Attentiveness Unit – Week 1
Our first week back at school started with a pretty rough Monday. I usually don’t like to take such a significant break from homeschooling. In fact, I’d prefer to take off a week here or there throughout the year than take months off. But the remodel on our house has brought chaos to a level I never thought possible. Now that I’ve decided to teach all the girls together, we’ve temporarily moved into the dining room while we (yet again) rearrange the room I originally designated as the school room.
We had a lot of chatter and distraction the first day. I chalk this up to the kids feeling excited/apprehensive about what to expect this year from school.
We started each day defining attentiveness: what it meant and what it looked like. Then we recited the Bible verse for the week (Proverbs 4:20) and prayed. Below I’ve outlined the books and online resources I used to teach this first week.
*This page contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.
Movie: Miracle Worker (story of Helen Keller)
Inside the Ears was an excellent text for learning about the ears. It was colorful and very easy for even the younger ones to understand. I highly recommend this series of books (called Super Simple Body) and have already purchased Inside the Eyes for use in a few weeks. It also provides easy science experiments, with many items you already have around the house. One of these experiments was the tin can telephone, which didn’t work out as successfully as I had hoped. The younger ones didn’t understand the importance of keeping the string taut and kept walking around the house in an attempt to hear the other person!
My girls really enjoyed The Listening Walk. During spring and fall, our family takes many evening walks after dinner. This book helped teach them that walks don’t have to be filled with talking and that listening for different sounds can be quite entertaining.
Can You Hear a Rainbow was a different read for us since the girls are so used to hearing fictional stories. This book was told from the perspective of a deaf boy. They were intrigued by how different his life was and the small things we take for granted. After reading this book and watching the movie, Miracle Worker, I taught each of them how to spell their names using the deaf alphabet. They loved this so much and my oldest even went on her own to learn all the letters so she could spell things to me the rest of the day!
Over the course of the week we watched segments of Miracle Worker. The whole movie is on youtube and since I don’t own the DVD, we watched it via our Wii. I haven’t seen the older versions of this movie, but we thought this one was very well done. It showed only a small portion of Helen Keller’s childhood and I had hoped it would go further into her young adult years. I should have picked up another library book prior to the movie to help the kids understand who she was and how she was an important woman in history.
*UPDATE*: I found this free resource after we finished the Helen Keller study. This looks like an excellent follow-up to the movie.
Middle Ages music description
Hildegard Von Bingen coloring page
Hildegard von Bingen music sample: Canticles of Ecstasy
Renaissance music description
William Byrd music samples
Baroque music description
Vivaldi: music sample, coloring page, craft for Four Seasons
Bach: music samples (Air, Toccata/Fugue), coloring page
We absolutely LOVED the ear song and will definitely use this youtube channel for other body part songs. The catchy tune was easy for the kids to follow and sing along. We listened to it every day and by the end of the week they knew most of it by heart.
KONOS starts out this unit of attentiveness by studying the ear and its parts, as well as introducing kids to different styles of music. KONOS does not teach chronologically since the main focus is character trait development. To help kids understand the order of events, we will be creating a timeline, starting with the composers we plan to study. I didn’t follow the curriculum book on the composer lessons. To make things simpler, I put the music styles chronologically myself and taught them about the first three: Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque. We listened to samples of each music era and talked about the instruments available to musicians at the time. The girls looked forward to the coloring pages of each composer (though I couldn’t find one for William Byrd) and I plan to have them create a composer book with their pictures once this unit is finished. They had the most fun identifying the different music in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. This kids guide was an excellent resource!
Overall the week went well. We did have a few hiccups along the way and can see the benefit to dedicating 15 weeks to the character trait of attentiveness. I also want to encourage the kids to be attentive to the needs of others and lend a hand when they are able. I’ve asked that they be looking for ways we can pray for their friends and other families and relatives. Attentiveness is more than listening with your ears and seeing with your eyes…it’s about opening your heart to the hurts and struggles of other people and finding out how we can be a blessing in their lives.