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Topic: Question on Unit Studies

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Subject: Question on Unit Studies
Date Posted: 1/13/2008 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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I have read some from people who do unit studies.  I read one place where a woman gathered all things together for a unit study into a box and had it ready before actually starting the study.  I really liked that idea, and wanted to try it for myself, because i thought it would be good to have everything I could think of together on a unit, ready and in place, in case son wanted to know something on it. 

I guess what I am wanting to know is ......When doing unit studies, do you end up having things left out from original plan, extra books left over not read, etc.?  I am thinking on my own here that this is ok....but somehow I feel like I am always "digging for more".....never quite "finished" gathering stuff for unit study, and by the time I get it ready, he has lost interest before i even get to start.  I wanted to try to get a few ahead here and there, have a few on hand, so we could go into more than one at a time.....

Any advice?

Date Posted: 1/14/2008 1:10 AM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2006
Posts: 1,620
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I usually go to our library's website and request a ton of books on the topic that we are going to cover a few weeks in advance.  I will also bookmark some internet resources and pull together any other materials I think we might use, but I usually just follow my son's lead and sometimes we will not use all of the materials I've gathered and other times we will head out to the library or back to the internet to get more information.

There are also some times when he just will show and interest out of the blue and will start asking questions about a certain topic and we will just start learning what we can w/o any planning on my part.  That is when learning is really exciting!!!

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 6:23 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Thanks!  Unfortunately, our local library doesn't offer online services.  I tried taking my son to the library, but it was kinda  a bust.  It was so different from his school library, that I think he felt a little lost. And with having a 2 year old also right now, trips to the library are kinda difficult.  Ergo, I have been trying to make our own "library" at home, so he can get used to looking at the spines of the books for what he wants to read (was used to books being laid out where he could see the front cover).  Then, I plan from there to teach him about the Dewey Decimal System, and how to look where he wants to look for what he wants to read.  Also, how to look up to find what he wants to read.  I think I will need to get all that in place before he can actually appreciate the library.

Mean time, I also use the internet a lot :)  Before he ever went to school, we used to use it all the time to look up stuff he wanted to know about.  I think I am getting more of the hang of it now, and I mostly just follow his lead and try to get books/toys/games on his level that will teach him what he needs to know when he needs to know it. 

I do get impatient with myself and get worried from time to time when we have such a big gap in learning time (currently, hubby is between jobs, and there is zero money in the budget for books....even trading is mostly out because I am low on books to trade with).  I am trying to get my online crafting business up and running again, so I can use it to fund his/brother's education, but that takes time.  I worry that I will make him regress from what he has already learned....but it seems that it doesn't take but just a few minutes of conversation to get him up and running again.

Thanks!

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
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How old is your son?

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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We use living books for science and you could call our studies of science kind of like unit studies but honestly we don't encompass all areas into the unit (language arts etc.) I have been using Kathryn Stout's Science Scope which is a check list of topics to cover by elementary grades, middle school and high school. I really like it because it helps me realize when we've covered a topic enough. Actually using picture books and reading a bunch on a topic I find we not only do some middle school 'content areas' but a few high school 'content areas' as well.

I used to worry when using 'real' children's books that I'd have big gaps or would not be 'doing enough'. HTH.

 

Here is the link to Kathryn Stout's website. She sells other books too. Oh and her recorded lectures have been informative for me as well. She speaks at some HS conferences also.

http://www.designastudy.com/

HTH.

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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We use living books for science and you could call our studies of science kind of like unit studies but honestly we don't encompass all areas into the unit (language arts etc.) I have been using Kathryn Stout's Science Scope which is a check list of topics to cover by elementary grades, middle school and high school. I really like it because it helps me realize when we've covered a topic enough. Actually using picture books and reading a bunch on a topic I find we not only do some middle school 'content areas' but a few high school 'content areas' as well.

I used to worry when using 'real' children's books that I'd have big gaps or would not be 'doing enough'. HTH.

 

Here is the link to Kathryn Stout's website. She sells other books too. Oh and her recorded lectures have been informative for me as well. She speaks at some HS conferences also.

http://www.designastudy.com/

HTH.

Subject: A Library Tip
Date Posted: 1/16/2008 4:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2006
Posts: 1,620
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I often try to take my kids (2, 3 & 5) to the library and I know how difficult it can be.  If your 2 year old will ride in a stroller, it might make it easier for you.  I usually pick out a couple books for my 2 year old first and then I can give my older 2 some attention while he is looking at his book in the stroller (until he throws it).

Here is a library tip that might help you since your library doesn't have their catalog online.  Thanks to the Dewey Decimal system, you can use another libraries online catalog to help you.  For example, if my son is wanting books about cheetahs (which he always is), I can go to any libraries online catalog and type in the keyword "cheetah."  After looking at several, I see that most of the cheetah non-fiction books are found under 599.759.  I can then go to any library and look in that section and find the books about cheetahs.  If you can do this at home before you go and have him take the list, he might feel like he has some direction and it won't be so overwhelming.  You can go straight to the section he is interested in and then he can just look in that one section. 

I would also encourage you to make friends with the children's librarian.  I have found ours to be extremely helpful when we have needed help locating a book on an obscure topic.  You might even be able to call ahead of time and ask them to pull some books for you on a given topic or even ask if they would be willing to do a quick library lesson/tour with your son.

Best of luck to you!

Date Posted: 1/20/2008 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2007
Posts: 51
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Thanks guys!  BTW, he is almost 8.  And I just went to link in another post on here about the Dewey Decimal System.  I believe i might go that route with him first, let him get more comfortable with that, before we go back to the library, then possibly wait until the library is his idea to do (things seem to go better that way for us).   As to the librarian...imagine my surprise when I walked into the local library and discovered the head librarian there is an old childhood friend!  I was so delighted!  We hadn't seen each other in years, and used to get into all sorts of prankish stuff together!  We had  a blast!