January 6, 2011

NEW UNIT: Babies/Geography

I'm having a baby in two months.

I know that isn't pertinent to all of you, but it does play a part in why I'm putting a hold on animal classification (I'm really sorry all of you who are starting the unit this January and expected to have my unit plans to assist you--I promise I'll finish up amphibians and mammals after baby arrives) and switching to a babies/geography unit.

I was inspired by my own pregnancy and that Miriam and Cowen are old enough to have a sincere interest in the process of growing a baby and in how to help take care of their soon-to-arrive youngest sister. Emeline has always been a little mother, so this unit was created with her in mind as well.

I was also inspired by the wonderful documentary Babies.

I'm sure you've all seen it by now, but I'll tell you what I love about it. First, I love that the movie illustrates that mothers love their babies. All mothers, all over the world. Second, I love that it shows how much mothers need other mothers. I was jealous of the African mothers who were so connected to each other. They were never isolated, off in their own house doing their own thing without adult companionship for hours and days at a time. Third, I love the scenery--just beautiful. Fourth, I love that the film provides such a powerful testament that mothering is cultural. It makes you really stop and think about why you do the things you do. It makes you wonder if we're not just a bit overprotective around these here parts. It makes you wonder what CPS would do if you tied your child up so you could go milk a cow. Not saying I'm going to do it, just . . . saying. And lastly, I just plain loved watching the babies.

I decided that the movie would perfectly whet my children's interest in the places the four babies live while building on their already high interest in babies.

And thus, a unit was born.

We started the unit today.

First, we went downstairs and watched the movie together. As fair warning, there is a lot of nudity in the movie--mostly breasts as nursing is a major baby activity. Also, the San Fran mom shows off her backside as she gets out of a hot tub with her baby. I didn't find it offensive. I thought it was all very natural, very National Geographic, and very okay for kids. However, you should definitely preview the movie as you might feel differently.

My children loved it. They laughed hysterically when the Tokyo baby has her melt-down fit when she can't get her toy to work properly. They laughed at the older Mongolian boy tormenting his baby brother. They were totally charmed by the African baby's smile. Basically, they loved it as much as me.

After we watched the movie we returned to the couch and read two books about babies.

Babies: All You Need to Know by Deborah Heiligman.
What's Inside Your Tummy, Mommy? by Abby Cocovini.

I read through a lot of books about babies development in the womb and how to take care of newborns while putting together this unit. Many of them had too much information for my little, little ones. These two I thought were particularly good without going overboard in the info department.

My children enjoyed both books, but they enjoyed more that after I read the books I bared my belly (I don't often do that as I don't often have time to just lay around letting the kids poke me) and let the kids examine to their hearts content. They poked, prodded, pushed, listened for a heart beat, and giggled when the baby pushed back. I was glad baby woke up and moved around for them as she usually is pretty quiet during the day. We were able to identify a few body parts of the baby (or we had fun thinking we'd figured it out), and she even did a great spasm-like movement that made my whole belly shake and jiggle and wiggle. My kids were in heaven.

It was a good kick-off to what I hope will be a very fun and successful unit.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I was just surfing the internet looking at homeschooling blogs and I just had to say that I loved this idea! What a great idea that sounds like so much fun all around. Loved that movie and love the idea of using it to kickstart learning about both babies and those areas of the world.