When your homeschooling feels a bit tired and needs a life, try putting away the text books for a couple of weeks and dive into a unit study! What a great way to refresh your child's love of learning and change it up a bit for Mom, too.
1. Choose your topic The best resource here is you and your kids! What are you interested in? What seems relevant to your life right now? What questions have your kids been asking lately?
2. Choose a "skeleton" or foundation resource Lisa's favourites are books that list several items within the topic you've chosen. The Table of Contents is really valuable for this step. Here are some ideas:
Material World use this book as a starting point for country studies
Encyclopedia of the Dog go through each dog breed and develop projects for each one
Biographies use these as a guide to study famous and important people
Kids Book Of (Canada, Canada at War, etc.) series these make an excellent foundation for your unit study
National Audubon Nature Guides use the different sections in the book to organize your study
3. Make a plan of action Ask yourself the 5 Ws & H. Who do I know that has knowledge to share in this area? What do I want to cover? Where will we go for field trips? Why are we doing this and what are my goals? When will we do this study? How should we cover the material?
5. Track your learning How will you present your finished unit study?
d. A party or dinner with friends
e. Self publish a book
f. Major field trip (maybe a vacation to the country you studied.
6. Save the outline It's a good idea to save the outline for your unit study in case you'd like to do it again in a few years with younger children or share the idea with your homeschooling friends. Have fun!! Example:
Step 1: Unit study on dogs
Step 2: Foundation book: Encyclopedia of the Dog
Step 3: Goals: dogs & humans, anatomy, dog behaviour, breeds (two from each group) and pet care. One week for each topic. Field trips to vet clinic, pet store, and rescue centre.
Step 4: Gather your resources: Five True Dog Stories, Train Your Dog Like a Pro, Favorite Dogs Coloring Book, Dogs to Paint & Color, Old Yeller, Dogopoly, Where the Red Fern Grows (Book & Video), websites, and library books.
Step 5: Digital scrapbook each week's study then have the book printed. Kids draw or paint their favorite dog breed and have it framed or to use as the book cover. Volunteer to walk dogs at the local shelter for the summer....
Looking for a place to start collecting great material for a Unit Study? Here are a few lists that might help to get your creative juices flowing!