As you remember, last week I brought you two titles from the Ordinary People Change The World Series. This is an amazing series that our family has fallen in love with. So far, every book we have read gives us the opportunity to do a mini unit study. Although we are covering two books a week for you here, we have actually focused on one book a week in our homeschool.
The first book this week that I’m excited to talk about is, I Am Helen Keller. I was actually very excited to introduce her to my boys. Not only do i still remember the report I did in school many, many years ago on Helen Keller, but my boys are learning ASL. Along with their ASL, we have included Braille to give them an idea of how the blind read. We also touched on the ASL for deaf & blind which is a little different since you actually touch the hands of the person you are speaking to.
About the book:
When Helen Keller was very young, she got a disease that forever destroyed her ability to see and hear. But Helen wasn’t a quitter, and with the help of a wonderful, patient teacher named Anne Sullivan, she learned how to communicate-at first through hand gestures and then through speech. She also learned how to read, thanks to an amazing invention called Braille. Helen was the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college, and she spent the rest of her life helping others and making her voice heard.
My boys immediately took to this book and had tons of questions. They were curious about everything. We even touched on how back in those days, a lot of people who had special needs were sent off. We had some wonderful conversations and it was such an amazing learning experience for them.
When I knew this book was coming in the mail, I knew that I wanted to show them what actual Braille felt like. As I mentioned earlier, I still remember every detail when I did my report 30 years ago. We had the opportunity to look through Braille books. I started searching high and low to get my hands on a book so that my boys could experience it. However, once the book arrived and I started reading through it, I discovered that it actually has a page with Braille. They can fill the raised letters and get a better understanding of it. How awesome is that?
I don’t normally quote books very often, but I have to share this.
There’s no such thing as a “normal” life
Every one of us is like a flower that must be watered.
Every one of us is full of potential.
And every one of us can overcome obstacles.
When I read this part in the book, it just immediately stuck. This is such a wonderful reminder for not only kids, but adults.
Here is a peak at some of the things that we did in our unit study.
We already study ASL in our home. My eight-year old asked to started learning a while back, so we have slowly been learning this. I have had to pull from multiple resources, but it has been an amazing learning experience. I’m always surprised at how fast the kids learn it. I sometimes have to ask them if I forget. We have included an ASL flash cards printable that has letters, days of the week and seasons on it. We hope to be adding more in the future for anyone that is interested.
I blind folded them and let them paint me a picture. It was interesting for sure. My youngest is a perfectionist and we had a slight melt down because he wasn’t confident in his ability to paint blind-folded. In the end, we set down and talked about how there are challenges that blind people face that we may take for granted. We also did a sensory where they were blindfolded and had to feel different objects and textures to see if they could figure out what it was.
We also decided to learn a little Braille (you can download the printable at the bottom). We used a black crayon and colored in the dots to spell their name. Then we went back with glue and put dots on top. When it dried, they closed their eyes and felt the raised letters. My eight-year old has been really interested in this, so we may continue and do more with Braille.
Be sure to check out our other Mini Unit Studies