Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop: Our VERY ECLECTIC Curriculum: History and Science "Mini Coop"

This year,
I really, really, REALLY
wanted to make a better effort to teach my kiddos
History and Science.

These subjects were very hit and miss for us last year.

Ever since I began babysitting more kiddos
in our home,
I have had to really evaluate our schedule-
and I definitely came up lacking in these school subject areas.

(You can read more about all the kiddos we babysit
by clicking HERE...)

Confession Time:
I do not think we have EVER completed ANY of the
History/Science curriculum
we have used since we began homeschooling 5 years ago.

does that mean my kiddos haven't been learning?

Absolutely not.

But it DOES mean
that I have not taught them as much
as I would have liked to.

I truly believe God has been laying the idea
for a change in our homeschool on my heart for awhile now,
and man,
has he EVER provided us an AWESOME opportunity
for growth, accountability, and support!

And it all started with a lemonade stand...


This past Spring,
our neighbors were having a lemonade stand,
and my kiddos joined in the fun
to help their kiddos peddle the goods.

One of the customers at the stand was another
neighbor girl, who was the same age as Jungle Girl.

They all got to talking an discovered that her family
also homeschools,
and that her mother,
in fact,
was wanting to start some kind of small
Homeschool Support Group via Facebook.

A couple of days later,
this family was taking a walk in the 'hood,
and her daughter and my kiddos
made CERTAIN to introduce us mothers to one another.

From the moment this Mama and I started talking,
I could tell we were kindred spirits!

She explained to me more about the idea
God had placed on her heart to create
a homeschool community group,
and my heart began to soar.

(I will dub this wonderful mother with the 
Super Hero name of Lady J,
and refer to her accordingly as the article continues...)  ;0)

Lady J wanted to have a kick off meeting at her house
on Earth Day,
and invited us to come down and meet
some other homeschooling families.

I was on board,
and agreed to bring down an Earth Day themed craft
for the kiddos to work on
while us mothers got to talk with one another.

After she got the
HiS Group Facebook page up and running,
she had around 16 Mamas and 30+ kiddos
attend the event!

After that,
I helped her host a Field Day event,
and our families started getting together
for dinners and fellowship time.

As we discussed
our homeschooling joys and concerns with one another,
I suggested to Lady J 
that would could do a mini coop
of our own for History and Science.

She loved the idea,
and then the planning began!

We got together about three times to hash out details,
but since I am the one with
a "teacher degree,"
and I really do enjoy
putting together unit studies,
I volunteered to make a detailed 
schedule and list of resources.

We met together for the first time last week
after following the same curriculum,
...based on these pictures...
...I think you can see we had a great time
learning together!

(We will meet most of the time at Lady J's home, 
since she has a bit more space,
and 5 kiddos,
2 of which are still nappers.)

I L-O-V-E this mini coop idea-
it really works for us at this stage in our lives.

We all get the fellowship and support we need,
without the cost and time loss of driving to another bigger coop.

Plus it

These past two weeks we have kept up with our schedule,
and it has been WONDERFUL to see my kiddos
get excited about Science and History again.

*Happy Sigh*

and I will be dubbing our little coop group
The Lemon Heads,
since this all began with a little lemonade stand...



if you made it through all of the back story,
I would love to share with y'all
what we are exactly doing this year for 
History (aka Social Studies)
and Science.

When Lady J and I got together,
her kiddos had a list of topics that interested them.

We took those topics and put them in more of a
sequential order,
and then I went from there...

The three major historical topics
we decided to focus on are:

Native Americans

Westward Expansion/Pioneers

The Underground Railroad/The Civil War

For the "base" of our History curriculum,
we are using...

I remembered using one of these books the
second year of our homeschooling,
and I really like how concisely and understandable
they make history for kiddos.

We will not be reading all of the chapters in each book-
just the ones that apply to our topics in some manner.

In an effort to tie in Art appreciation
with each unit,
we will be examining one painting
for each topic...
...with the use of the book


Native Americans

Besides reading from
The Story of the USA,
we will also be reading
the following books during our
Native Americans study:

When The Lemon Heads get together once a week,
we will be doing different activities
that are related to our History or Science studies.

Some of the ideas we will be doing for the
Native American unit come from...

The painting we will be studying is...
...The Trail of Tears
Robert Lindeux.

You can download a copy of our 
Native American Unit Study Schedule
by clicking HERE...

I am taking this unit study even further by
having my oldest two daughters read
novels which are connected to the historical topics.

During the Native American Unit,
Jungle Girl
(age 11) will be 
reading (at least) the following books:

For the fist two books,
she will also complete THIS lapbook
about Pocahontas,
and THIS set of notebooking pages
for Sign of the Beaver

Baby Girl
(age 9)
will be reading all of the...
and work on completing...
...THIS Josefina lapbook.


Westward Expansion/Pioneers

Our second unit
will involve the following books:

Ideas for different activities we will be using
with our fellow Lemon Heads
come from...

The painting we will be studying is...
...Across the Continent.
"Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way."

You can download a copy of the
Westward Expansion/Pioneers Unit Study Schedule 
by clicking HERE...

Jungle Girl's novel studies will include (at least):
(with THIS lapbook)
(with THIS lapbook)

I also want her to read...

I have not found a suitable lapbook for it,
so I think I may create my own-

Baby Girl will read all of the...
...American Girl Kirsten books,
and complete THIS lapbook.

She will also read...
and complete THIS lapbook.


The Underground Railroad/The Civil War

The books we will read in our last unit are...

For The Lemon Heads,
I found some really fun activities
to do in the book...

The painting we will study is...
...Forward by Jacob Lawrence.

You can download a copy of the
The Underground Railroad/The Civil War Unit Study Schedule 
by clicking HERE...

Jungle Girl will spend some time reading
all about Abraham Lincoln in...
and completing THIS lapbook.

She will also read...
as well as...
...some of the books pictured above,
depending upon the time she has left.

For her final big project,
I will be having her keep a Parent/Child journal
to write in daily
about her experiences with the books.

I will try
to write back to her at least 3 times a week...

Baby Girl will finish up her
American Girl studies with...
...the Addy books
and lapbook.


For Science,
we will be going through two different books
this year:

(The chapters we will be doing and the pace at 
which we will be doing them
are all included in the 
three unit studies schedules I posted earlier.)


there is definite flexibility in these unit studies.

There will be weeks when I will be able
to add more activities
at home,
and other weeks in which my goal will be
to just get the information
read and discussed with the kiddos.

I wanted to include links to my Pinterest boards
that contain other activities that can be used
with these units:

If you are curious what else my kiddos 
will be learning about this year,
just click HERE
to read my post about
all the other curriculum we will be using
this year.


I hope all of this is as clear as mud to everyone!

If you have any questions about what we are doing,
or other links/ideas I could include
with our units,
PLEASE feel free to contact me!


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