As unschoolers, we like to let our kids follow their interests and develop their giftedness. We let them explore and discover, and we offer suggestions and guidance.
But once in awhile, some direct, concentrated school-like activity is fun. That’s what this post is all about.
Here is a one-week unit study on the country of your choice, unschooling style. It’s pretty flexible, but covers a lot of territory.
Day 1: Collecting and Reading
As a family, choose a country to study. Go to the library, and check out several books about the country and its people. Children’s books are best, but also look for large “coffee table” books in the adult section.
If possible, find a movie or a story that takes place in your country. Don’t forget to look for ethnic music and nonfiction videos.
When you get home, enjoy looking through your finds and begin reading to the younger ones.
Day 2: Geography
Find your country on a map or globe. Talk about bordering countries, climate, and natural features (rivers, lakes, mountains, deserts).
Older children could come up with a list of questions to research from the books you got yesterday at the library, then give an oral report.
Days 3 and 4: Culture
Find information about your country’s native clothing, food, language, writing, homes, games, sports, government, celebrations, festivals, and religion.
Do you live in an international area? Visit a grocery store that specializes in food from your country. Buy something for your meal tomorrow.
If you live near a college, call their international student office and arrange to take a student from your country out to lunch. Have questions ready. They usually enjoy sharing their culture with others.
Photo by vorty
Day 5: Celebration
Plan a special meal to show off what you’ve learned. If possible, wear culturally appropriate clothing, play ethnic music, and make name cards with facts about your country on back.
Display any coloring, drawings, posters, crafts or reports you did this week. Take the library books with the best pictures on the cover and stand them up around the room. Use mealtime to talk about the most surprising, funny, or interesting thing you each learned.
Keep the interest going by attending ethnic festivals during the year and making friends with international students. And if you have the opportunity to travel to other countries, that’s the ultimate field trip!
I’m sure you all have favorite resources for learning about other cultures. Please share!