HOW TO USE THE FAMILY CENTERED EDUCATION UNIT STUDIES
The target audience for most unit studies are ages 3-13. It is recommended that you teach the unit studies as a group, as much as is possible. For many of the books and resources, you may need to teach smaller groups, for example, ages 3-8, and 9-13. This will allow for the most efficient use of time.
Subjects and Topics: The most valuable aspect of the unit studies is the breakdown of topics. Many experts have been consulted regarding the topics and resources. Each unit study includes a variety of resources to support your family’s learning. Most unit studies contain 20 topics. Some contain 10 topics.
Scheduling Your Unit Studies: Set aside time during the week for unit studies, and then use the resources according to the interests of your children. It isn’t helpful to try and use all of the resources provided. Instead, focus on making each learning session engaging, fun, interesting and age-appropriate. Most families set aside 3-4 time periods each week, for unit studies. The duration of these time periods should depend on the ages and interests of the children. It can last 15 minutes or 3 hours! Plan to “complete” each unit study in 6-8 weeks. (“Completion” is when you decide you are done, not when you have finished using every resource! Plan to at least touch on all of the topics in the unit, but be willing to move on if the children are just not interested.)
The Critical Importance of Choice: Learning is most successful when children are given complete choice regarding the use of these resources. Invite children to choose the next topic they would like to learn, from the list provided. Invite them to choose the book they would like to read or have read to them, from the library books you have checked out. Invite them to choose what to write about, choose the illustration, and choose the item to memorize. Typically, it works just fine to have mom choose the activities, special guests, field trips and culminating activities.
Your Unit Study Schedule: It is recommended that you select one unit study from each subject, for each school year. Focus on each selected unit study for 6-8 weeks, then move on to the next unit study on your schedule. Literature and biographies can be enjoyed throughout the year, during daily family reading time.
Unit Studies are comprised of the following 12 items:
1. Library Books: Visit the library each time you plan to start a new unit study, to check out all of the books needed for that unit study. Simply look for suitable books in the children’s section of your local public library. Use the topic list provided in each unit study as a guide for checking out library books. Be sure to check out books that will appeal to the different ages of each of your children. Check out 1-3 library books for each topic, to facilitate choice, and to serve children who want to learn more about a given topic than what can be learned in a single book. The most successful strategy is for mom to read aloud, and discuss the book with the children. Don’t hesitate to skip or summarize portions of the book that you don’t think will engage the children as much as other parts.
2. Student Notebook: Purchase a new 3-ring binder for each of your children, for each school year. Binders with a clear view vinyl cover are recommended, so that children may decorate the cover. Purchase tabbed dividers to organize the subjects for each year. For each library book that you read, invite children to write, type or dictate the ideas they wish to remember and place their notes into their notebook.
3. Illustrations and Graphics: Invite children to draw or paint an illustration for each topic they study, and place their illustration in their student notebook. Alternately, children may find a graphic online, or use the graphic provided in the unit study, to print and place in their student notebooks, with their notes on that topic.
4. Videos: Video links are provided for each topic in all unit studies. All videos have been previewed and carefully selected to insure that they are interesting, engaging, appropriate, and in keeping with common standards of decency.
5. Apps and Websites: Links to educational apps and websites are provided for most topics in all unit studies. These apps and websites provide a place for children to explore the topic. Selected apps and websites provide interesting information, images and activities that are appropriate and at the time they were selected were in keeping with common standards of decency.
6. Activities: Descriptions of simple activities are included with each unit. These activities make learning more interesting, memorable and fun. The activities help cultivate a love for learning in children’s hearts.
7. Timeline: Printable timeline cards are provided with each unit. Families are invited to create a timeline on a wall in their home, or to use a fold-out cardboard booth display sign to post their timeline cards. Post a label horizontally across the top of a large wall space, for each millennium before 1000 B.C. and for each century after 1000 B.C., then place the timeline cards vertically, under the horizontal labels.
8. Field Trips: Field trip ideas are included with each unit study. Fields trips are a great culminating activity, to encourage children to complete a unit study. They are also a great way to introduce a new unit study.
9. Guests: Ideas are included for each unit, for types of guests that you can invite to visit your home or your learning community, to share relevant ideas and experiences with the children, and answer any questions they may have.
10. Memorizations and Recitations: Quotes, passages, poems, and sayings are included with each unit, for children to memorize. Encourage children to select at least one memorization for each unit. Invite children to include their selection in their student notebook. Provide an opportunity for each child to recite the memorized item, at some form of gathering, even if simply during family dinner time.
11. Culminating event: Ideas for culminating events are provided with each unity study, to do at the end of each unit. These events help inspire a love for learning in the hearts of children and cause their learning to be more memorable, meaningful and fun!
12. Gamification: Many children feel a much stronger desire to engage in learning when their learning progress is tracked with a point system, and the points are redeemable for rewards. This is an optional resource to use. Mom determines what rewards are offered, and the point value attached to each reward. Rewards may include privileges, outings, treats or prizes. Some children absolutely thrive when they can earn points for learning tasks. Other children develop the habit of learning for the sake of earning points and not for the joy of learning. Other children are somewhere in the middle, or they start learning to earn points, then fall in love with learning for the joy of it. Some children will love to learn with or without points, but the points promote more learning and even completion of a whole unit. It is up to the discernment of the mother to decide whether or not to gamify the unit studies. Use a new Unit Studies Points Tracker for each unit. Print one per child and place in each child’s student notebook.
Click the subject title to open the Unit Study:
Note: One new unit study will be posted each month, and linked in this directory. Scroll down to find new links.
Myths, Legends, Folktales and Fairytales
Children’s Classic Tales
English Literature for Children
American Literature for Children
Stories of Family Adventures
Poetry for Children
Plays for Children
Exploration and Colonization
The Founding Era
The Civil War
World War II
Ancient Civilizations: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Mesopotamia, etc.
Renaissance and Reformation
Modern World History
Middle Eastern History
General Geography Terms
North American Geography
South American Geography
Antarctica, Australia, Pacific Islands Geography
Anatomy and Physiology
Biographies: Great Scientists and Inventors
Biographies: Great Musicians
Biographies: Great Artists and Architects
Biographies: Great Explorers
Biographies: Great Athletes
Biographies: Great Religious Leaders
Biographies: Great Business Leaders
Biographies: Great Doctors and Nurses
Biographies: My Ancestors
Biographies: Bible Heroes
Biographies: Great Military Leaders
Biographies: The American Founders
Biographies: Great Writers
GOVERNMENT, LAW AND ECONOMICS
The US Constitution
US Presidents and the Executive Branch
The Supreme Court and the Judicial Branch
The US Legislature
Your Community: Cities, Counties and States
Economic Systems: Free Enterprise, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Tribalism and Zion
Forms of Government: Constitutional Republic, Democratic, Unitary, Parliamentary, Socialist, Communist, Theocracy, Aristocracy, Oligarchy