Category Archives: Unit Study

The Winter Olympic Games, But First, The Super Bowl

Winter-Olympics-LogoWe aren’t particularly “sports fans” at our house, but there are some sporting events we are occasionally interested in.  The Olympics is our top sports interest .  The 2014 Winter Olympics begins Feb. 7th.    And, as it happens at my house, where’s there’s interest, there is learning potential.  I have been planning for an Olympic study and been collecting a stock pile of links for our homeschooling lessons.

While transferring the best of my link collection to this post to share with you,  I received a request for help with teaching Super Bowl related lessons.  And I think we came up with a pretty good, quick Super Bowl study.

I have some awesome resources for teaching during the Winter Olympic Games to share with you, but first, here’s some links for Super Bowl related lessons:

Football Music – lesson plans and songs

Football Science Video Collection –

Football Rules –

Graphing Math Activity for younger students –

And More Football Math –

Super Bowl Printables, Crafts, and Activities –

Super Bowl Party Games –

Kid Friendly Super Bowl Recipies –

My family’s favorite part of the Super Bowl – Super Bowl Commercials –

And now, here’s the list of my favorite 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics resources:

The Official Olympic Website –

Olympic Themed Interactive Games for Kids –

Sport Event Coloring Pages –

Support Team USA with a snowflake and a photo

Information about the 15 Sports of the Winter Games

Maps and facts of Russia –

Meet the Team USA Atheletes –

Short videos showing how skis, skates, and curling stones are made –

Winter Olympic article series from Time Kids –

Wordsearch, Crosswords, and more printables

Olympic printables and activities –

26 teaching resources for all grades and several subjects

Happy Sporting and Happy Learning!

betty jo

Thanksgiving Unit Study Ideas and Resources


This week we began our Thanksgiving unit studies with a couple of Pre-Thanksgiving activities.  Below are some of the links we followed as we both reviewed and learned about the early American Settlements of Roanoke and Jamestown.

3 Articles about the history and mystery of the Roanoke Colony

Roanoke Colony Creative Writing Prompt            

Online interactive Jamestown adventure                                                                                         

This history game with Pocahontas for the younger kids

Jamestown Interactive webquest adventure

Jamestown reading comprehension and printable quiz

John Smith interactive adventure     

The Natives and The English video from Crash Course                   

In addition to the early settlement studies, we began this thankfulness Bible study with printable cards and daily question/activity suggestions

For the school days from now until Thanksgiving we we will be notebooking, crafting, cooking, reviewing, and researching  who, what, when, where, and why – everything associated with the Plymouth Colony.  We will keep journaling pages and bulletin boards of what we discover.

Below are the links we’ll be using for resources as we travel back in time to visit early America over the next few weeks.

Thanksgiving History Timeline 1541-2001

Plimoth Plantation “Just for Kids” Activities – Coloring, Talk Like a Pilgrim, Virtual Field Trip, History Detective, and more!                                                            

Virtual field trip to the first Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Myths Debunked and other Thanksgiving Articles and Child Friendly Recipes

Interactive trivia quiz

This site is my favorite of all the resources I’ve found.  We will use this site daily.

Grammar lessons with Thanksgiving themed mad libs

Thanksgiving themed notebooking, activity, and poetry copywork printable pages

Instructions and printables for writing  “Sensory” poetry

Beautiful copywork and notebooking pages while you are on this page be sure to scroll down.   A little past half way is a link that takes you to a free Squanto study and lapbook printables. Then down on the right sidebar is a link for a free download story,  Squanto’s Garden

Jokes, poems, songs, and more (scroll down and look at the left sidebar)

Stories, jokes, poems and coloring pages

Thanksgiving Math  and Printables                                                  

Thanksgiving census

Thanksgiving themed math worksheets (for younger students)

How Many Calories Are on Your Thanksgiving Plate?                  

Ideas and instructions for Thanksgiving themed arts and crafts

Outdoor Pilgram Games

Games that pilgrim children  played                          

Thanksgiving Music Playlist

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade interactive games

On nice days we’ll be getting outside for some nature observations, football (not soccer), and archery practice and just maybe some fishing.

Our science is research based (meaning the kids will have to come up with their own resources for information) and will include the following topics:

  • Human anatomy – digestive system
  • Why does Thanksgiving dinner make us sleepy?
  • Native American agriculture and nutrition of  “The Three Sisters”  (beans, squash, corn)
  • Natural Resources, plants, and wildlife surrounding the Plymouth Colony

Thanksgiving themed free downloads and printables for all levels and subjects for homeschools (you will need an account, but that is free and easy to set up)

I’m  thankful for many blessings including the homeschooling resources that I find.  It’s a tremendous help and I so appreciate the hard work and the willingness to share of those who have free sites and offer free games and printables.  I hope this season finds you also with much to be thankful for.

betty jo






Arrrrgh! Pirates!

1328026975arvadacenter-pirate-tattoos-big-pngAccording to the special days in September calendar, the 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day!  And on our planner, it’s the last day of our pirate unit study that we have been working on a couple of days a week for the past several weeks.  It’s been a fun and interesting study.  Below are some of the resources we have been using.

For pirate biographies, dictionary, lore, sea sickness, and more

For learning about how much work it was to sail a full-rigged ship

Since pirates needed sewing skills for sail repairs we have added some sewing instruction to our lessons.

How to tie knots was also a valuable pirate expertise, so we gave that a try as well.  This site has step by step knot tying instructions

Navigation  was another important sailor skill  PDF from

This PDF is the instructions for making a cork and needle compass

Our lapbook board  (we glued these to file folders once the unit study was finished).


Free unit studies and lapbook printables along with book lists and other links to follow

“Why are pirates called pirates?”   –   “They just arrrrrr!”  and, lots of other pirate jokes for kids

Blackbeard, pirate, and treasure chest printable notebooking pages

More pirate themed notebooking pages

Pirate Adventure Writing Prompts                                                               

These are a few of our library finds.

994563_499037283511462_2074833300_nMovies and music!


Interactive sunken treasure game

Interactive “Walk the Plank” and Pirate themed Math Games

And “Talk Like a Pirate Day” Math Lesson                                                      

Our chalkboard wall mural.  The instructions for how to draw a pirate ship from here were  quite helpful.


In conclusion to our pirate unit studies we attempted to make this treasure chest cake!

treasure-chest-cake-recipe-photo-420-0497-FF0403CAKEA19Haha!  Another “Pinterest Fail”, but still tasted good!


For more resources for special days in September click here

Wishing you smooth sailing!

betty jo


Constitution Week Resources


September 17th (1787) is the anniversary of the United States Constitution and the start of Constitution Week.  So often we hear or read about “Constitutional Rights” and freedoms being debated, taken away, or altered in various ways.

This week my kids will be reviewing, researching, and notebooking all things constitutional so it will be clear to them just what our constitutional rights are.

Below are some of the resources we will be incorporating into our Constitution Week homeschool studies.

Constitution Day History and Quizzes

Read the Constitution and explore the resources from The National Constitutional Center

US Government Learning Adventures, Glossary, and Games for all ages and levels

Constitutional Convention Video Playlist :

  • Liberty’s Kids #40- We the People
  • Three Branches Rap
  • Constitution Style (Gangnam Style parody)
  • The Great Compromise Explained in 5 Minutes
  • The Great Compromise Song
  • All 27 Amendments (in four minutes)
  • Bill of Rights (Shake It Off parody)

This  song is from my childhood (from Saturday morning cartoons) and it is how I’ve always remembered the preamble to the constitution.  This is also how my older kids have learned it.  Now it’s time to pass it down to the youngest two.   School House Rock – The Constitution

Learn and Remember the Bill Of Rights with these Hand Signals

Mini posters of how a bill becomes a law, the Bill of Rights, and branches of government (you will need an account to get the downloads, but it isn’t complicated and it’s free)

Copywork and Trivia Printables

US Constitution & Bill of Rights Resource Page                      

Constitution lesson plans, including debate excercises

Calligraphy and Making Quill and Ink Resources

betty jo


“I Have a Dream”


According to my special days calendar, August 28th marks the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s speech “I Have A Dream” at the 1963 March On Washington.

Below are some wonderful free resources I found to create a one day mini unit study.  These resources will cover the subjects of language arts, art, music, and history.

This link will take you to a biography with photos, coloring page, test, word puzzles, and more!

This link takes you to more printables as well as art, poetry, music resources!

This link takes you to printable notebooking pages and lapbook materials

For quotes click here!

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” –  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have that same dream for my five (not so) little children.

betty jo

Our Homeschooling Week Ending 8/9

This was our first week back to full time homeschooling!  It’s our 16th year of educating at home.   We kicked off the new school year with waffles, (according to the special days calendar, it was International Waffle Day)!

61247_497141840367673_1010767380_nNo shirt, no shoes, no problem serving up a geography lesson.


We erased the ocean mural from our chalkboard wall.  What a dusty blue mess!  At least it cleans up fairly easy.

995431_489908907757743_556331341_n1146657_489908974424403_26118189_nFor history we  learned about the explorers from the “Age of Discovery” as the introduction  leading into our first unit study of the school year, “Pirates”!

1146637_498910486857475_681946074_nOur first library check outs of the school year.

1002338_499037310178126_1588138654_n994563_499037283511462_2074833300_n Z’s third day of the third grade!

970344_498910536857470_1491688851_nA movie day with Veggie Tales, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, and a remake of Treasure Island.

10pira600972115_498201706928353_1573811201_n J’s fourth day of the fourth grade!   (Sorry about the blurred photo, but this kid was not able to stand still, nor the photographer, apparently)

7142_498910560190801_1046641411_nThese are the prettiest pickings from our science project garden this week.  That’s not an apple, it’s a sweet red pepper.  We harvested only a few tomatoes, but have dozens almost ripe on the vines.


I hope you had a good week and that the upcoming week will be even better!

Related posts:

August Special Days calendar

Our Chalkboard Wall

Our Garden Science Project  and


betty jo

newfriendshipFridaybutton_zpsba323150  kris_weekly-wrap-up

Homegrown Learners_CollageFridayOur days button 2 HMJ-SUMMER-logo-landscape

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