01 May 2015

Homeschooling With Star Wars

I think if there were a homeschool parent equivalent of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em it would be if they show interest in it, capitalize on it.

The Agents love Star Wars. Rather than "just" watch the movies, we translate this fascination into learning.


(Side Note: Even though the first Star Wars movie came out when I was Agent A's age (4.5), I never saw the original trilogy as a child. I did see them all eventually, but I was never that into them, so when the Agents first started watching them they were all "new" to me as well. I have to admit I wasn't sold at first, but now I enjoy them just as much as they do. I am absolutely certain the fact that they star a young Harrison Ford has nothing to do with this. Cough, cough.)

Following are some ways we incorporate Star Wars into our homeschooling.

Read books based on Star Wars. Agents E (9) and J (7) have both read pretty much every Star Wars leveled reader out there, and Agent E has read all six junior novelizations more than once. Recent finds include the Jedi Academy series by Jeffrey Brown and the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger. Agent E has even read one or two of the expanded Star Wars universe books (now known as "legends") from my bookshelf. We are now starting a collection of Star Wars Rebels books as well. And, of course, Agent A enjoys the preschool-level board books

Make math more fun. We were so pleased to discover the Star Wars workbooks last summer as we were planning for this current homeschool year. The only thing I don't like about them is they only go through 2nd grade. Agent J completed 1st Grade Math, and is looking forward to moving on to the 2nd grade version. Even Agent A already has his eye on the kindergarten ones. On a related note, if I print an addition worksheet, or a multiplication table, or a page about telling time with a picture of an Darth Vader or Yoda or an Ewok on it to color, suddenly it's riveting. (Admit it: Eighth grade algebra would have been like a thousand times cooler if all word problems involved Stormtroopers.)

Practice reading comprehension, handwriting, and spelling. Pretty much the same theory here as with math. If it has a character associated with the "assignment" it becomes way more interesting. Who cares if she's practicing cursive by writing out Kitty cats are special or Chewbacca is a Wookiee. She is still learning it. As with the math ones, Agent J is excited to get her hands on the 2nd grade reading workbook as well. 

Watch the movies with closed captioning on. We pretty much do this with everything around here. The Agents are so used to this that they actually get irritated when it's not an option. For fun, we've also changed the subtitles to Spanish and then made a list of the most-used words and phrases.

Introduce science fiction/fantasy as a genre of books/movies. As well as what is fiction? what is nonfiction? and the differences between the two. This of course leads to talking about other categories/styles of writing/reading/entertainment.

Discuss movie productionThis includes the use of special effects, dialogue, costumes, scenery, computer graphics, etc. I don't even know how to answer her questions on half this stuff, but we can always look it up.

Explore other related topics. It's not too hard to connect Star Wars themes to space, geography, history, languages . . . just about anything, really. Once you get started, it's hard to stop. You can find common ground with just about any subject, and run with it.

Face your fears. I will admit this one is kind of corny, but I couldn't resist throwing it in. Some parts of the movies/books (especially the prequel trilogy) are downright scary. But, it has also opened up a discussion about reality vs. fantasy, good vs. evil, and even the use of overarching themes and symbolism in movies/stories. Not long ago I would have considered this connection to be more than a bit of a stretch. But you know what? If it works, it works.

Live and learn, peeps, live and learn.

10 comments:

  1. I think it's a great list of ideas for Star Wars learning. I bet my eight year old would love doing some of it. :-)...I also completely wimp out with math and language arts sometimes. I call it "tablework" and set out 3-4 sheets out on the dining room table for them to do while they're eating breakfast that way I don't have to worry about them getting a little practice in.

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    1. It's a tad sneaky, but it works. ;-) And she's learning it, which is the desired result.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. This is a great idea! I'm planning a Star Wars room for my son right now so this would definitely be up his alley! Thanks for sharing :)

    -Emily @ www.myloveforwords.com

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    1. My daughter would LOVE a Star Wars room. My two girls share a room, and they are talking about wanting to make one half of it a Star Wars theme and one side My Little Pony. Ha! Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. I definitely agree it is important to follow your children's interest. It gives them real reasons for reading and researching.

    My son loves creepy critters and I encourage him to read and research. For his birthday we helped him create a backyard science center. He spends time learning outside every day! http://waddleeahchaa.com/2013/07/25/teaching-children-to-explore-nature-with-field-guides/

    May the force be with you this school year! (yes, my son loves Star Wars too)

    jeannine: waddleeahchaa.com

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    1. That sounds like fun. Just following all the ideas they come up with randomly gives us more than enough to work with. We will *never* run out of "school" things to do.

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  4. I think this is absolutely awesome! I think it's so much easier to take the things the kiddo's are into and translate them into learning. My kindergartner has been rocking some Angry Birds worksheets this year... patterns are much cooler when its red bird, yellow bird, bad piggy! I stopped by from your SITS girls pinterest link, and I'm so glad I did. Us like minded (maybe crazy) homeschool moms have to stick together!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Krista. I never realized how simple it was to make learning this fun. Mine would love Angry Birds worksheets!

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  5. So many really cool ideas. My girls haven't gotten into the whole Star Wars thing... although I'm sure it will come soon... their daddy loves Star Wars!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. Yeah . . . I never expected them to be as "into" it as they are, but they are huge fans!

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