As sad as it is, being blocked from Disneyland during the summer has it's advantages. Avoiding summer crowds and the miserable heat is okay by me. But we definitely miss our weekly dose of Disney. So I've initiated the DisneySchool program!
When we DisneySchool, it is a form of Unschooling. My kids' interests are the guiding factor to what we do and learn about. But instead of asking my kids what they want to learn about, I ask my kids what Disney movie they would like to explore. Not just "watch".. Explore! Because we will do so much more than just watch a movie. Through the magic of Disney, I've been able to identify endless methods of education through Disney movies and music.
The first edition of DisneySchool is the HERCULES unit.
We happened to be on the road from Utah to CA when I asked Marley which Disney movie she wanted to see when we got home. She said Hercules. Perfect! Greek Gods, Greek Mythology, the origin of the Olympics. I told my husband we needed to make a stop in Vegas to go see the Fountain of the Gods in Caesar's Palace.
The kids were in awe at the beautiful Greek paintings and statues. And the "Fall of Atlantis" show was very entertaining! We talked in the car about the discourse between the Gods and how it affected mythological history.
MATH & PHILOSOPHY
I introduced the concept of infinity to my kids, which was developed by the ancient Greeks. So there's even some mathematical concepts that can be studied when doing this unit study.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (Persistence and Faith)
Watching the movie was a fun way to get a foundation on the Greek Gods. Although the movie is not accurate to true Greek Mythology, it provides a motivating and uplifting story of persistence. My favorite part of Hercules, is that the Disney movie focuses on building self-esteem and faith. I was able to discuss with my kids about going the distance, and always believing that they are special, because each one of us is a child of God.
We took a trip to the library and picked up some books about mythology. They absolutely loved the story of Medusa! It even inspired them to take on the roles and put on a play at home. When it came time to write in the learning journal, Marley chose to write a book report on Medusa.
Marley also started reading/listening to the audiobook series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Such a fun book series, similar to Harry Potter but regarding Greek Mythology. We have her set up to listen to it on her iPad and headphones everyday.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION & HISTORY
We learned about the origin of the Olympics. It is said the Ancient Greeks organized the Olympics as a tribute to Zeus of Olympus. They valued strength of mind and body. It was to be a measurement of athletes' dedication to their Gods. We talked about the Olympics as it exists today, and now Marley is very excited to watch the next Olympic Games and cheer on "USA!" Lol. We even held our own family Olympics out of the front lawn. Tug of War, Standing Long Jump, and the 50 Yard Dash were some of the events held. Marley loved being the official announcer and awards ceremony leader. Dylan enjoyed being the videographer of the games.
- Origin of the Olympic Games
- All About the Olympic Games
- History of the Olympic Games
- The Ancient Olympic Games Video
- Ancient Greek Olympics
FIELD TRIP & ARCHITECTURE
Some helpful homeschooling friends referred us to the Getty Villa. It is a fantastic museum in LA, where I introduced Greek type architecture to my kids. We learned about the function and beauty of columns. We were able to see awesome artifacts from ancient Greece. We visited what is called the Family Forum where the entire family can engage is fun activities: designing your own vase and participating in shadow theatre. And the grounds of the museum are gorgeous! I loved this place! And of course we had to show up in our best Greek attire and film a music video. ;)
And just think.. all these subjects stemmed from the movie Hercules.
The idea is to look for a foundation in your child's interests. My kids always love Disney movies and the movies set a good tone for the day. Their minds easily settle into the time period and theme of the movie and it allows them to absorb more information, while having fun.
And I guarantee there are loads of studies that can relate to every Disney movie possible. Go ahead. Try me! Leave a comment with a Disney movie. I may use your suggestion for our next unit study.