Posts Tagged ‘unit study’

Unit Studies Accommodate All Learning Styles

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

unit-studies-learning-styles

Unit Studies are wonderful at accommodating all learning styles. When you tie all your learning together into one theme, you make it come to life for your auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. You splash yourself into that topic, grabbing great books and DVD’s about that topic. Let’s say you are studying sharks. You choose books that go in-depth on that topic. Grab a book about sharks and open it. Someone who specializes in sharks wrote this book. If you were reading information about sharks in a textbook, that information was not written by someone who loves and studies sharks; it was written by a person who writes about all topics with generalities.

Learning Styles

In case you are not familiar with learning styles, you will find the three main learning styles below. Auditory learners learn best through their ears, visual learners acquire information through their eyes, and kinesthetic learners understand a topic through hands-on learning. All students master material best through hands-on learning (imagine learning how to drive a car without actually doing it!), but some students prefer to do fewer real-life projects.

1. Auditory Learners

Now read that shark book to your kids. They hear the information from a living book that sounds like it’s coming from a deep sea diver instead of a classroom teacher. DVD’s are also auditory, as the kids can listen to the sloshing sounds of water when a person is in the deep ocean, being circled by shark fins.

2. Visual Learners

The visual learners see all the large, gorgeous shark pictures. Because the pictures are so lovely, your kids are able to identify different kinds of sharks because they are paying attention to the large and gorgeous details. No textbook can possibly have as many gorgeous pictures about sharks as a shark book does. The textbook doesn’t have enough space because it has to cover so many topics in a superficial way that is insipid, boring, and impossible to remember.

3. Kinesthetic Learners

Your kinesthetic or tactile learners love to do hands-on activities. They can go to a city aquarium and see live sharks being fed. The students can watch first hand as the shark’s torpedo-shaped body cuts through the water with alarming speed.

Do you see why unit studies are so brilliant? All of your students can use their best learning style, plus they have a chance to experience the topic.

Come back tomorrow to see why unit studies are superior to textbooks in every topic other than math.

Unit Studies 101

Day 1: What is a Unit Study?
Day 2: Unit Studies Accommodate All Learning Styles (this post)
Day 3: Unit Studies vs. Textbooks
Day 4: Acceleration Through Unit Studies
Day 5: How to Put Together a Unit Study

Unit Studies 101

Monday, July 21st, 2014

unit-studies-101

Over the next 5 days, I will be giving you a crash course on unit studies in a series called “Unit Studies 101.” By the end of this series, you will understand why I love unit studies so much, and why my students are so far ahead in their content areas of learning. My kids are able to retain their learning with much greater efficiency, and all while having fun and not being rushed!

Here is a preview of what will be coming up this week:

Unit Studies 101

Day 1: What is a Unit Study? (this post)
Day 2: Unit Studies Accommodate All Learning Styles
Day 3: Unit Studies vs. Textbooks
Day 4: Acceleration Through Unit Studies
Day 5: How to Put Together a Unit Study

What is a Unit Study?

A unit study is an educational approach where you integrate all your subjects into one theme. This is ideal for many homeschool families who teach kids of multiple ages, and they want to focus on one time period or topic in science at a time. For example, if you are learning about Ancient Egypt, you tie your history, literature, art projects, writing assignments, and field trips into that time period. Retention is higher when learning is approached this way, and all learning styles are addressed.

A lot of people think that unit studies are something that people add on to an already overloaded curriculum. But no; this is not the case. It replaces the other curriculum except for math and learning how to read and write. You can choose a spine or backbone to your study of history or science if you want (by using a pre-made curriculum), or you can use books from the library alone.

Unit studies simplify your homeschooling significantly. After the kids do math first thing in the morning, you are only doing one theme for the rest of the morning. You don’t feel rushed to splinter the day into tiny bits that are almost schizophrenic. If you have 4 kids, you don’t have to teach 4 different science books. Instead, you go deeply into one topic until you master it, then move on to another topic. You will cover all your sciences in depth way before the kids in the schools. Simple. Deep. Fun.

Where is the Joy in Your Homeschooling?

If you have no joy in your homeschool, you are probably using a method other than unit studies. Unit studies are the most effective, long-lasting, and fun way to teach any topic. Your kids will laugh and have fun while splashing into the theme of the unit. Brothers and sisters aren’t isolated into the solitary confinement of their rooms to do their work separately while yawning. Instead, the whole family does read-alouds and dramatizations of the themes being studied so that relationships between family members are built.

Come back tomorrow to see how a unit study addresses every learning style for your students.

This Unit Studies 101 series is linked to Hopscotch with iHomeschool Network:

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Gideon Unit Study

Friday, March 14th, 2014

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My kids have been filming videos to bring the entire Scripture to life for kids, and we are now doing a Gideon Unit Study. The videos are all uploaded into the huge Bible section of the Treasure Vault. We have been studying each of the judges of Israel, and the kids had so much fun re-enacting the story of Gideon.

First we have Gideon approached by the angel of the Lord, who tells him that he is a valiant warrior. Gideon is bewildered by this greeting, and he is told that he will deliver Israel from the Midianites. He asks, “Why me? I’m the least of my family.” But the Lord promises to be with him.

Grab some fleece (either some cotton or a pillow) and tell the Lord that you need a sign, to know if you will succeed in battle. The fleece needs to be wet at first, with the ground dry. Then you realize that this could have easily happened naturally, so you flip it around and say that if the fleece is dry and the ground is wet, that has to be God. And so it was.

Gideon was commanded to smash down the Baal and the Asherah, and the people were angry. When they got over the shock of the destroyed idols, they joined Gideon to go to battle against Midian. Tell the soldiers to go home if they are scared. Most of the soldiers are scared and go home. Then throw a blue blanket on the floor, and the soldiers need to drink the water from the blanket river. Those who lap the water after scooping it with their hands win the lottery to go to war. All the others must go home.

Now is the fun part. After Gideon sneaks into the camp to overhear the enemy having a dream of being conquered, Gideon divides the soldiers into 3 groups. Try to have pots you can smash on the floor. Otherwise pretend to smash the pots. Hold up the torches or flashlights. This is especially dramatic when you perform it in a dark room, but we filmed it in the daylight. If you want to make a craft of a torch for the Gideon story, my friend Ticia made some out of Q-tips. Then blow some trumpets, or pretend to blow trumpets and shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”

If you want to make this scene out of LEGOs, you can find the instructions here:

Here are some of the drawings that my children made for their Bible notebooks. The first one is a comic strip:

gideon-comic-stripgideon-drawinggideon-illustrationgideon-unit-study-2

Sign up below for a free Bible crafts e-book!

If you enjoyed this Gideon Unit Study, you will love all the hands-on activities for Bible class in the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Caves Unit Study

Monday, February 24th, 2014

caves-unit-study-2The following article contains an affiliate link. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

cavesIf you do a caves unit study with your kids, you really ought to go visit a real cave. Try to find one in your area. Looking at real stalactites, stalagmites, and columns in the depths of a dark, dripping cave in the recesses of the earth is an experience every child should have.

We are using the chapter on caves from Earth and Space by Bright Ideas Press as the jumping-off place for this unit study. The book provides 14 vocabulary words that you can write on index cards, so that you can know the basic vocabulary having to do with caves. We labeled the three main cave formations on a printable page provided in the book: stalactites, stalagmites, and columns. My kids also colored a beautiful cave coloring page:

caves-unit-study

We also did the science experiment to grow a speleothem (a cave formation) using Epsom salts. Because our air is extremely dry, growing crystals is difficult. We had to re-start the experiment when I discovered that the string was bone dry on day 3. The string has to be wet for crystals to form. My husband told me to put a cardboard box over the entire experiment to retain the humidity, and it worked better. We filled in a chart provided in the book, drawing the crystal formations over the course of 10 days.

stalactite-experimentMy daughter and I decided to create a cave out of terra cotta clay, pictured at the top of this post. Isn’t it pretty? It took us a total of 5 minutes, since the clay was softer than usual. We formed stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.

If you are unable to go to a real cave during your caves unit study, here is a virtual tour of a cool cave, as well as a fun cave art activity:

If it’s snowing outside, you might want to build a snow cave. Then grab a flashlight and have fun inside your cave. Here is a video tutorial, with tips on how to be successful with making snow caves:

Look at the icicles hanging off your roof, and explain to your kids how stalactites form the same way!

Here is an underground cave map, to help you identify the different cave formations:

Finally, here is a video describing all the activities that can be done during a Caves Unit Study:

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