Saturday, June 20, 2009

Scout School

Maybe it is mostly because I have a child packing up from Boy Scout Camp right at this moment, but I've been thinking a lot about ways to incorporate scouts into our school life.

I think this was in a past post, but my older boys are all scouts. Connor is so close to making First Class in Boy Scouts, and hopefully I'll find out in a couple hours that he passed his BSA Swimmer test (if so, he'll make First Class in another couple weeks).

William is a Webelos II, and counting the months (I'm sure it will be weeks soon!) until he crosses over to Boy Scouts.

Thomas is a Bear, which is an incredibly wonderful year of scouting -- I think it is my favorite Cub Scout rank!

Richard doesn't get to start scouts for another eleven months. Too bad there isn't a Lion program in our council, he'd be thrilled beyond belief.

Anyway, in planning out the school year, sort of anyway, one thing I'm looking at is that Connor should finish up Physical Science midyear. He's has mapped out his road to Eagle scout it Excel (or Numbers, I forget which) as he is learning from his mother that a spreadsheet is the answer to virtually every problem.

One of the merit badges he has to earn for Eagle is Environmental Science. Now, we keep hearing that this is a tough one, and a lot of kids do it at camp. He wasn't old enough to do that this year (Camp A says you have to be 13)... and it is a double-session, and a lot of writing and all. He's planning to do it at camp next summer, assuming that the camp they go to offers it.

But... well, what if *we* do Environmental Science ourselves? He can easily find a merit badge counselor, and between the merit badge book and other resources, we could make at least a semester course out of it. Which saves me from purchasing a "real" science program until 8th grade. Anyway, The Jason Project has a free online curriculum called Operation: Resilient Planet that sure seems to dovetail nicely with the merit badge book.

And if we start in February, William could join in too, so both boys could earn Environmental Science.

So, that train of thought has been niggling at me for a few weeks, actually. But this week, I started expanding that. Especially looking at the things Thomas has in his Bear book. Since I don't have a set history (or science) program in mind for William and Thomas this year, what if I outline their school year based on Bear requirements? I'm sure I'll be getting some fun things to do with the TOS Review Crew, and maybe something that would make me dump the Scout School idea. But for planning purposes now, why not plan my year around the fantastic and broad BSA suggestions for what a 3rd grader ought to know? It could look something like this:

  • Tall Tales: a whole bunch of folklore stuff, including mapping where the stories are set, could add the tall tales unit from LLATL Orange (I think it's Orange)
  • The Past is Exciting and Important: some things with the history of your community, your family history, etc.
  • Ride Right: bicycle safety and riding

  • What Makes America Special: learn about your state, about some famous Americans, write about what makes America special to you, etc.
  • Be Ready: mostly first aid, which William will probably be doing in Webelos this month
  • Information Please: has to do with all kinds of sources of information -- newspapers, tv, online -- we'd visit the newspaper, and field trips are always good :)

November: (we don't "do school" in November, so this would be more *fun*)
  • Sharing Your World with Wildlife: visit a zoo, learn about some animals
  • Build a Model: pretty self-explanatory!
  • Tying it All Up: ropes and knots
December: we'd probably skip entirely

  • Law Enforcement is a Big Job: obviously, a bunch of stuff dealing with the role of the police, crime prevention, etc.
  • Saving Well, Spending Well: finances, money management -- New Year's resolution time seems perfect for this!
  • Jot it Down: another good New Year's thing -- making to do lists, keeping a journal, writing a thank-you note

  • Building Muscles: fitness activities, and Connor & William are planning to start Personal Fitness in February, so this would be the perfect time for Thomas too.

And then start fitting in electives... including, of course, Water and Soil Conservation while his brothers work on Environmental Science. The electives are great... Space, Radio, Nature Crafts, Swimming, Repairs, American Indian Life... to name a few. Maybe I ought to be including some of those earlier in the year.

I don't know... I keep thinking this would be a great "spine" and I can let my review stuff fill out the year.

But now, I better get dressed and moving and go pick up my son...


Unknown said...

I think this sounds like a great plan! I've been thinking about the Bear year for Jonathan too. Let me know what resources you decide to use. I need to order the bear handbook, but you have given me a really great idea of what's in there...

Debra said...

I am really liking the idea of doing this, so I will certainly post as I figure out what I'll be using! Stay tuned!! :)