Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Country Studies - United Kingdom

We are about to begin week 3 of our World Geography Tour and loving it!  

Some background on our study's development and planning
I've mentioned a few times that Dale's learning request for school this year was to learn about "foreign countries."  Actually, he said "forrigan" so our first lesson was a pronunciation one. ;)

After an extensive curriculum search I still couldn't find exactly what I was looking for (especially in a price range I was willing to spend) so I did the only thing I could... set out on my own.  I have put together resources from my own collection, our local library, and the internet.  The downside is the time I didn't want to spend on this element of our school, but being able to customize our learning just right for our family (for basically free!) is worth it.

Our goal is to briefly touch on as many countries as possible.  We are spending one week on each country, hoping to cover 22-25 this school year.  The boys and I studied their jumbo atlas and chose together which countries we want to know more about.

The topics covered vary by country, but each week will usually contain some general geography facts, culture, language, art/music/literature, history, and so on.

I am learning quickly there is no way we can cover all that is important or interesting about a country in only a week!  But again, our goal is a global picture, so we take our week and then move on.

Week One - United Kingdom Inspired by the Olympics, we began our journey 'round the world in London.

Our lessons included:

- What should we really call that place over there anyway?  "England" vs "Great Britain" vs "United Kingdom", and colored a map to distinguish each of the country's 4 parts.

- What an island is.

- The origin of the UK flag and it's nickame, then coloring the flag.
Origin of the Union Jack:

- The UK National Anthem and where we've heard that familiar tune before.
National Anthem:

- William Shakespeare
We read a brief biography...

.... and a children's version of the play Twelfth Night.

- Scotland.  Though our studies focused mostly on England/Wales, we also listened to a youtube video of Scottish bagpipes, 
read Wee Gillis...

and Alan completed this little bagpiper paper craft:
Scottish Bagpiper

- Castles.  A large portion of our week was spent on studying castles: their history, their purpose, their structure, and the type of lives those in them lived.  We found the "Age of Castles" series from our library helpful.

The highlight of this portion of the week was building our own castle!  This was a huge hit with the boys, and even led to Dale being given a set of medieval 'army men' for his birthday for more castle play.

All that was required was a printer, crayons (optional), scissors, and glue.  
We found clothespins and jumbo paper clips helpful.  The majority of our work was done during Brooklyn's and especially Tyler's naptimes.  I did a lot of assisting and directing, but Dale (9) and Alan (almost 6) were able to do most of the work themselves.
Build your own medieval castle:

On a related note, we read through an official guidebook for the Tower of London:

- Henry VIII / Elizabeth I.  Dale and I read Good Queen Bess, a brief picture-book type biography of Queen Elizabeth I (which included an even briefer look at Henry VIII),

and I went on to read a biography of Henry VIII.

We followed the UK with Spain (post forthcoming) and this week we move on to France.  The good news?  We can still get good use out of that castle!

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Kristin said...

I wish I could sit in on your class every day! You are learning so much!

Aishah O said...

Great info !!!
Really informative and helpful for me...
paraphrase uk
Thank you...