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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Unit Studies for Homeschoolers

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

Unit Studies are a great way to encourage a love of learning.  A Unit
Study is a method of organizing a child's learning experiences within a
framework of a single topic or theme.  For example, a unit study on
"horses" might include reading fiction about horses, studying horse
breeds and anatomy, calculating grazing acreage and feed needed to
keep horses, reading about the history of horse racing or horses in
combat, a museum visit centered around horses in artwork, viewing
movies about horses, writing poems and stories about horses, and
drawing horses.

Unit Studies can be adapted to appeal to any learning style and can
combine a variety of homeschooling methods and approaches.  (
Learn about Learning Styles gives a nice quick run-down of the
different ways different kids like to learn.)  Unit Studies are also a
common choice for parents who need to teach multiple children at
different grade levels because the children can read and do activities
together but complete assignments at their own level.

This form of "integrated learning" is very popular with homeschoolers of
all ages, but especially with PreK - 6th grade.  It can be used as the main
method of learning, as a supplement to any method, as a fun "summer
break" activity, or as the basis for self-directed learning projects.  A Unit
Study that is based on a child's favorite interest is a great way to start off
a new school year, or to begin schooling with a reluctant learner.  Try
creating a unit study based on video games, football, Anime, hairstyling,
or desserts - the possibilities are endless.

Unit studies can be easily pulled-together using library materials,
reference books, and Internet websites, so they are frequently
parent-created.  Unit Study lesson plans can also be purchased from
several sources, such as those listed below.

Curriculum Suppliers and Other resources:

Here is a sampling of curriculum that incorporate Unit Studies and some
independent suppliers of Unit Studies.  If your child enjoys
computer-based unit studies, you may find other interesting resources
listed under the "
Computer-Based Instruction" and the "Independent
Research" sections.

Home Schooling With Frugal Unit Studies by Nannette Gilbert has a free guide to help you plan and organize your
own, parent-created unit studies, plus several free examples online.

Homeschool Share -- an on-line cooperative of moms writing unit
studies... because many minds make light work, over 95 free unit studies!

Five in a Row - by Jane Claire Lambert - (preK - 6) literature-based
unit studies,  provides 5-day lesson plans and activities for each book
covered, lessons for ages 2 - 12, arithmetic not included,  optional Bible
supplement available

Ruth Beechick - in her book "You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully"
educator Ruth Beechick describes her approach to a Christian-focused,
literature-based, eclectic style of homeschooling that encourages unit
studies and pulling together curriculum from the library.  She also wrote
the "Three "R's" Series" for teaching K - 3rd at home.  Her books include
when to teach various topics within the general subject areas.

Moving beyond the Page - (currently K - 3) a literature-based
approach, provides lesson plans and activity sheets that are built around
four themes each year, incorporates a variety of children's books (fiction
and non-fiction), that are included in the curriculum packages

KONOS - (K - 8) character-building unit studies based on Bible verses,
emphasizing hands-on activities and projects, provides flexible weekly
goals and daily suggested activities, offers multi-grade options in each
volume,  math, phonics, and grammar not included,  encourages
discussion, emphasizes history-based dramatizations and dress-up

The Weaver Curriculum -  (K - 6) Bible-based unit studies contained in
5 volumes, teaches all grades at the same time, supplements available
for PreK and 7 - 12, provides Day-by-Day lesson plans - the parent reads
the lessons then presents to the students, lots of hands-on activities,
science is related to the Bible theme of each chapter, optional tests
provided, distributed by Alpha Omega Publications

My Father's World -- Bible-based complete K - 1 curriculum, geography
and history for 4th - 8th grades, uses hands-on and multi-age unit study
approaches, integrates character development and Biblical worldview,
Kindergarten includes a multi-sensory phonics approach to learning to
read, aims for children to read short sentences by end of K

Learning Adventures - ( 4th - 8th) history and literature based unit
studies that incorporate Bible studies, a projected five volumes guide
children thru history from anceint Egypt to (in the latest of three books)
the 1860's, includes 180 days of lesson plans for all subjects except
math, science is tied to topic being studied

ArabesQ Islamic Academy - character-building unit studies based on
Islamic Character traits or attributes of Allah, a "Classical Islamic Unit
Studies " approach, provides lesson objectives and weekly lesson plans,
options for multi-grade teaching (K-10) in each volume, math and phonics
not included

Homeschool Learning Network -  a supplier of unit studies which  
include links to articles, music and art resources, list of books, provides
no specific lesson plans - parents/students use what they want, includes  
multi-level teaching (for all grade levels).    Most learning is online.  Try
some of their Free Unit Studies

Amanda Bennett's Unit Studies - supplier of entirely Internet-based
unit studies  

Learning from Baseball -- from, links to lesson plans,
websites, and online games that center on baseball, focus on math,
science, or history... or create your own Baseball Unit  Study

Animals in Art: Animal Symbolism from The Incredible @rt Department
-- a collection of resources (history, culture, artists) and lesson plans, all
you need to create a unit study on animal symbols in art!

Lego Lessons! from -- great ideas for Lego-focused
activities you can incorportate into your own unit studies

"4 2 Explore" Thematic Pathfinder - a collection of "lists of 4" websites  
useful for exploring over 200 topics, great for creating your own unit
studies and webquests, arranged by subject area

A to Z Teacher's Stuff Thematic Units -- dozens of themes with online
resources listed for each (crafts, recipes, activities, printables, etc)

PBS Art: 21 Online Lesson Library -- great ideas for constructing your
own unit studies around art themes

EDSITEment by the National Endowment for the Humanities - free
K-12 lesson plans and unit studies     

TRISMS - Time-Related Integrated Studies for Mastering Skills - for
middle and high school, can be student or parent -lead...  options for
multi-level teaching.   Math not included.   Science does not include
experiments.  Emphasizes critical thinking and analysis, provides
structure but gives student choices, no textbooks, emphasizes research
skills, students create their own course book, including a time line,
biography questionnaires, worksheets, quizzes and tests, quite a lot of
writing , uses readily available real books (historical fiction, biographies,
and movies

The Noah  Plan - (K-12) Christian-focused, described as an "American"
Classical Education Approach and Curriculum...but easily adapts to a Unit
Studies approach,  can be used to teach different grade-levels at same
time.  teaches French starting in K, includes online support forums and
mentors and an optional online academy directed at teaching parents
how to teach the curriculum.  

EDSITEment -- free lesson plans based on various and diverse works of
literature, each would make a nice foundation for a unit study for the
older student, a project by the US National Endowment for the Humanities

Cadron Creek Literature-based Unit Studies --unit studies built
around several bok series -- Little House on the Prairie, The Chronicles
of Narnia, and Anne of Green Gables   

Lap Books -- a crafty 3-D way to display facts and artwork as part of a
unit study,  some examples can be seen at
Scrapbooking to Learn,
Peakmore Academy, Chavez Creative Publishing, Templates by
Donovan has directions for various envelopes and folding elements,
instructional books and supplies can be found at
Tobin's Lab, there is
also a
Lapbooking Yahoo Group,

Online Support

Unit Safari -- a group where members contribute materials to form unit
studies on a chosen topic, then a compiled list is sent to each member,

Unit Study Collaborative -- members contribute suggestions to help
each other create unit studies on a topic chosen by the group,
Christian-focused, but others welcome
"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing".
-- Dale Carnegie

"...since we can't know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it
is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out
people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to
learn whatever needs to be learned." -- John Holt
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