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Feeling vaguely dissatisfied...

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We've been using a very loose, largely child-directed/interest-led approach to history and science so far this year (this is our third week in), and I am feeling vaguely dissatisfied with it.


What we're doing in history: reading through various books -- right now it is The Wright Brothers (a Landmark book).


What we're doing in science: Reading through The World in a Drop of Water, and we're doing some hands-on to go with it.


I'm not sure if I need to be more parent-directed in these areas, maybe read from an actual (gasp) history book, or keep going with what we're doing, but maybe bump it up a notch. I feel like I am perhaps not challenging them enough, and that by jumping around in history and science, we'll miss out on something?


This is with a ds11 (6th grade), and dd9 (4th grade). I know this is a very vague post, but then the feeling is vague too!

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I also have been using a very loose, largely child-directed/interest-led approach to history and science and I usually feel pretty good about it. I have bins of really cool books for most subjects and the boys seem to really like my choices. My boys do not like textbooks at all, so I don't bother. Sometimes I panic and think uh oh, is this wrong? Then I realize the boys are learning a lot and I am ok

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Maybe throw a timeline in for the history? And have them do some sort of activity about what you are reading or go on a field trip. Just reading about history would drive my DD11 crazy - she likes to have activities that go with it. Maybe add in some books on the same subject that they read themselves?


For the science, I think one of the neatest things is to have DD11 do lab reports on each of the hands-on activities. Then, she gets to put those together into a booklet or notebook that she can look back and see what she did in each activity. We take pictures and print them, she does drawings, and a nice description of what happened.

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If you want to keep it still a bit child directed but still provide guidance, how about trying task cards? I use the creek's edge science and history task cards with DS11 and 7. The cards are great because they introduce a new topic each week, then give several independent research/activity tasks to guide them on their studies. If they are really into something, they go crazy and read a ton or do a ton of activities. Even with they things they are meh about, I know they are least introduced to the basics by working through their task.


The cards for science and history come in four sets that align with the classical science/history rotations and they are very inexpensive. You can even use them in conjunction with a timeline or century book.


Our method is assign the card on Monday and hit the library to research the topic. They usually read and watch documentaries on Mon-Tues, then spend Wed - Fri working on the tasks that interest them or coming up with their own tasks, inspired by the cards. DS7 usually does fewer of the tasks than DS11.


There is a scope and sequence giving the topic of each card on their site, along with samples, to give you an idea. (click "at creeks edge" to see the S&S)


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Thank you all - I think I have figured it out.


We're really enjoying the Landmark Wright Brothers book, so I think we'll continue with it, and add in some short, topical books on bicycles, airplanes, kites, and more. I also am picking up The Wright Brothers: 21 Activities for Kids at the library, and we're going to add in notebooking or lapbooking. I plan to follow a similar approach for a study on Sacajawea afterwards, and we're going to read a chapter or so each week from The Rainbow Book of American History so that the kids can find more topics to get interested in.


For science, we'll continue with topical studies based on [living] books, so we'll be finishing The World in a Drop of Water. I plan on adding in some experiment books to help, and I'll have ds11 do "lab reports".


I do want to keep my kids interested and vested in what they are studying, so I am hoping this will work!

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