Answer: Anybody! Well, it's not quite that simple. In this post on the "who" of unit studies, we'll talk about how students and parents can create unit studies. As you'll see, one of the best things about unit studies is that they combine the parent's and child's learning interests!
Coming Up with Ideas
Remember that the key to unit studies is to follow student interests. The job of the parent is to pick up on those interests and turn those interests into a unit study. Parents should always keep their eyes and ears open to what their kids are interested in. If you listen for them, you'll have no problem picking up on unit study cues from your kids.
For example, recently our daughter kept on talking about how a character in a book almost lost her house in the Great Depression. An idea for a Great Depression unit study was born!
Parents can also invent unit studies out of things that they would like to learn more about. If a parent is enthusiastic about studying any give topic, it will surely rub off on their kids.
It mostly falls to parents to pull together materials for unit studies and come up with lesson plans and project ideas. Though parents will shoulder most of the burden, kids should have a role in designing their unit studies as well. For example, in our Great Depression unit study, we gave our daughter a depression-era activity book from the library and let her choose from the options listed there. At the end of the day, however, parents will have to do most of the leg work.
Doing the Unit Study
However, one of the nice things about unit studies is that they can cut down on jumping back and forth between teaching of different grade levels. With unit studies, children of all ages can participate together. Some areas, such as language arts, will have to be adapted, but the ability to synthesize everything is good for the whole family.
Purchasing Prepared Unit Studies
Since unit studies can be labor intensive for parents, some publishers have prepared unit studies for purchase. Feel free to check out Silverdale Press's inventory of unit studies. They are deep and rich and take all of the labor out of unit studies for parents. No trips to the library. No Googling to find documents, writing prompts, and projects!
Why not give unit studies a try in your homeschool?
This week in Hot Chocolate and Current Events, our weekly effort to help homeschool families dig into what's news, we're talking tech.
Some of Apple's shareholders have called on the company to put more limits on how kids can use its iPhones. Read this article from BBC News, and enjoy the discussion!
Unit studies are part of the homeschool lexicon. You may have heard of the "unit studies" method, "unit studies families," and "unit studies moms." But what exactly are unit studies? Over the coming weeks here on the Silverdale Press blog, we are going to be doing a series about unit studies.
Unit studies are a way to approach homeschooling. They are a method, just like classical or Charlotte Mason, though unit studies can also incorporate these approaches. Unit studies are a way or organizing homeschooling material in a way that is much more flexible and integrated than the public and private school systems' subject-by-subject approach.
Unit studies begin with a topic.
Unit studies begin with a topic. The topic can be anything. The topic can be a historical era like the Great Depression, World War II, or ancient Egypt. It can be a good book or series like the Chronicles of Narnia. It could be science or nature topic, like building a pollinator garden. Your unit study topic could be chocolate, Leonardo DaVinci, or Canada. The key idea is that everything flows from the topic.
Unit studies cover a range of subjects or one main subject.
Unit studies can include a variety of subjects. All the subjects will then relate back to the main unit study topic. There can be fiction reading, non-fiction reading, and primary sources. Depending on the age of the students, they can read independently or the family can read aloud together. It is easy to include language arts in unit studies by curating a vocabulary list from the reading and assigning copywork and dictation from the literature. Fine art and music are often easy to bring in, as are electives such as cooking skills. Field trips, movies, trips to historic sites, and a variety of hands-on activities will also naturally flow from the topic.
Unit studies can emphasize one subject more than others. A unit study on the Great Depression lends itself to social studies, since it is a historical period; whereas, a unit study on DaVinci would lend itself to fine art. For example, at Silverdale Press, our flagship Presidential Election Unit Study is geared primarily toward social studies, while our unit study series on U.S. presidents, great Americans, and holiday traditions includes a wide range of subjects, including social studies, language arts, fine art, and elective.
If science does not fit naturally into whatever unit study you are current doing, plan to do a separate unit study that emphasizes science. For example, do a unit study on pollinator gardens while doing a broader one on Anne of Green Gables.
What about math?
While math certainly can be incorporated into unit studies, most unit studies parents recommend sticking with a sequential math curriculum that is unrelated to the unit study.
Next time, we'll look at the "who" of unit studies.
The winter Olympics in South Korea are quickly approaching. Get your homeschool family ready with this edition of Hot Chocolate and Current Events. In the coming weeks, all eyes will be on whether North Korea will be allowed to take part. Read this article and use the following question to spark discussion with your family.
Key People and Terms:
Ever since the Korean armistice in 1953, which put an end to fighting in the Korean War, the peninsula has been divided into the communist North and democratic South. They are divided at the 38th parallel, or the DMZ, where soldiers (including American soldiers) are still stationed today. Tensions in the region are great, especially with the recent development of nuclear capabilities in the North. Kim Jong Un is the leader of North Korea.
DMZ or 38th parallel
The homeschool doldrums can set in during January and February. Rather than give in to the doldrums, resolve to beat them. Set up your homeschool for success during these dark and frosty months by planning ahead. We here at Silverdale Press want to help you plan for success. Below are ideas for daily, weekly, and monthly activities that can help you have a successful winter homeschool. Get out your calendar and pencil and get planning!
Daily: Resolve to get outdoors once a day. Edith Schaeffer once wrote, "Try getting out somewhere into the fields or woods, even country lanes...Walk under trees after snow, or while it is still snowing, and listen to the quiet." Outdoor activity is more restorative than sitting at home on the couch.
Weekly: January is a great time to get started with Hot Chocolate and Current Events. In the cold winter months, this weekly discussion can spur kids to share what's on their minds, including their worries and concerns. Talking is important when the doldrums set in.
Monthly: Plan ahead for a field trip. January and February are great months to use some of those homeschool field trip days. Schedule a trip to a museum or historic site. Do some Web surfing to see what's available in your area. The key here is planning ahead and involving your kids in the planning. Everyone will look forward to the break in routine.
Holidays: Resolve to celebrate MLK Day by doing a unit study. The big holiday in January is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Silverdale Press has just released our Martin Luther King, Jr. Unit Study, for the whole family to enjoy together. Plan to do the unit study the week of January 8-12, and then plan ahead to participate in the MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 15th. Doing a service project is a great way to beat the doldrums by focusing on others.
Daily: Resolve to participate in Audubon's Great Backyard Bird Count. Such a fun way to infuse yourself with nature during the cold months.
Weekly: Are there any enrichment subjects you've been neglecting? Maybe art and music fall into those "neglected subjects" category? Add an artist or composer study onto your weekly Hot Chocolate and Current Events. Check out Enrichment Studies for their art pages and Ambleside Online for their artist and composer rotation schedule.
Monthly: Plan ahead to participate in a public program. Check out a local sketch club, book club, moon walk, or family art program. Does your local library, arboretum, or children's museum have any special events? Now is the time to go to their Websites, register, and get them on your calendar.
Holidays: Valentine's Day and Washington's Birthday are great February holidays to commemorate in your homeschool. We here at Silverdale Press are putting the finishing touches on our new Valentine's Day and George Washington Unit Studies. We will release them by February 1, 2018. Valentine's Day is February 14, so block off the four school days prior to complete our unit study, saving our very special fifth lesson to complete on Valentine's Day. In 2018, Washington's Birthday is observed Monday, February 19 (also known as Presidents' Day in some states). Block off the week of 19th-23rd to complete the George Washington Unit Study.
Our unit studies are also a great way to work in those enrichment subjects. Though they are anchored in history and government, they also cover art, music, crafts, baking skills, and more. Happy planning!
January and February are upon us. For homeschool families, this can mean a big slump. But take heart. You can beat the winter doldrums! You just need to have a plan. Here are 5 tips for doing just that.
Silverdale Press is pleased to announce the release of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unit Study! You can do this unit study any time of the year, but it might be especially meaningful around the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
What You’ll Learn and Do
How to Use
We hope you will join us for this meaningful unit study.
Do you have a budding writer on your gift list? We here at Silverdale Press are gearing up for the upcoming release for our new Persuasive Writing curriculum. So, we know a thing or two about the habits of great writers. Consider one of these gifts to help your friend or loved one cultivate the these habits.
1. Moleskine Paper Tablet: There's nothing quite like capturing your thoughts by hand. The paper is luxurious and the price is affordable. Moleskine products also come with apps to easily transfer handwritten notes from page to screen.
2. Roget's Thesaurus: Every writer should have a copy of Roget's Thesaurus on his or her desk. When the right word just doesn't come easily, a thesaurus can be indispensable.
3. Writer Memoirs: Writers read. It certainly doesn't hurt for writers to read books about the writing life, for both insight and inspiration. Try Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott or The Writing Life by Annie Dillard.
4. Style Guides: Books such as The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White and On Writing Well by William Zinsser give sound advice for writing in a variety of genres.
5. Coffee Shop Gift Card: What writer doesn't love to crank out words at a coffee shops? Ok, some writers don't like the buzz and bustle of cappuccino machines and customers. But many do.
We hope these suggestions help you find just the right gift.
The Mystery Buyer behind the $450 Million da Vinci Painting: This Week in Hot Chocolate and Current Events
Hot Chocolate and Current Events is our weekly effort to help homeschool families connect over the important issues of the day. Discussing currents events at home helps kids develop critical thinking skills. This week, we're talking about art in the news.
Read this article about the mystery man behind a recent record painting purchase. There's also a short video. Mix up a batch of hot chocolate, then discuss the questions that follow.
New York, NY, USA
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Last year, our family made the decision to give books for Christmas. We have loads of extended family to buy for, and a book-centered Christmas has simplified our season so much. Plus, there are few things more lovely and enriching than the gift of a well-chosen book!
In case you are still looking for that perfect gift, we wanted to share with you five books for everyone on your list. Most of these we have given or are giving as gifts. You and your family and friends will love them!