Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Wanna Be a Firefighter!

This past month at the Homestead School we've been changing things up a bit.  We've taken a break from our normal classroom routine to do some in-depth studies on individual topics.  This is called the Unit Study method, and incoporating the 3R's, science and religion into a Unit Study is quite a challenge.  Luckily, we had some help from our friends at The Old Schoolhouse, and we would like to share our experience with the curriculum we obtained from them for our adventure.

"When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Firefighter"

Wanna Be Series - Ebook, PDF

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
P.O. Box 8426, Gray, TN 37615

Being a newbie at the unit study method, I printed out this colorful Ebook and just started right in with my 6 year old son. There is a LOT of reading at the beginning, which I now realize I should have broken up into several daily sections and interspersed with the other subjects and internet activities. Needless to say, our first run was not as fun as it could have been. After I took a better look at the table of contents, I began marking different pages to do each day for math, science, copywork, etc., and the unit proceeded more smoothly. The text provides a balance of reading, vocabulary, spelling, ASL finger spelling, math, science, social studies, geography, handwriting and scripture verses.

We learned the history of firefighting from bucket brigades to the early days of fire insurance.  A firefighter tells what it's like to work an average shift, as well as how to become a firefighter and how much firefighters get paid in different parts of the United States.  We also learned about Wilshire the Firehouse Dog, and the role dogs play in helping firefighters.  We learned more about robots and robotic arms, which we had opportunity to work with on a previous field trip.  We did not have a chance to build our own robotic arm model, but the supplies were simple and we did have them on hand.

I am also a newbie at lapbooking, and did not think to make a lapbook to go with this unit. It does not include suggestions or activities for lapbooking, but it would be easy enough to modify for that activity and I definitely recommend it. Especially for active, curious 6 year old boys. It breaks up the tedium of reading and worksheets and gets them cutting, pasting, coloring, drawing, and creating, thereby more actively participating in the learning process.

Although this series is written for ages 4-10, it contains so much detailed information that it could be easily modified for older students. We felt the need to supplement this particular unit with extra math, grade level reading with some of the suggested books, and searching you-tube or elsewhere for appropriate videos.

All basic materials are included with "I Want to be a Firefighter". If desired, additional materials can be gathered together for suggested science projects, activities and lapbooking. Quizzes, puzzles, coloring pages, worksheets and answer keys are included. The internet is not necessary to get the full benefit of this unit study, but makes it more interesting. Useful websites are listed in the back of the ebook; one could also search for additional sites, videos and activities to liven up the presentation. Parents will want to acquire appropriate supplementary books from library, arrange a possible field trip to a fire station, or a visit with firefighters.

With over 70 pages of detailed information, this Unit Study is well worth the price of $8.95.

Other titles in the series:
Veterinarian, Chef, Military, Pilot, Doctor, Police Officer, Missionary, Artist, Farmer

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