Category Archives: Unit Study

Unit Study Theory 101 – Class 3

education3Welcome to the third and final class of Unit Study Theory 101.   For today’s class I will be answering the question, “How do you make weekly plans for unit studies?”  However, before we get to that, I’ll explain how my longer term plans are designed.

After years of having a messy planner, (erase marks, comments in the margins, and scribbled out assignments),  I gave up traditional planning and threw the planner away.   It seemed like we hardly ever “stuck” to the plan because life happened, we took advantage of unexpected learning opportunities , or  group activities would consume a day or two.   Sometimes assignments  took longer or went quicker than I expected them to.

Keeping a journal works much better.  I keep my journal in a binder.  The first page is this printable from Teacher Files (I changed the months to match our school year).  I fill in some of the  blanks as we start each month,  the rest gets filled in as it happens.

Making a “possibility” list of topics and the subjects it will include for the current unit study is the next page in my binder.  I add  the start and finish dates as they happen, (or cross out what we didn’t do). The next page is where I record resources.  I print off themed notebooking pages for my journal (usually the same pages I print  for the kids notebooking/journaling assignments).  When the unit study is over, I begin a new possibility list for the next study .  This a simple way to keep track our learning.

I love sticky notes for weekly planning .  Usually  Saturday is the day I make the upcoming weeks plans.  I look over the special days list first to see what  I want to be included in our studies for the upcoming week.  I write that on a sticky note and place on the weekly chart.  Next, I put extra curricular activities on other sticky notes and add those to the chart.  Finally, I make  sticky notes for daily assignments (based off of my “possibility” list) to add to the chart.  At the end of each day, I move the notes to my journal to record later or move the sticky note to the next day if the assignment needs more time.  I found this chart at the $Tree for us to use this school year.  In the past, I made my own weekly charts on poster board.


Fridays are left blank on the planner.  This is the day to catch up on any uncompleted assignments or free study and group activities.

Other related posts :

The first class of Unit Study  101, click here

The second class of Unit Study 101

Listing of special days in August

About our homeschool Fridays

If you have questions or comments, please leave them for they may be helpful to others.

Happy planning!

betty jo

Back to School Shopping

Today I have blessed.  Currclick has gone out of their way to encourage homeschooling families by offering an awesome sale.

I subscribe to Currclicks  e-mail listing and use many of their free offers and sometimes even spend a dollar or two.  But, this sale is more than that.  This sale is more like them saying, “We support homeschooling, we care about you and want to help you out.”

I am having fun looking for notebooking, copywork, and lapbooking materials for our US History unit studies we’ll be starting in the fall.  I’m not spending much more than time and stocking up my files.

For those of us who pull our resources from different media, and are on limited budgets, this sale is perfect.

The great deals end July 29.  Here’s the link!


Happy Back to School Shopping!

betty jo

Unit Study Theory 101 – Class 2

education3Welcome back to Unit Study Theory 101.  Today’s class will be covering the answer to the question, “How do you keep records for the subjects covered in a unit study?”

First, I want to make it clear that the way I keep records is partly because the state of Kentucky mandates that I keep attendance records and scholarship reports.   Some state laws do not require such records and some laws require more.   If you are unsure about what is required of you, then you can find help here or here

Author, Dave Ramsey uses an acronym often when giving financial advice, “KISS” it stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”.  I don’t like it put that way, however it is a pretty good system for most everything.  Let’s change it to “Keep It Simple, Sweetie” for our purposes. OK?

My record keeping system is as KISS as one could be.  The subjects (in an abbreviated code) run across the top and dates run down the left side.

The chart ends up looking a bit like graft paper and continues for 15 days. So, it takes 3 copies per 9 week grading period.

With this form I check off the subjects covered each day.  If my child did an extra good job they get a check with a “+”, or if they could have done better, they get a check with a “-“.  If I have a % grade (spelling or math test) or a letter grade (notebooking, essay, report) to record, I just put it in the correct box instead of a check.  After nine weeks. 45 days,  I average the grades in the bottom columns.  I count a check+ as an “A”, a check as a “B” and a check – as a “C”.  I also include a note about field trips, activities, or other comments.

You are welcome to use my daily subject checklist form if you’d like.



If you missed the first post  Unit Study Theory 101, you can catch up here.

Class 3 of Unit Study Theorey 101 Planning the Unit Study Week,

If something was not clear, or if you have questions or suggestions, just leave me a comment.

betty jo


Viking_BoatRecently a friend asked about our Viking studies from last fall.  Here are the links I had saved.  I thought I’d pass the collection on to those of you who might be thinking about a Viking study as well.

Movies to include:  Veggie Tales: Lyle the Kindly Viking,  Brave, and How to Train Your Dragon

Interactive History Games

Unit Study and Labook Printables

And another Unit Study and Lapbook Printables

Leif Erickson Biography Resources                                                                            

paper dolls printables  (this site is interesting, it is written in (perhaps?) Scandinavian so I have very little idea what it says, but wonderful art to browse)

Arts and Craft Projects

Walkthrough type videos

168 page English to Norse dictionary.  (we didn’t spend much time learning this, but it was an interesting list to look over a few times)

And this was our chalkboard wall mural!

chalkboard viking

betty jo

Considering the Moon


Psalm 8:3  “When I consider your heavens,  the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars  which you have set in place,”

Sunday, June 23 is the date for the Super Moon and an excellent opportunity to “consider the moon”. .  

According to NASA,  “The Moon will reach its closest distance to the Earth at exactly 7:32 am EDT (4:32 am PDT) on 23 June, but because it will be peaking in the early morning hours, both 22 June and 23 June will put on similar shows. So either day will be a good opportunity to see the larger-and-brighter-than-normal Supermoon.

This year the Supermoon will be up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical Full Moon is. This is a result of the Moon reaching its perigree – the closest that it gets to the Earth during the course of its orbit.”

You can link to the full NASA article here

If interested in a moon unit study, I recommend the free lapbook resources Sun, Moon, and Stars. We used these last summer when we studied the moon missions.

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For teachers and older students I recommend this article, The Moon: A Faithful Witness in the Sky.

This site has 200 “moon” related learning links!

And for something a little silly and active try this

betty jo

Flag Day

flag“This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past, or the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.”  (President Woodrow Wilson)

Americans have been celebrating Flag Day since before President Woodrow Wilson declared June 14 to be a national commemoration in 1916.  We will have a flag and pledge study day as part of our summer calendar studies and a jump start on our upcoming American History unit studies.

Below are the best links I found for our homeschool to follow as we review and learn about our flag.

US Flag Picture Gallery                                                 

Flag facts, etiquette, quotes, and instructions on how to cut a perfect 5 pointed star from the Betsy Ross homepage

About the pledge and why it is important

pdf for the pledge in sign language

Flag Day word puzzles, coloring sheets, and more printables

Notebooking paper                                                                             

Flag Facts, Activities, and more!                                            

betty jo




This past school year I added some character development studies to our homeschooling lessons.  These studies have proved to be a great opportunity for our family.  Homelife Ministries has wonderful family character quality guides.  E and B found much to notebook and journal about and as a family, we found much to discuss, memorize, and put into practice.  J, Z, and I made several lapbooks of the same studies from Homeschool Share.   The Homeschool Helper Online has some good ideas for character studies, too.  (Links are at the end)

I was able to include the subjects of Bible, History, Science, Music and Language Arts into each study making for simplified days with lots of time to pursue elective interests.  These charactier development lessons were a welcome break in between topics in our usual history studies.  We  completed six such studies this past year.  We will be adding more next school year.

“Pay attention! ” “Watch what you’re doing.”  “Listen.”  These are things parents say to their children on a regular basis.  I know I say these often during our homeschooling days, whether it is during math, cooking, art, or whatever.  If I would listen, I would hear the Father saying those same words to me just as often.   Attentiveness seems to be an across the board kind of character trait that both my children and myself need to further develop.  Attentiveness was good place to start with our new studies.  Though all of our character development lessons were good, this one was my favorite.  This one is also the most reviewed one.

This is J’s and Z’s attentiveness lapbook.   I covered the back with  clear contact paper so they can do the wordsearch puzzle with washable markers again and again.

 attentive 1  attentive 2

Below are the free resources I used for this and our other character development studies.  These are the links I’ll be going to again as we continue our lessons when our homeschooling starts back full time in the fall.

Hymns, Scriptures, application, examples, and science connections for copywork,  notebooking, journaling, and discussion from  (scroll down a little bit then select the character quality from the list on the right sidebar)

Lapbooking and notebooking materials

A few more ideas from

For other posts about character development and and  and

betty jo

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Keeping The Code

knightsI usually learn as much as the kids do in our homeschool. The “all things middle ages” that we have been researching this school year has been quite educational for me.  Recently, I realized that I want my sons (I have 4 of them) to be knights.  Not the modern ones such as Paul McCartney or Elton John, but the kind of knights from the middle ages.  Well, minus the jousting.

As a knight in training, a boy would start off as a page at 7 years old, (I have a 7 year old).  He would be responsible for some chores, he received an education and learned to read Latin. He was taught manners, and learned and practiced skills that would serve him later.  Not a bad start, huh?

At age 14, (I have a 14 year old, too),  the page became a squire. This was his time of apprenticeship with a trusted knight. Real one on one tutoring and hands-on studies happened here. Practical life skills and life or death lessons were learned.  Responsibilities were increased.

When the knight in training turned 21, (oh yeah, got one 21, too), he was ready to become a noble knight.  But first, before he was dubbed, he had to vow to keep The Code of Chivalry.  This is the real reason behind my wanting my boys to become knights.  These young men swore to protect the weak, fight wrong, seek justice, be loyal to friends, and be fair to all people.  They promised to be  true, gentle, faithful, and brave. They pledged to honor and respect women, to be generous, and to dare to do right.  I want my sons to develop the character needed to be able keep to this code.

I have daughters, too. One is my own, and one that we pretend is mine.  I do not want them to ever be helpless damsels in need of being rescued.  I want them to be well educated, trained, and practiced in their callings, too.  I think this Code applies to them as well.  And definitely should apply to their future husbands.

Here’s the link to the Code of Chivalry and everything else middle ages:

And here’s the link to free lapbooks on knights which includes a simplified knight’s code: and knight connections

And here’s a random pic that showed up on my Facebook newsfeed , seems to be appropriate.


betty jo

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