In April we completed our Feelings Unit and it took one and a half weeks to complete. The reason we decided to do the unit every single day is because my oldest son had the same reaction he did when he did a similar unit last year in therapy. In the beginning it was rough because my oldest son has autism and he really struggles with in depth feelings. He can tell you what a happy or sad face is; but when it comes to giving examples of the feelings, he is unable to move past automatic learned responses. I know a lot of this is due to his autism, but this was the first time he got to complete this unit with his brother. His brother is not on the spectrum and is driven by his emotions. Having two kids who are complete opposites on the scale of understanding feelings made this unit different from our other units like health or science. My oldest son loved the arts and crafts and enjoyed listening to the social stories. He grew from shutting down and giving automatic responses to expanding his thinking process. He was able to make a list of things that made him mad and could visually see the differences between his list and his brothers. He was able to make the connection of this unit to past work he has done with other people. He loved the book “Thankful” and enjoyed writing a story about feelings on the last day of the unit. On the other hand, my other son who is very emotionally driven enjoyed answering questions about what makes him anxious or confident. He also preferred to talk about his emotions instead of listening to social stories because of his attention span. He is slightly younger than my oldest, so I am not surprised about the attention span. It took my oldest until he got closer to six to really enjoy listening to stories. Here is how we broke down the days:
The two emotions we did were happy and excited. We did an arts and crafts where the kids made a Popsicle with a “happy face” and they answered questions based on each individual emotion. I wanted to start on a positive note before moving into the negative emotions.
The two emotions we did were sad and anxious. I had the kids talk about times they were sad or anxious. We played a game, “Which crayon reminds you of feeling sad or anxious.”
This day we focused on love. We made hearts and talked about ways to fill your cup with love. A lot of the responses had to do with playing lego with me or watching a movie. Overall I think love was one of my kids favorite days.
This day we focused on confidence and how to build up your confidence. We focused on ways to work towards a goal like building a giant lego tower. To build a giant lego tower, you have to start building smaller towers. Until overtime you become confident enough to build the one you want. My kids overall enjoyed this example since they are lego fanatics.
Day Five,Six, and Seven:
We focused on what it’s like to be scared. This emotion is not talked enough in general because many kids mix up being scared with anger. It triggers their fight or flight response and I find it important for kids to know how to react in situations. Little kids can be scared of small insects or the dark. Talking about scary things can help build their confidence.
We talked about the feeling worry and talked about situations that have made them worried before.
We talked about the feeling Anger and made a game about what pushes your “angry button”. My kids enjoyed figuring out what actually made them mad and what didn’t make them mad.
The last day we made a booklet about how we were feeling that day.
I recommend every homeschool family does a feelings unit because social emotional learning is an important life tool. Every year I plan on doing some type of variation of this unit. What April unit did you complete? Have you completed a feelings unit?