We recently finished reading Rick Riordan’s: Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series, and we have been enmeshed in Ancient Greece. All my Ancient Greece books, crafts, activities, projects, etc. came flying off the shelves as the children wanted more and more and more information about the subject.
Yay, for my “organized unschooler” pre-planning. :-) hee hee
Being the organized type (aka, control freak), I like doing things in order. I wanted us to back up a bit in history and learn about everything that came before “Ancient Greece” (for me & for the kids). We had already talked a lot about the formation of the earth, the emergence of the first life forms, evolution, etc. (my kids were nutso for dinosaurs when they were littler — so it all came up during that time), but we hadn’t really talked about homo sapiens sapiens once they started living in villages, etc.
As it works out, I have been monitoring e-bay and Bookfinder4U.com (the best website for used books, EVER!) for nearly a year for the book Choosing Your Way Through The World’s Ancient History. I LOVE books, but I’m, also, very
cheap frugal. I finally found it listed for less than $10 and snatched it right up! I was so excited when it arrived. Perfect timing!! I told the kids all about it at bedtime & we all agreed that we would start reading it first thing in the morning. (Our morning “routine” generally involves all of us cuddling on the couch together for about an hour or so right after the kids get up. We will chat or read books, whatever, during this time). I did not tell the kids that we HAD to read it. I just told them what it was about and they decided it sounded interesting.
The kids LOVE the book! It lived up to my expectations & was definitely worth the wait. The only catch is that it doesn’t give a “complete” history of the area/time period (& I didn’t expect it to). We all wanted more information. We headed to our local cool & groovy used book store and found a used copy of The Story of the World; Volume 1: Ancient Times (revised edition) — which, while not my ideal history book, has a nice narrative style that the kids like. This book fits perfectly with our Choosing Your Way book.
Now it was time for all my other ancient history books, crafts, experiments, projects, etc. to find their way off the shelves as the kids wanted more information and requested activities. :-)
Creating secret messages with hieroglyph stamps.
With all this new information about Egypt, the Nile River, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, etc., came an interest in geography. The kids wanted to SEE the places we were talking about. Well, it just so happened that I was looking to re-organize a corner in our living room (what? me organize? crazy, I know). :-) So, I incorporated maps into my re-organization plan. We now have a new book shelf in the corner and two GIANT maps on the wall (which can be easily viewed from the couch). :-)
I LOVE how things just fall into place like that !!
We roll with our interests and everything rolls right along with us. :-)
I never stop looking for new ways & resources to introduce new ideas & information to my children. Through unschooling, I am able to *really* be in touch with my children’s interests. I know what types of books will appeal to them. I know what types of activities they enjoy doing. Armed with this knowledge, I am able to “organize” to my heart’s content while effectively meeting my children’s desires at the same time!
I’m sure some people will think I am crazy for doing all this organizing and preparing just to let it all sit on the shelf for months and, sometimes, years. But, to me, it is worth it. I love, love, love researching topics, learning new things, and finding resources that I am confident will appeal to my children. That is enough to satisfy the need I have for control, for organizing. When the time eventually comes when my kids choose to use what I have organized, well — that’s just the super-yummy, creamy icing on the cake. :-)