Today is the first day of school. (Applause from all the mamas ready to get back to routine…crickets from the children. You can’t win ’em all.) Like usual, I’ve got a list of unit studies planned for this year, specifically in the history and art area–sorry science, we are totally winging it this year. We love learning with unit studies and I get asked a lot about our them.
How do you plan them?
What’s a spine?
How long should a unit study last?
If you have wondered these things, then read on because this post is for you. Also, if you’re interested in a pile of fabulous books from Candlewick Press, perfect for unit studies, read on as well…I’ve got something for you.
Here’s a simple rundown of how to plan a great unit study you and your kids are going to love:
1. Choose your subject and evaluate your timeline.
For us, most of our unit studies are on history with a little bit of random interest studies thrown in–such as our unit study on bread. I don’t really know where that came from. Whatever it is that you want or need to study this year, make a list of the topics you’re choosing to study and try to approximate how long each topic will take you. If you are studying WWII and you know your boys will dive in and read tons on the subject and want to watch every documentary out there, you might want to allow for several weeks. If you’re studying something with a more narrow scope of information, choose a shorter timeline. I find that our best studies are between 2-4 weeks.
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2. Choose a “spine” for your study.
3. Find books to support your study.
How to find great literature to support your study
- ask your librarian to help you…chances are there’s a whole section in your library waiting for you
- shop book sites that publish rich, interesting content like Candlewick Press
- look through your own shelves…you may already have a collection of books that will suit your needs
- spend some time looking on Pinterest–check out my history and book list boards as well as Candlewick Press’s themed boards
What types of books do you need?
4. Include all the senses.
5. Create a study portfolio.
6. Dive in and trust the process.
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