Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet Ed Mouse!

"Hi! I'm Ed Mouse . . . the educational mouse! Guess what? It's time for learning . . . and fun!"

Each morning, when she logs on to her online homeschool lessons, my eight-year-old could choose to bypass Ed's cheerful greeting. She doesn't, though. She sits right there and waits for the short intro to conclude before proceeding to the day's school work. I suspect this small ritual helps her transition from free time to the serious business of studying.

After years of listening to Ed Mouse introduce his siblings' lessons, my four-year-old was delighted when he realized the preschool program at Time4Learning is actually hosted by Ed. Familiarity has bred an affection for the animated, blue computer mouse with an alarm clock on his tummy.

When I saw The History of Ed Mouse, I knew I had to share it with my children. My husband says I can turn anything into a unit study, and maybe he's right. The little website provided a week's worth of supplemental education for my homeschooled children.

We learned some terminology: character, logo, story board.

We designed logos to represent our favorite activities.

We poured through magazines to find logos for a logo collection.

We used a story board to write our own cartoons.

We looked at some early Mickey Mouse cartoons and compared them to today's Mickey. Then, we looked at the early sketches of Ed Mouse and compared them to Ed today.

We discussed mascots and chose a mascot besides Ed to research and write about.

We printed some pictures of Ed and glued them onto photographs of ourselves. (Those were the covers of our homeschool journals that year.)

We love the Little House on the Prairie books, but the descriptions of the children's school days leave me feeling sorry for them. The students spent hours with a small slate, often sharing a textbook, diagramming sentences and working math problem after math problem. No wonder the teacher needed a ruler to keep them all on task!

Ed knows something I have long suspected. Kids learn more when they're enjoying themselves. Having a cartoon character associated with their school lessons adds an element of fun that my children appreciate.

Do you or your kids count yourselves as Ed Mouse fans? Tell us about it!

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