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x-post: 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 wonder if you could pull more out of history. I personally wouldn't want to jump around, but I don't necessarily think that is the problem with you. However, if it might be, I just wanted to throw out there that doing child/interest led studies is not incompatible with chronological history. We just tend to go along the path and hop out on bunny trails when something is interesting.


I like to saturate history with other things. When you're reading the Wright book (which we LOVED, by the way, as we did all the Landmarks we read), what are you pulling out to go with it? You can do an inquiry-narration in which you ask what they are learning about the era the brothers lived in, the science behind bicycles (gears, aerodynamics, etc.), a character study in persistence... :tongue_smilie: You could do a book basket with selections about the history of the bicycle, automobiles, airplanes, geography of the area, music and clothing of the time, etc., etc., etc. My absolute, hands-down favorite thing with modern history (we did American for two years) was playing the popular music of the day. It sets an atmosphere. Pulling out art from the time, having shorter picture book biographies of the other people/events mentioned in the main book you're reading... I like to find materials to strew about that help the kids pull together correlations between subjects.


Just some thoughts...


ETA: Can't believe I didn't address science at all. :D You can do the same there. Our Question Board gets a lot of mileage here, encouraging lots of inquiry and self-direction.

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Thank you - 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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