Although I don’t generally use unit studies in our homeschool, I do like them for occasional study, and I like how unit studies integrate subjects. With summer coming up, if you’re looking for something fun to do with your kids that will be good enrichment but not overwhelmingly textbookish, I’d recommend a unit study book like The Curiosity Files: Platypus from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
This e-book is a great reference about platypuses and includes helpful suggestions for activities to reinforce what your child learns about the animal. If your kids are younger like mine, they will probably really enjoy the coloring activities and making the platypus burrow with dried beans for the platypus babies, and older kids might be interested to find out how scientists figured out the taxonomy of the platypus and how the platypus finds food via electroreception in its bill.
Other sections in the e-book include a set of studies about how to care for the earth God created and how the platypus reminds us of God’s creativity in creation, ideas for how to use the platypus theme to practice math and science concepts like classification, counting by tens, percentages, and the like, suggestions for writing activities, spelling and vocabulary, geography study of Australia, and a list of books about platypi.
Since my kids are 5, 3, and 2, we didn’t cover a lot of these topics in great depth, but they did enjoy doing some of the crafts and learning about classification and taxonomy. We looked up Australia in our atlas and tried to decide how we would get there from Indiana. I checked out most of the books on the reading list since we usually like to learn through literature, and we especially liked the illustrations in A Platypus, Probably. Hannah read Platypus! out loud to us.
If you have an interest in particular animals or topics, an e-book unit study guide like this one might be really helpful to you, whether you homeschool or are just looking for something interesting to do with your kids after school. In the past when we’ve done unit studies (like the unit study we did on The Netherlands) I’ve just done my own research, but if you’re pressed for time I can see how it would be nice to have everything outlined for you. The $6.95 you pay for the e-book might be worth the couple of hours you save scouring the library and Amazon and looking up ideas online, unless you just enjoy doing that sort of thing, which sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.
In addition to Platypus, the Curiosity Files series also includes unit studies on other animals, insects, and natural phenomena. Some of them are only $1 right now!
If you’ve tried unit studies, how do you use them? What are some of the best ones you’ve tried?
Disclosure: Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, Old Schoolhouse links are not. The Old Schoolhouse magazine sent me a complimentary review copy of the Platypus unit study, but I was not compensated for the review nor required to post a positive response. Opinions contained in this review are my honest reaction to the book. Whew! That was a lot of disclosure.