I'm a big fan of unit studies. It took me a long time to make the transition away from workbooks for everything, but now that I have done it, I find I can get much more excited about school. This month we have been studying fish. We got a whole bunch of books from the library about fresh and saltwater fish and the kids have been pouring through them. They each had to pick one type of fish and then do some research about it. For the younger kids, I provided them with an outline of information that I wanted them to find. Next, they had to organize their information into a report - the older the child, the longer the report. To add color to their report, I asked them to draw and color a picture of their chosen fish. The next step will be to have them present their report to the rest of the "class" so that we can all learn some details about more fish.
Since my dad likes to fish, I asked him to catch us a fish so that we could look at it up close and personal. Yesterday he brought us a striped bass (what the lake he fishes on terms a garbage fish. They ask the fishermen NOT to put them back in the lake, so hopefully the fact that we cut this fish up won't upset anyone. I know our cats were happy when we were done!!:) We were able to touch it and look at all of the different parts.
Next, we got out our biology disecting kit and carefully opened it up to study the insides.
My dad also showed us the best way to filet a fish.
I think that one of the things I like most about homeschooling is the freedom to study things as they come up. I got the idea to study fish because we went to a funeral home not too long ago that had a HUGE saltwater tank with some really cool fish in it. We were all fascinated by it and it brought up a lot of questions, so I decided to spend some time learning about fish. I think it is really cool when you can involve members of your extended family in your learning, too. I think my dad really enjoyed sharing his knowledge about fish with his grandchildren. I try to find ways to include grandparents, aunts and uncles in our learning as often as I can. It also helps to show them that we actually do learn things! I'll be sharing more about unit studies in the near future. Please feel free to comment if you have any good ideas or have had a good experience with unit studies.