Having kids close in age means we can merge a couple of the grades together for fun projects. This is one of our favorite things to do in our little Homeschool Classroom. Often times it is done for Science Projects or other group assignments. Sometimes it is all 4 kids, grades 1st-5th. Sometimes we just do 2 of them, 1st and 2nd or 3rd and 5th. Older kids are given more challenging tasks or portions, while the younger student will do something a little more simple.
Last month we had so much fun in History. We combined our 3rd and 5th grader to work on a subject usually covered in 4th grade. It worked out perfectly. As their teacher and mom, the most exciting part is watching my oldest help to teach her brother the material she already covered as they both dive in deeper.
The unit study in question? California Missions. Although many schools have ditched the projects because of the tragedy that took place for our history to be formed, I decided to continue on with it.
Since we homeschool, I am able to take additional time to step back and discuss why this is a sensitive topic. To educate the kids that many times in our history minorities or smaller groups were hurt in order for others to establish a dominance or develop upon land that was not their own. We also take the time to focus on the good people who stepped up when their peers were hurting so many.
We truly believe that in times of tragedy we can still find good people doing good things.
That is all another topic for another day though.
After studying the Native Americans who inhabited America before early settlers arrived last year, we were ready to dive into the establishment of Missions and who all that entailed. After looking over many missions on-line and at the library, the kids decided to do their project on a Mission they had visited in the past. Mission San Juan Capistrano.
We began by doing some research on the Mission and Father Serra himself. This info was used to form reports that they each shared orally. In addition to the reports, the kids used their research to help them construct a model of the Mission.
Since this mama has 6 kids and a crazy schedule, we opted for a Mission Kit that we purchased through Classroom Environments. I was also able to find some great accessories for them to decorate with there.
The kids used sponges and q-tips with different shades of paint to help give the effect of stone. Of course, my Minecraft obsessed children thought this was the coolest thing ever as they showed off their knowledge of stone types from their videogame...
Since the Spanish missionaries didn't simply bring new buildings, I wanted the kids to dive into the culture that they brought with them too. We did a little bit of research on Spain and what people do for fun, learning and about language. Our biggest cultural immersion though, was authentic cuisine.
My kids absolutely love cooking and I have used this to my advantage in a few ways. While cooking we incorporate math by using the fractions of cups and spoons but also conversions of tsp to TBSP, doubling recipes and such. It has also been a fantastic way of tricking my kids into trying new foods.
In order to help them learn about other countries and cultures we purchased a few cooking kits from Eat2Explore. A lot of our social studies for all 4 kids this year revolves around early settlers. At the beginning of the year, I grabbed kits for Spain and France since I knew that we would be doing a lot of studying of the two countries travels. We also grabbed a kit for India because my kids find it hilarious that the "discovery" of America was an accident.
Anyhow, we gathered up the ingredients for our Spain recipes and had a Spanish feast. This has been one of the kids favorite assignments of the year.
What has been your favorite project to see your kids complete? Share it in the comments! I may have to borrow some ideas.
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