I’ve been looking through Pinterest and there are tons of ideas for great unit studies. Anyone rely on these only for homeschool? Im debating on using these for science and history for my 11 year old daughter or just a new one every couple weeks in addition to her basic subjects. How do you work them in? They seem fun and so informative!
We don’t use JUST unit studies, but I create my own history and science units. Each lasts approximately 1 month. I scour books and the computer for craft, project, writing, reading, songs and sometimes even cooking ideas to incorporate into the given topic. I find this to be so much more fun, interesting and hands on than any of the programs I could buy. It takes a LOT of work ahead of time - I’m currently planning all of our science and history units for next year (Kinder and 2nd grade… so that’s a LOT of units), but my kids love it and they learn a lot. So I wouldn’t think of changing the way we do it.
So exactly what curriculum do you purchase yearly? Do you mind sharing unit studies you’ve done before?
I purchased curriculums for math, spelling, writing, etc… For history and science I refer to the Core Knowledge curriculum guide. I DON’T use their curriculum as I find it incredibly boring. However, I love the topics it suggests to teach each year. And what’s more, I love that the suggested topics spiral throughout the years. What I mean is that let’s say in Kindergarten you study senses. The next year you may review senses and look at human body systems. 2-3 years later you would delve in even further into the human body. We did a unit on the Mayan, Aztec and Inca this year - a month of fun learning about the civilizations. In a few years the curriculum spirals back to these civilizations where you learn more about them, their politics, etc - at a more advanced level. My daughter is in first grade right now. So far, for history, we have done Ice Age, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Geography of Americas - Aztec, Inca, Maya, The Arrival of Europeans (Conquistadors, 13 colonies, etc)… next we are moving to the expansion of America (Lewis and Clark, etc…). For science we have done Dinosaurs, Habitats, Geology, Astronomy, Ocean, Electricity (next we will work on human anatomy, science biographies, etc).
Sorry - that’s a lot of information. I take the suggested topics from Core Knowledge - then I create an entire unit theme around that topic. As I said, each unit lasts about a month. It does NOT take place of our math, reading, writing, etc. I teach history about 2-3 times each week, and science 2-3 times each week. I prepare everything ahead of time (usually the year before) so I’m all set to go when the unit begins. I get mounds of library books and we do projects and experiments, maps, songs, etc. We usually weave at least one small writing assignment into each unit (again, NOT to replace our purchased writing curriculum). I also try to incorporate cooking into it (ie- when we learned about colonists we made a meal of colonist food. When we learned about Mayans, Aztecs and Incas, we made a meal highlighting foods from those areas). I hope all of this makes sense. Feel free to ask me if you have any other questions.
I am planning to use unit studies next year, I still have to read a book I want to order on delight directed studies which is pretty much doing unit studies all year and incorporating the language/ reading/ spelling into that topic but purchasing a math curriculum as it is hard to do Math otherwise.
In the meantime this year while I’m doing my planning I will be purchasing Sonlight and may indeed use it for our future studies while we also spend time branching off into other areas of interest, but when we officially go with delight directed learning I think unit studies will be our main curriculum.
@ triton17 where do I find the list of common core subjects? She will be in 6th grade.
Please don’t be confused - I DON’T do the Common Core stuff… this is different - it’s called Core Knowledge - it came LONG before Common Core. Core Knowledge has a website… here is a link that should work to give the scope/sequence of everything they recommend for each grade level. http://www.coreknowledge.org/mimik/mimik_uploads/documents/480/CKFSequence_Rev.pdf . This link will open a 250+ page document. At the beginning of each grade is a BLUE page - this lists the overall topic headings… that’s where I start… then if I want to know more detail about their suggestions (take the heading Astronomy for instance) then I’ll scroll to that astronomy section of that grade. So don’t be overwhelmed by the vast number of pages. Just search for the 6th grade section and then find the BLUE 6th grade contents page.
The creator of the program created the books called Everything Your _____ Grade Student Needs to Know. I do NOT like these books - but they list all the topics and subtopics as well. I find them at book sections of second hand shops from time to time. I know they recently updated these books, though I haven’t gotten my hands on one to see if they are worth it. Here is a link to the books and some of the other products -
http://books.coreknowledge.org/home.php?cat=312 . They also have an art curriculum, language arts curriculum, etc. I don’t use these, although I do peruse through the lists of suggested books for each grade level. I hope this helps. I used to teach at a school that used this entire curriculum, and while I don’t use all of it, I do know a lot about it. The Core Knowledge website has loads of info and links to their products, but the website can be tricky to navigate. Anyway - let me know if you need anything else.
Thank you so much! You’ve been very helpful!