Our book this unit, We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt, by Steve Metzger, is Elizabeth’s favorite so far, yet it seems like it’s taking us forever to get through the unit.
Last week, on Tuesday, we began the unit by going on our own leaf hunt together while Paul was visiting at my grandmother’s. It was a lot of fun – to do, and to watch her observing leaves, as she went on a search for leaves of different kinds of trees. We went down through the woods, to the garden, and into the neighbor’s small apple orchard, then returned to the house and met my grandmother as we finished up in the front yard and around the driveway, where there are other species of trees that aren’t found in the woods.
Since then we have counted and sorted the leaves a number of times and ways, adding the element of the number cards to work on number recognition. I’ve found though, that once we did a leaf activity one way, it is hard to redirect her on a separate occasion to a different method with the same materials. Is this because she is such a fast learner, or something of the first child syndrome as seeing things very black and white? It does make it a challenge for me to get the lesson rolling as she tries to take charge and repeat the previous lesson. This is cool, and I try to go along with it for a little while, encouraging her to try to do the new activity as well, or by beginning the new activity and encouraging her to jump in too.
I’m kind of surprised at this mentality in her actually because we’ve always been kind of random in the way we do things. I get bored easily, but have learned that to kill the boredom I usually just have to change one element of the situation, and then I’m content, so I tend to do things like that with the kids. An example would be our nature walks. Nature always changes of course, but where we go on the property and how we get there changes each time we go out. Having Elizabeth kind of stuck in a loop with our lessons kind of throws me for a loop. Not matter, though, we are just somewhere in the learning experience.
Beyond the mental loop, I’m also having difficulty getting her interested in the last few activities of the unit. Unit 4 had lots of work sheets and activities in the workbook which really engaged her even though she didn’t express a whole lot of interest in the book (which actually really surprised me because I thought it was her kind of book), but this unit incorporates these leaves over and over again. Now that we are done sorting them, I just can’t seem to get her interested in repurposing them for gluing activities, like a leaf wreath, which sounds nice to me :).
On the flip side, we’ve been pretty busy and have suffered a (not totally unanticipated) death in the family. As well, we are busy with autumn-time activities like putting up food for the winter from the garden, so it’s not like we’ve been sitting around. I’ll give our last few activities a few more tries this weekend or the beginning of next week (everyday has the possibility of being a school day at our house, especially because school activities don’t take very long and are lots of fun). If I can’t get her engaged, I guess we’ll just move on to the next unit, with the possibility of returning to them later.
Chime in: How do you engage a disinterested learner?