Editor’s Note: every so often, we hand-select someone to write a blog post for us. Since everyone is currently homeschooling in some form or another, we thought it’d be a perfect time to select someone who homeschools full-time and offer some tips and tricks for using Honest History in your curriculum. This piece is by Shannon Stewart. Enjoy!
As homeschoolers, we love supplementing our standard curriculum with fun and engaging resources like Honest History. Whether using it to build out a morning basket theme or an entire unit study, there is no shortage of ways to inspire deeper, more connected learning.
We don’t always use a morning basket, but sometimes we get inspired to dive (no pun intended) into the subject of the Honest History magazine that just came in the mail, like this quarter’s Into The Deep, even if it doesn’t quite fit within the other resources we are using at that time. I find that collecting related books, games, and activities into one area, like a basket or crate for example, makes it easy to use them at transition times and easily incorporate this new theme into your other daily learning.
Ordinarily, I would share a giant stack of library books that we have collected to fill out our unit study or basket, but obviously current times limit that possibility for most, if not all, of us. However, in normal times, the library is a wonderful place to round out a theme or find related rabbit holes to explore. If I know ahead of time what subject matter we want to use, I will go ahead and reserve a collection of books ahead of time, so that I can pull from all of the available library collections. But often, we will just peruse the related section, and find whatever is available that fits. Used book websites would be a great way to fill in for your library for the time being.
I will usually also grab any related resource books from our own shelves, and throw those into the basket. DK Books make wonderful encyclopedias and their Eyewitness series are always great supplements to have on hand. We’re using the DK Ocean Encyclopedia and the Eyewitness Ocean to go along with this theme.
The Where Is/Who Was series are a wonderful themed supplement too! We happen to have the Where Is: the Great Barrier Reef, which coordinates perfectly with Into The Deep, for an even better understanding of its importance. Who Was Jacques Cousteau from the same series would be a great addition to your basket as well.
In addition to books, I like to add some games and activities to round out our basket. The games can be a fun way to start your day, or reinforce concepts in a way that doesn’t feel like ‘learning.’ We love the Professor Noggin card games, and they have a theme that matches almost anything you want to learn…just like their Life in the Ocean to go along with this basket.
Activities are great to keep hands busy and engaged while you’re reading aloud all of those wonderful books and resources you’ve collected. The sticker scene already included in the Into The Deep issue is perfect for that. I also love putting themed sensory bins together, or you can usually find a pre-made set on Amazon. The great thing about a kit like that is you can bring it out every day during read aloud time, and it can be used over and over again. And I’ve really been loving the Paint by Sticker books for mess free fun, too.
If I find that we STILL want to dig a little deeper, I will search a site like Teachers Pay Teachers for a related activity or resource (the one on the Ocean Zones would be a great way to round out a study based on this issue!).
Or there are lots of online resources offering things like virtual field trips, tours, and learning opportunities, especially right now. Check for aquariums in your area for virtual walkthroughs and tours, or National Geographic has a wonderful online resource library full of videos and information as well.
Once you collect all of your books, supplements, and resources in one area, you’re ready to go! Leave it handy and you can pull out a book or activity to explore during breakfast, or lunch or during a break in your regular day. The subjects in the Honest History Into The Deep are just ideal for doing a ‘deep dive’ into the ocean, and all of the amazing opportunities for learning and exploring within. Enjoy!