Saturday, March 3, 2012

When I asked my kids how they felt about unit celebrations for school they said…

“I like the one where we hit the piñata!  Are we going to have another one of them soon?” - The preschooler. 

“I feel overjoyed about unit celebrations, I love them!”  Second grader (this is my only girl, can you tell?)

Salt dough map of Africa
“They’re more fun than embarrassing.” - Fourth grader.  

The only thing I could get from the kindergartener was “Good” then he proceeded to tell me about the Lego Pirates of the Caribbean video game where he got into a barrel as Captain Jack and snuck up some stairs but fell off.  (Hey, this is real life, what can I say?)

We all look forward to unit celebrations.  They usually go something like this:  During the nine weeks before a celebration we keep a running sheet of ideas.  When we think of something, or feel particularly proud of an accomplishment, we write it down.  A couple of weeks before, when it comes up in our TOG schedule, we sit down and talk about what will make the final cut.  We also think of ways to include the littles, who we want to invite, and what food we will have.  I put things on the grocery list, we schedule special preparations, and invite our guests. 

Our guests have included such noble dignitaries as grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.  We even had one with just our family – that was the one with the piñata and it lives on in infamy. 

Flora and fauna from Lewis and Clark's expedition
We have had a wide range of food.  One unit we had several of the presidents’ favorite dishes, labeled with little flags identifying who the dish was for, like hominy for Teddy Roosevelt and peach cobbler with strawberry ice cream for Woodrow Wilson.  Another time we had Johnny cakes for a unit including the Oregon trail.  My favorite one was with the birth of modern convenience foods during WWII.  We had Twinkies, Oscar Meyer wieners, Fritos, Dannon Yogurt, Coke and M&M’s.

In a busy family it can be difficult to spend quality time with the people who mean the most to us.  We create lasting memories with our families and friends each time we have a unit celebration.  As homeschoolers, we don’t have the same opportunities to showcase our work, demonstrate, or recite in front of others the way kids in a traditional school might.  This way our kids can practice public speaking and presentation strategies I feel are an important part of their education.  Also, it provides a fun break from the everyday; it is definitely something we look forward to.   

Enjoy this abbreviated rendition of "Home on the Range" (you'll enjoy the abbreviated version - trust me.)  At this particular celebration we re-enacted the Civil War a la dodge ball.  Grandma couldn't play dodge ball, so she was Clara Barton and bound our wounds with toilet paper.  

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