The last theme I shared was when we had a Dinosaur adventure! We've enjoyed a couple of themes since then, which you may have seen on our Instagram or Facebook, but I haven't collated them into a post here ... until now! Australia is a unit I repeat with my children most years through their childhoods. We usually start with Aussie animals and move all the way through history, geology, geography, literature and politics as they grow. This, of course, is because we live here!
We already had a large number of Australian books including a shelf full of Aboriginal Australian stories I've collected for over two decades. With Zeah my emphasis explored the first nations culture and stories more than I had with my other children because I had just finished studying a fascinating, transformational unit through University of Tasmania called Indigenous Lifeworlds. I now realise that we need to have these stories, this culture, as the basis for our ongoing learning. One book I highly recommend for families is Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor and illustrated by Blak Douglas. It is a wonderful introduction to the Uluru Statement and Treaty, which are important topics in Australia today.
We are so incredibly lucky to be able to walk outside our home and explore Australia! We had the pleasure of visiting the Koala Gardens and Birdworld at Kuranda, as well as Hartley's Crocodile Adventures where we got to see up close many of the animals depicted in our picture books and games, worksheets, and colouring books. I was rapt that our go-to for printables, Twinkl, had plenty to keep Zeah busy too!
I added some new board and card games with Australian themes to our collection because I couldn't resist the beautiful artwork! The game Walkabout was a hit with all ages. It's fast and fun! A lot of Zeah's learning is through games and play, along with excursions wherever possible.
We collected some plastic Aussie animal figures from the op shop and friends which were used to act out stories and for general imaginative play. Puzzles, colouring books, documentaries, worksheets and crafts were regular activites for us during this themed unit, as they are for most of our homeschooling.
We immerse ourselves in a topic and keep going until Zeah starts asking about her next unit, which is when I gather the resources and finish up our current one. I always plan four units each year - one per term, but we generally complete three, and the fourth gets carried on to the next year. Knowing the units in advance helps me collect free and affordable resources and think about activities and excursions to suit.
Another super exciting discovery I've made recently is that Outschool offers online classes suitable for Aussie learners! They have Australian teachers, classes with Australian content, and thousands of classes available which suit our time zone! I'd previously checked out Outschool and loved the concept, but not the timing of the classes. There's a great Facebook group where parents recommend classes suitable for Australian families too, which makes the searching easy (I love personal recommendations too). Zeah's favourite classes to date were a couple of Bluey Escape Room sessions, of course - because... Bluey! She does classes between around 10am and 2pm Queensland time, which is perfect for us.
Following this Australia unit, we explored Insects and Minibeasts - a favourite of most early childhood learners and educators alike. I'll post about that adventure soon, and then let you know about our current journey into outer space! I hope these unit study posts are inspiring you in your learning, and I encourage you to let me know about your homeschool life by email. Happy homeschooling!