Thursday, May 29, 2008

Unit Studies Part IV

I spent a bunch of time last week writing about unit studies. If you are still on the fence about whether or not you want to try them, let me just share this example of how easy it is to really set one up.

The other night at dinner we got on the topic of family parties. Our families have a lot of family parties and it has become a joke with many of our friends. One of my daughters relayed a conversation that she had with a friend of hers about their family having a lot of parties, too. My reply was that of course they would, they are Irish. This then led to a lengthy discussion of different nationalities, their drinking and their partying habits. I will spare you all of the details (mainly because I told my children that this discussion was not allowed to leave the house:), but all of a sudden it dawned on me that the history of alcohol would make an interesting unit study. Before too long, my husband, my daughter and I came up with a list of all of the subjects you could cover with this topic.

History: The history of alcohol, the importance it plays(ed) in different cultures, the Prohibition
Chemistry: How is wine made, how is beer made?
Biology: What does alcohol do to your body, why can it be bad for you, how does it affect your mind
Religion: Wine in the Jewish culture, Transubstantiation, the miracle of the Wedding Feast at Cana
Geography: Locate a country, or culture, and research their drink of choice

Of course you can weave in research, writing, spelling and reading into all of this. I suggested a field trip to Napa Valley, California but I got some raised eyebrows from my husband on that one. Instead, he suggested a brewery in Wisconsin which would be much closer.

We came up with a whole unit study (or at least a good portion of it) in under 20 minutes. The neat thing is that if you leave yourself open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, you never know what new things will pop up while you are in the midst of your study. Now, the history of alcohol might not be your thing, but I just wanted to illustrate how you can take a random dinner conversation and turn it into a full topic of study. You just have to have your ears and mind open to the possibilities.

God Bless!


  1. LOVE this idea.
    With German, Irish and Ploish ancestry, I think the brewing of Ale alone could keep us busy for a term!
    Pax, EJT

  2. The Crown PrincessMay 31, 2008 at 11:44 AM

    Ahem. NO, it was MY idea. I came up with it.

    And you always blame me for not giving you the proper credit!