Cardinal Alternative Learning

Infinitely Tweakable Education. Because Learning is a Dynamic Process.

Science Windows & Book Nooks

As part of my gung-ho planning phase this year, I decided maybe I needed to be more organized about science this year, pick a focus, maybe use a “real” scope and sequence from some boxed curriculum even if I pulled together my own resources.  Another plan that has not lasted!  D just loves science, and we’re a science-y family.  We can’t be limited by a scope and sequence, at least not at this age and stage!  So here’s what we’re doing for science instead, and another little tweak we’ve made to our learning system…

Amazon has a great deal right now to get all of the Magic School Bus DVDs as a set, so we’re going to be using that as our science core, with D choosing her own adventures from week to week.  Scholastic even has some great go-along resources, including activity ideas, and of course there’s always the library.  Right now D is really into space because of the Mars rover, so we’ll stick with that general theme as long as she wants to!  I was trying to figure out how to get a cool model/visual of the solar system into our “cozy” space (I hate clutter!), and as I was browsing the store’s craft supplies aisle, I had a fun idea.  I picked up a pack of Crystal Effects Window Markers, and ta-da, the science window was born!  We’ve been drawing each new element of the solar system in after we’ve done a little reading on it.  When we move to a new topic, the window will be wiped down to start anew.  (Anyone remember Cheaper by the Dozen?  I think I may be channeling some of the father’s educational methods!)

One other little tweak right near by – the book nook.  Really, this has always been one of D’s book nooks.  We’re just acknowledging it formally as one, and giving her a crate to keep the books better organized.  (Having it in bed doesn’t seem to keep her from sleeping, and it’s great for her pockets of down time.)  I stole a few other ideas from this interesting post that had me thinking in a good way this week.  Not all of the ideas would be a natural “fit” our family, but others have real potential! I have loved all along using the Scholastic Book Wizard to figure out D’s reading level as she’s progressed.  I’ve just started a book return box (again, in the place she’d always messily stashed them anyway), and did a little grouping by theme/author/level (depending on what made most sense) to see if it would tempt her to explore some books she hasn’t looked at in a while.  So far, it’s worked a little.  Next up – the book share box, though I think I may make it a little more general – something like a daily surprise box or mailbox where interesting things may show up at different times!

What fun, natural ways to tempt your children to read and/or engage them in learning have been winners in your house?  Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to just make what they’re already naturally doing the official plan?


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