One of the perks about home educating our children is that education can be individualized and catered to each individual. In our case, we have three little ones to cater to and while they all love learning about nature, each has a different desire and preferred style of learning. Nature is one of those things that welcomes all with open hearts in such an organic way. Everybody is able to try without effort, and it’s also the perfect gateway to include any language learning.
- My 11-year-old daughter sees nature with a Classical Conditioning approach, meaning she finds comfort in the things she learns, and loves to find those things over and over throughout a hiking trip. For example, we study mushrooms, and every time we find mushrooms she finds excitement from already knowing what they are, what they do, how they look like, their benefits, etc.
- My 9-year-old son however is one that learns through Operant Conditioning, meaning he thrives when he has access to cause and effect opportunities and that’s how he forms associations and internalizes information. He learns quickly and remembers what was “fun” or “dangerous”, “safe”, etc., and loves to recreate activities that provided positive feedback. So he is definitely my risk-taker and enjoys seeing the outcome of all his nature experiments
- Lastly, my 5-year-old son, being the youngest of the group, thrives in an environment that allows him to learn through observation. He is super visual and a very observant little man. So everything that sister and/ brother do, he observes and learns from it. As well as what my husband and I show him during our time outdoors.
I feel like it is important to know what style each kiddo thrives in, so if you can relate with any of these styles. Keep reading! 🙂
OUR FAVORITE CURRICULUM OF ALL TIME
It is not that you “need” a curriculum per se, but you guys, it can help you stay organized and intentional and aware of some wonderful resources out there, so that is the reason why we actually made a tiny investment in a curriculum.
This curriculum is so gentle, natural, and good for all ages!! You can also buy it once and review it every year. You can add more to your studies and take different approaches with the same topic.
The name of it is Exploring Nature with Children. You can check it out right here
As we use this curriculum as a guide, we have found that unit studies are our best ally. We check in ENWC what we should be learning that specific week, and then onto looking for rich and interactive unit studies to go with the topic.
A unit study is a collection of learning activities tied to a theme. They are popular because they provide a hands-on approach to learning, that incorporates subjects such as math, science, language arts, and social sciences all tied together
Since we are a bilingual family and it is important for us to add the Spanish component to whatever we are doing, I have been working to create rich and interactive unit studies that can be tied with our nature studies.
This week I am prepping and getting material ready for next week’s study which will be one of my favorite topics ever, we will be learning about….wait for it…
And here is how I prepare for the week ahead:
- Review I am doing the correct week by checking our ENWC calendar.
- Read the lesson plan, decide whether I want to include the art piece of the poems included or find my own (always, always include Spanish titles too)
- After reviewing the book recommendations in ENWC and doing my own research, I check out my local library’s website to order the desired books (again, in both languages).
- Following that, I simply research from my favorite websites and small shops for a good unit study to use during our week.
- Translate and/or create any Spanish material I want to use for the week. Sometimes I create my own unit studies and when I do those, I take my time because my goal is to publish them for other bilingual families so they can use them too. Quite honestly, there is not a ton of quality Spanish material out there, so I hope to continue to work on solidifying material to serve the Spanish community as much as I possibly can.
- I print out the material and get it ready (cut, laminate, hand, etc).
- I set up some visuals for my kids so they can get excited about it too (Not: It is super important for you to display material mostly in the target language). This usually helps them look forward to the week and express what they are most looking forward to learning about the topic.
- We have a full week of little bits and pieces of studies which usually include math, reading, writing, art, many read alouds, and, of course, tons of time exploring outdoors!!!
Note: This is how I prepare so we can have nature studies weekly, no matter the topic. And I just let the curriculum guide us as to what to study, but every once in a while, if my kids have the desire to study something different, I use this same planning technique for those!
Our study on butterflies is going to be a special one because I am collaborating with a sweet shop that creates super fun educational material, you can find them on IG @thisleandbiscuits. I enjoyed every second of the time that I worked with them. I worked together to bring you an out-of-this-world unit (88- page long-mind you) that that is packed with fun and didactic material. There are also activities for different age groups, so this caters 100% to families with multiple children. Honestly, I cannot wait to use it with my own kids. It is SO GOOD
If you would like to see in detail, what this fun unit includes please click here
Also, if you are already using ENWC, butterfly week is the last week of May, and during that week you will find great material offered at wonderful prices. Just search on IG the tag #ENWCBUTTERFLYWEEK.
But, you can just grab this one too! 😉
If after reading this any questions come up, please leave them in the comment section below. I would also love to hear if this was at all helpful to you.
Thanks for reading and happy learning!