Unit Studies Help

Unit Studies
“This journey in learning begins by yielding to those childlike wonderments that tease our minds, things like Why do stars shine? You know, all those questions that kids drive us crazy with! Turn those questions into studies, have fun doing it, and learn more than you ever dreamed possible... Letting your child choose topics of interest makes learning exciting, relevant, and challenging.” Barbara Wagner in The Joy of Discovery.

The unit study gives you and your students an opportunity to explore more advanced and complicated subjects than are available in traditional textbook grade-level studies. It provides the climate for the student to advance at an individual pace using his or her preferred learning style. While providing an atmosphere for meeting all school objectives, the unit method is flexible and provides a way for you to integrate grade levels. You can provide a balanced education for the whole person: mental, physical, spiritual, and social.

Children can acquire an abundant wealth of knowledge while exploring their areas of interest. Research, exploration, creativity, and freedom from bookwork has the potential of impacting the student so much more than filling in the blanks of someone else’s ideas. Besides, it is more fun to write meaningful reports and letters.

What Is a Unit Study
In a unit study most subjects are integrated around a main topic from a content subject such as Bible, science, or history. Language arts, handwriting skills, spelling skills, math skills are all integrated into the pursuit of the main topic. (For a child with immature skills, however, drill is not omitted. Rather, the unit method presents the practical use of skills and motivates the student to greater mastery.)

Choose a science or social studies topic from your student’s objectives or follow a topic that has piqued interest. List the areas to cover, an introductory activity, skills to learn, and a culminating activity. A book, field trip, or resource visit are effective “kick-of” learning experiences.

Plan early for your culminating activity. Serve a dinner based on a menu from the land you study, perform a skit, or visit a related historical site. Thanksgiving or Christmas programs or a display/presentation to a home-school support group provide exciting endings to a study. If the objectives cannot be met from the unit study itself, fill in with textbook studies, emphasizing they are reference materials. Remain flexible, adjusting as you go, as long as goals are being met and interest remains high.

Hewitt’s Unit-Study Resources
The Joy of Discovery: How to Teach with Unit Studies


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Barbara Wagner’s innovative approach came from her own experience working with her students. She guides you step by step into taking the leap from boring textbooks, into learning that is driven by student interest. Her approach starts with the individual student deciding on a topic, forming an inquiry by asking questions, and then lastly providing instruction by answering your questions. She gives plenty of actual examples, besides keeping you safely within bounds by following Hewitt’s Learning Objectives.

Learning Objectives for Grades K-8


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Hewitt’s Learning Objectives has been around for decades. Rather than being the modern-core standards, these are skills that a group of thirty teachers (who worked with home-schooling parents) developed to help parents be sure their students were learning the skills they needed to keep advancing. Subjects covered include language arts, math, science and health, and history and geography. There are also brief goals for art, music, and character development for Grades 1-8.

The Joy of Discovery & Learning Objectives for Grades K-8 Set
Buy these two books together in one binder and save 27%.


My First Reports


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If you want some help bridging the gap between standard-grade-level curriculum and wild unit studies with no boundaries, My First Reports gives you an easy way to try out an organized unit study. Pick out a topic with your student - anything from wild animals to Lewis and Clark. Working through the questions in the first part will guide the student in report writing and doing research. The second part is a unit study on the topic drawing from the standard school subjects. Elizabeth Kamath, author of Hewitt’s Elementary Lightning Lit guides says, “These are nicely organized and provide a great chance for creativity.” There are 24 studies, each on a different topic. You can see most of the topics covered under “Related Items” at the bottom of Set of 14 My First Reports (2826). Our online catalog also has a list of the titles.

Unit Study Helps Materials
See each item below for further description and sample pages.

The Joy of Discovery
Learning Objectives for Grades K-8
Joy of Discovery/Learning Objectives Set
My First Reports

More Advantages
Too often younger children get pushed into boxes that are too structured for their age, and/or ignore their learning types. Young boys quite often have trouble sitting at desks for hours on end. By using unit programs, with more hands-on activities, which you’ve developed to dovetail with your student’s interests, you provide the outlet needed to use up some that natural energy while encouraging a love of learning.

This brief introduction does not reflect completely the richness of the unit method, nor does it show the abundant wealth of knowledge children will acquire while exploring their areas of interest. We cannot give you the full impact of the potential of research, exploration, creativity, and freedom from bookwork. We cannot show you how much more children are impacted when they write meaningful reports and letters rather than just filling in the blanks in a workbook.

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