Unit Studies

Refresh Your Child's Love of Learning
When your homeschoooling 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:

a. Material World
use this book as a starting point for country studies

b. Dog Encyclopedia
go through each dog breed and develop projects for each one

c. Biographies
use these as a guide to study famous and important people

d Kids Book Of (Canada, Kids Book of Canada's Railway, etc) series
these make an excellent foundation for your unit study

e. 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 W's & 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?

4. Collect resources
a. Home library
b. Friends' libraries
c. Public library
d. Internet
e. CanadianHomeEducation.com

5. Track your learning
How will you present your finished unit study?
a. Journals
b. Scrapbooks
c. Videos
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 firends.  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 clininc, pet store, and rescue centre.
Step 4: 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.

Resources to help you create your own Dog Unit Study are:
Dog Encyclopedia: The Definitive Visual Guide (new edition)
Train Your Dog Like a Pro
Big Red (novel)
Dogs to Paint or Color
Favorite Dogs Coloring Book
Five True Dog Stories
Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds
Draw 50 Dogs
Resources for a Dog Unit Study Bundle