Thank you so much!
Something I've found helpful is The Checklist by Cindy Downes; she's a veteran homeschool mom who is a unit study guru :-) She has several studies on her site, as well as helpful information for how to set one up. The thing I like about The Checklist is that it actually lists pretty much everything you could want to know about a subject - famous people, timelines, geography, scientific discoveries, vocabulary, cultural info, books and authors, composers, famous events...the list goes on and on. It's great for narrowing down what to study when, and you can check off what you've covered so that you're both aware of any gaps and you don't end up covering the same thing three times in two years :-)
Here's the link to Cindy's site:
I would make a sort of outline of where I planned to be at the end of each month in order to cover the amount of History I wanted. (I would write what year in history i planned to be done with at the end of each month on a calendar.) Then I would break that down into weeks. I would similarly note science topics to cover, then I would fill in the details about a week or two in advance, and even some things as we were doing them. That way you have a plan to follow, a goal, but maintain flexibility to add in what you want, when you want.
I would study Math separately from the Unit studies though, its too easy to miss key concepts if you are haphazard in that one subject. :-)
Simply make a list of the topic's you'd like to cover this year.
Then take each topic, and if you like the unit style just learn as much about it as you are interested in.
Some of our units have been as short as 2 weeks, and one or two stretched out over 3 months, and the kids still read books on the time period after that on their own.
Since I know that most of my friends stick to a strict 4 to 6 week time schedule for each unit because they like to cover all topics, I have found that in our case it is best to put those that need to be covered on the top of he list, and those that we did not get to are moved to the summer, or next "school year".
A good book series for unit studies is, the Kaleidoscope Kids Book Series by Williamson Publishing, they have a lot of information, and hands on activities.
You can always get extra library books, and DVDs as additional resources.
Many libraries carry the series as well, and they have everything from the Pyramids to Going West, Bridges, Real World Math Weather Forecasting and so on.
For the Kaleidoscope Series:
Other good books that can be used for unit studies are the Internet liked Usbone books.
Have fun, and go with the flow.
I did my first six years like that. First off I had a book that told me what my son needed to know by the end of the year. I would also buy yearly workbooks. Like third grade in review, those kind of workbooks and use them as test. To make sure he was learning what he needed to know. My unit studies were planned a month at a time. I tied to keep with his interest and sometimes that can change month to month, so you need to have your kids input as well. Then you go to the library once a week and get the books you’ll need or the software. We did a lot on the computer, but not the internet. He didn't get on the internet until he was a teen. Mom’s rules.
It’s been a few years since I home schooled, so I don’t know if the books I used would be helpful. Check out school supply stores and your states home schooling requirements or what the regular school have to do and of course, do better.
I loosely schedule want I want to do as part of a year plan. Then, as we go through the year, sometimes it matches up, sometimes it doesn't. ;)
For right now, be very specific about the different units/topics you are going to cover under your main topic (American westward expanstion to now). Break that down over your school year so each topic gets roughly the same amount of time.
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