Collection of Resources for Shark Week

My oldest son loves sharks! Anytime that we go to the aquarium he wants to hurry to the shark tank. It was one of the reasons that we did a short nature study on sea creatures last year and a big reason we are going to study them again this year.   Shark week is next week so I thought it would be great to put together a list of resources that we can use to learn about sharks.

If you are looking for some educational and fun things to do next week or during your school year here are some great places to start.

Are you looking for some resources for shark week? Here's a collection of books, crafts, live courses and more! A great way to add to your science or nature studies this homeschool year. Or just have fun learning about these sea creatures!

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Books

DK publishing has a great collection of books on just about any topic that you can think of. One of our favorite books is Everything You Need to Know About Sharks. The pictures in this book are amazing and there is a lot of great facts about sharks and other sea creatures. Here are some other DK books to enjoy:

Arts and Crafts

As we are learning about different animals my boys often create notebooking pages to write down what they are learning and to draw pictures of the different animals. It’s been a great way to keep a record of what they are learning and they really enjoy it. Here are some other ways to have fun with art while learning about sharks.

Shark Art Tutorials

There’s even a free Shark Lapbook here at Homeschool Share.

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How to Plan A Unit Study

One thing that has really helped over the years with homeschooling multiple ages is unit studies!  Now traditionally a unit study involves picking a topic and then teaching every subject around that topic: history, math, science, etc.  As a Charlotte Mason homeschooler I don’t follow this traditional view of unit studies but I have found a way to make it work for us.

Here are 3 simple steps for planning a unit study. Great for history, science and more! And just one way to teach multiple ages at the same time.

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Planning a Unit Study in 3 Simple Steps

I start planning our unit studies based on subjects. Typically I use units for history, science, and nature study.  I like being about to really focus on one topic together as a family.  For elementary history I love studying American History.  I usually pick one person or event to focus our units. For science and nature study I usually ask the boys what they’d like to learn about and go from there.

Step 1: Choose a Main Read Aloud: I love using living books as read alouds for the basis of our study.  We learned about the Pony Express last year with this book. My boys were excited to listen the story every week and we learned so much with that simple book. We also loved this book when we were learning about the Oregon Trail.

Step 2: Choose Student Readers: Along with our read alouds I like to choose books for my boys to enjoy on their own. For my oldest I really love books by  Clyde Robert Bulla. These books are easy to read and full of great adventure and compliment our history studies well.  For science I love the Let’s Read and Find Out series they have books that both of my boys have enjoyed. 

Step 3: Projects, Hands on Activities, etc: I always like to have a few hands on projects to work on towards the end of our unit study.  Typcially my boys will work on notebooking pages as we work through our read aloud. My boys also enjoy crafts, salt dough maps, skits, models and experiments.

Basic Lined Notebooking Pages

I love that creating units allows us to study together as a family. My boys each can work at their own level with their projects and notebooking pages. Sometimes my oldest may have one more assignment or extra step in his project than his brother. And sometimes we all work on a big project together (like making a salt dough map of the Oregon Trail).  The Notebooking pages are a great way to add to our yearly portfolios and I often take pictures or videos of their projects.

Any other tips you’d add for planning a unit study?

Benefits of Math Games

Whether they are playing store or playing chess, kids love playing games. Math games are no exception. Not only are math games fun, there are many benefits to playing math games.

Are you looking for a way to make math fun and review all those facts and concepts? This is just one of the benefits of math games click over to read 3 more!

Four Benefits of Math Games

1. Provides practical application of math skills learned

So often kids wonder when they will ever use math. Kids often see math as something they have to study, not a practical life skill. There are five key math skills kids use every day. Playing games helps them see practical uses for these skills.

2. Sneaks in math drill

You could give your child a worksheet to practice math facts. Or you could play a game with him. Both take about the same amount of time, but one will be a lot more fun. Kids are motivated to practice math facts when their success at knowing them determines their outcome in the game.

3. Makes math fun

Playing games is just plain fun. Your child will be having so much fun he may not even realize he is doing math. A friend’s children were asked by a neighbor what they did for school that day. They replied, “Nothing!” My friend asked, “What about Coin Change-Up?”, which they played earlier in the day. They were shocked and replied, “What? That was math?”

4. Involves the whole family
Math games can usually be modified so the whole family can play together. A younger child could add dice together while an older child multiplies them. An older child might be required to begin with more cards than a younger child. Even if you play the game at the level of a younger child, an older child is practicing and reinforcing skills already learned.

Making time to play math games

Given the choice of playing a math game or completing a lesson, it is tempting to go for the lesson. After all, we need to complete the math book this school year, right? I would argue no, you do not. It is better to focus on mastery instead of completion. Your child needs to have a solid foundation in place before building on and learning new skills. There have been times when we stopped lessons for weeks at a time because we were having fun playing a game and my children were mastering a concept.

You could choose to play math games:

  • one day a week (or more if your schedule allows)
  • in addition to a math lesson instead of a worksheet
  • instead of a lesson when the game will teach the concept

You can see a list of over 125 math games and activities for all ages, listed by category on Triumphant Learning.

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Crystal has a passion to share her research and experience with parents in a way that equips them to train the hearts, minds, and souls of their children. She encourages parents through her blog, workshops, and published resources. Find out more at www.triumphantlearning.com.