Unit studies are a terrific way to incorporate comprehension from a novel in order to cover numerous subjects at once. Done correctly and with imagination, unit studies are full of fun…for everyone involved. Done incorrectly and you and your child will arguably be discussing this novel several years down the road with a licensed therapist. Please learn from my mistakes.
A few months ago, I took a leap out of reality and purchased an online unit study about The Incredible Journey written by Sheila Burnford. Looking back, it seemed like such a good idea at the time. But fast forward to over 100 vocabulary words later, scores of pages with unanswered questions and fill-in-the-blanks, and numerous crafts which required the skills of a mechanical engineer and I now know differently. Several tears and snots later (Piper’s and mine), I vowed never to repeat that error. My mind was so focused on the fact that I had paid for the darn thing, printed off over 150 pages, and did not want to see everything go to waste. Wastage is very frowned upon in our family.
When I announced to Piper that we were going to do another unit study, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, the look on her face spoke volumes to me. She virtually put her predestined therapist’s phone number on speed dial and pre-booked all future therapy appointments. All kidding aside, I rethought the unit study.
I decided to let Piper take the lead on this next unit study and make her own choices and activities. She came up with the notion of creating her own version of St. Nicolas Island where the character, Karana, survived alone. The only thing stipulated was that Piper had to do the entire island by herself.
The entire project turned out great! Piper enjoyed herself, I avoided a nervous breakdown, and we dodged a bullet with respect to future trips to a therapist…for now.