Child-Guided Australia Theme Learning

LittleMan woke up on the *wrong* side of the bed this morning. I knew that it would be useless to try and enforce our usual box system of lessons so I tried a new approach- just for today.
Australia Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler (1)
While he played with a kangaroo sensory bin, we verbally reviewed what we had learned earlier in the week about kangaroo anatomy, diet, life-cycle, and behavior.
The bin contained mocha scented dry rice, a plastic funnel, a wooden spoon, 3 small plastic cups, plastic bushes, rocks, a small oval mirror “lake”, and 3 rubber kangaroos.

While he played and we talked, I set out some of our Australia materials on the table for him to choose from.
Australia Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler (2)
Our unit is supposed to be “Australia” but LittleMan has made it clear he would rather learn about the Australian wildlife rather than the culture, climate, currency, cuisine, etc..
Australia Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler (6)
We did practice finding Australia on the map, but that was pretty much the only non-animal thing he had an interest in doing today.

Because we had already verbally reviewed kangaroos while he was playing with the sensory bin, he didn’t feel the need to do his kangaroo nomenclature cards today.
Australia Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler (3)
He did however work on his word building using a card as a guide.

The bulk of our class today was focused on crocodiles. I put aside our crocodile lesson plans entirely and allowed LittleMan to dictate what he wanted to do. He asked me to read to him from a library book about crocodiles while he played with his crocodile toy.
Australia Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler (4)
Upon hearing about the “death roll” used to kill larger animals LittleMan fetched a toy horse and acted out what he thought it might look like.
Then LittleMan asked me to show him how big crocodiles are, “like we did with the whales.” So I fetched some string and measured out a piece that was 20 feet long.
Afterwards he asked if he could make a crocodile so I traced his toy onto a paper plate and he fetched himself some markers. Using his toy as a guide, he tried to mimic a crocodile’s scale patterning. ┬áThen I cut the croc out while he acted out the death roll again.
When we got to the part in the book about crocodile teeth, LittleMan was especially curious. Together we looked in a mirror and counted how many teeth he had, then subtracted that number from how many teeth the average crocodile has.
Australia Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler (5)
I suggested that we make some crocodile teeth and LittleMan was on board so using a hole punch on a white sheet of paper we took turns punching out crocodile teeth and used them to practice our skip counting.

It was not at all the day that I had planned but by following LittleMan’s cues we still covered plenty of material and argued less in the process. It is his education and I’m learning to let him have a say in how he wants it to be.

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