jefferson. These guys make it easy to talk about animals unique to North America: Bison, Prairie Dogs, Wolves, Eagles, etc. Their story is amazing, and if it’s been a while since you’ve learned about it, you may want to brush up on their story for yourself by watching the Ken Burns documentary on it. Every library should have it & it is wonderful! This also introduces Sacajawea whom you’ll probably want to talk about in the Native American unit next week. (These weeks all wrap around each other; forest animals, North America, Native Americans, and Thanksgiving.)Here’s a little rap you may wish to use to review or “wrap up” your time with Lewis & Clark.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • Gather Thanksgiving books at your library for next week.
  • Start gathering smelly stuff. : ] …for the upcoming unit on Senses. It’s getting harder to find scratch & sniff stickers, smelly crayons, markers, etc. at the stores, so you may need to order them on line. Here are a few links to get you started: crayonsmarkersstickerspencils.
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Unit 37: My World/Habitats


This week, focus on introducing the globe & the seven continents as a springboard for what we will be doing the rest of the year. I have sprinkled each of the seven continents throughout the year to explore more in depth. So this week, you will be introducing the seven via animals & their habitats. As you list the continent, tape an animal from that continent on your “globe” (an actual globe if you have one, or a blue balloon with paper continents on it). The important point to this week is INTRODUCTION to these seven continents.

GENERAL GOALS:

  • Introduce theme of our world (globe, continents, directions, etc.) that will be highlighted throughout the year.
  • Discover various habitats people & animals that live in in them around the world.
  • Explain what a habitat is & be able to connect a few animals in each of the main habitats (rainforest, desert, arctic, ocean)

BOOKS:

  • Around the World We Go – Margaret Wise Brown
  • Me On the Map – Joan Sweeney
  • Where Do I Live? – Neil Chesanow
  • Animal Babies in Polar Lands – Jennifer Schofield
  • Animal Babies in Grasslands – Kingfisher editors
  • Animal Babies in Rain Forests – Kingfisher editors
  • Passport Into the Wild – Jack Hanna
  • Africa Critters – Robert B. Haas
  • Pandas – Valerie Bodden
  • Tigers – Mary King Hoff
  • In the Rain Forest – Maurice Pledger
  • Waking Up Down Under – Carol Votaw
  • Good Morning, Little Polar Bear – Carol Votaw
  • DVD: Animal Atlas, Animal Passport

ACTIVITIES:

  • Remind your child (if you did forest animals & oceans last year) that we studied animals in forests (list some) & oceans (list some). This year we will talk about a few more different kinds of environments animals live in & where they are around the world.
  • Introduce the seven continents by talking about various habitats on the earth. Use a blue balloon & basic continent shapes (see oceans theme) to tape on each continent. This lady has some great ideas, cards of animals to print out for each continent (you don’t have to use them all), and even a song. Take her ideas & make them your own. Maybe find another simple song you like better? etc. Another example of mapping out the continents with animals can be found here.
  • A few online habitat games to try: here,
  • A few printable activities: here,

LOOKING AHEAD:

  •  Note: For locals only, on September 19th, the Great Mohican Pow-Wow is letting homeschooling families in for $1 per child. We’ve been to this before & it is a great way to learn about Native American dances & people. It can then be remembered & talked about again when Indians are “studied” in November. More information here.
  • Look over the list of books on apples & call your library to order the ones you want as well as ask your librarian for their ideas to add.
  • Buy a variety of apples over the weekend & take note of which apple is what kind. (ex. – Braeburn, Jonagold, Fuji, Golden Delicious, etc.) Buy enough apples to make applesauce next week for the family as well.

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General Goals:


- Recognize helpers around your child's community.

- Explain how goods and services meet people’s needs & the ways people exchange goods and services in their various jobs.

- Discover & use simple tools/machines that make work easier for people (lever, pulley, wheel & axle, screw, inclined plane, wedge).

- Develop & demonstrate appreciation for helpers in your child's community.

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Books:


What Do People Do All Day? - Richard Scarry

Jobs People Do - DK Publishing

Whose Tools Are These? - Sharon Katz Cooper

Whose Hat Is This? - Sharon Katz Cooper

Whose Vehicle Is This? - Sharon Katz Cooper

Whose Tools Are These? - Amanda Doering Tourville

Whose Gears Are These? - Amanda Doering Tourville

Whose Equipment Is This? - Amanda Doering Tourville

Whose Gadgets Are These? - Amanda Doering Tourville

 

Pick a series in your library about jobs. There are usually several to choose from:

Community Helpers series by Bridgestone Press in Mankato, MN

Delivering Your Mail - Ann Owen (one in a series on Community Workers to check out)

"I Want To Be a _____" series - Dan Liebman

Amazing Science: Simple Machines series (there are at least 5) - Michael Dahl

Goods or Services? - Ellen Mitten

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People In Your Neighborhood


Brainstorm together about people that help in your personal community: grocer, librarian, mail carrier, pastor, nurse, etc. Possibly make a neighborhood map with these people noted.

 

For those who really want to go old school, you can watch this oldie but goodie... 

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Goods Or Services?


Talk about jobs that make goods (baker, farmer) & jobs that provide services (barber, trash collector). Use this little game to help differentiate.

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Simple Machines


- Construction workers & landscapers use levers with hammer, wheelbarrow, pliers, hedge trimmers, etc. As you drive around this week, try to pass some of these workers on the job. Stop & point out the tools they are using with your child.

- Watch a science video on simple machines like the one here:

Bill Nye the Science Guy:

Sid the Science Kid: 

 To see several episodes teaching various simple machines, click here.

 

- Play the game Mouse Trap & talk about the simple machines found in the game.

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Community Helper Field Trip


- Read a book from the Community Helpers series that correlates, then take a tour of a fire station, hospital, dentist office, YMCA, bank, local radio or TV station, library, mail room, etc. Be sure and take along a note of appreciation for the work that community helper does for your community.
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Looking Ahead:


- If you don't have a globe, consider borrowing one for at least next week. It would be a good idea to get one of some kind for this year though. If you can't, you will need to find a handful/bag of blue balloons to have on hand to blow up throughout the year as a substitute. You could also buy cheap inflatable globe balls here. They will break but they come 12 to a package so even if you break them often, no worries. While there, you may also be interested in buying these animals around the world sticker sets. Again, they come 12 to a pack, but you can then let your other children use some, &/or pull them out to review each time you highlight the seven continents. Children learn with repetition.

- Collect the books for next week's theme from the library.

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Looking Ahead:


- Get books on simple machines & community helpers for next week. See book list in Unit 36.

- Set up a tour with a local community helper for next week: library, YMCA life guard, post office, bank, etc.

- If you don't have the game Mouse Trap, see if you can borrow it from a friend or go buy it for next week's topic, simple machines.

– Now is the time to google your area for a local apple orchard. Call & see if you can schedule a time to have a tour in two weeks (during the apple unit). Some require a minimal number of ten, etc. so you may need to call a few other friends with little ones to fill up your group, but it is a very fun Kindergarten field trip.

– While you are googling local businesses, add the local theater to your list. Call & ask for any children’s productions they will be putting on for school groups this next year. Usually they have several & are happy to include homeschooling families. Tickets are generally 3-5$ each & often they let the parent come free. These are excellent ways to introduce your child to the arts for a great price, but they schedule at the beginning of the school year.

- You may have a grandparent that lives far away (or even close) that would love a list of ideas for little gifts to get your child to help keep them connected. We have one that lives several states away who loved to take my theme list & send a care package once a month with items for the next month. If you are so blessed, the “Looking Ahead” section would be a great one to pass on to them. They might just enjoy collecting those extra items like smelly pencils & scratch ‘n sniff stickers for you.