Homeschooling

Wrapping up: Japan, Russia, Australia, and Antarctica with MFW ECC

 

Today, I packed away my ECC teacher’s manual and textbooks. We aren’t quite on summer break yet, but we’ve completed everything we are going to complete of ECC and it was time to pack it away. Here’s a quick review of our last few units and some end of the year thoughts.

JAPAN

Japan was a fun unit for us! We enjoyed experimenting with origami (but we are all terrible at it). We loved our Japanese picture book, The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks. We ate seaweed for a snack, went out for a sushi dinner, and had a really enjoyable two weeks!

The Vernal Equinox took place during our Japan unit. It was the highlight of our Exploring Nature with Children curriculum thus far. We went on a family hike to look for signs of spring and work in our nature journals.

Between our fun Japan experiences and our enjoyment of ENWC, this unit was everything we love about homeschooling!

Unfortunately, it was also our last nature walk of the school year.  The following week, Cowboy crashed his bike and broke his femur. It was a bad break, requiring surgery and a hospital stay. He’s been on partial bedrest ever since. Life has not been fun!

Russia

We did the abbreviated tour of Russia this time, since Cowboy was in pain and not really digging it! Luckily, I had purchased a copy of Peter and the Wolf that included a cd with the full orchestra and narration. That brought hours of entertainment while he was on bedrest, and was perfect for our Russia study! Luba and the Wren was another book we greatly enjoyed and would highly recommend whether you are studying Russia or not. We also attempted to paint Russian nesting dolls, but that was a complete flop. Oh well. Considering the broken leg, I’m thrilled with what we accomplished during this unit, failures and all!

Australia 

Australia was a great unit for my boys, because they were so impressed with the harshness of the land and the wild variety of animals living on it. We made great use of our tv for this unit, watching plenty of Wild Kratts and Man vs. Wild episodes. Farmer Boy can now tell you all about Australia. Unfortunately, after Man vs. Wild, I did have to explain to him that it’s not a good idea for him to kill snakes by biting off their heads, and that I would prefer for him to not catch spiders to eat when he’s hungry. Thanks for that, Bear Grylls.

ECC science for this unit focused on coral reefs, which was also fun. We really enjoyed Gail Gibbon’s book on Coral Reefs. Her illustrations are always so beautifully done.

Antarctica 

We took the super abbreviated tour of Antarctica! If you are behind on the curriculum and wondering when would be best to condense units, I would suggest Antarctica. Since there isn’t a permanent civilization on the continent, there simply isn’t as much to talk about or explore. I do highly recommend reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins while you are in Antarctica, but we love it so much that we’ve already read it twice and weren’t ready to repeat it. So we watched our youtube videos about Antarctica and Emperor Penguins, read the included texts listed in the manual, and then quietly packed away our official ECC materials a week earlier than planned.

 

Overall, ECC was a great year. I personally learned a great deal of geography, which is one of my academic weaknesses. We really enjoyed our little tour of the world, and read so many wonderful books that we might not have read otherwise. We’ve loved both of our years with My Father’s World, and I highly recommend them as a wonderful curriculum choice.

Yet, I felt nothing but relief when I packed away our ECC materials today. It’s not the relief of finishing a school year, because we aren’t done by any means. We have three weeks of work left before we can begin our summer break.

But there’s a great relief in finishing what we started with MFW. It feels sort of like my own graduation. For the past two years, MFW has led me and taught me how to educate my children. I’m grateful for it. But I’m also excited to now be free to chart my own course.

So we’ve completed ECC, yet we’ll be continuing geography and culture in our own way next week. We’re heading to Ireland! Ireland wasn’t included in the curriculum, but it is my favorite country. So it will be our final destination in our year of geography, a reward for finishing our curriculum well. The boys will each get one more stamp in their passports. We’ll indulge ourselves in Ireland’s great stories and fairy tales, we’ll plant a fairy garden, we’ll listen to Gaelic music, we’ll eat Shepherd’s Pie, and my husband and I will drink a pint or two of Guinness. 😉 No map work, textbooks, workbook pages, or checklists. Just pure enjoyment as we finish out our school year!

 

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