Friday, February 20, 2009

Pulling It All Together

I've been answering some questions lately about how we do grammar at our house. My blog post on this topic seems to be very popular which is great. I'm happy it has turned out to be a great resource for other homeschoolers! I have some other ideas on what we've done more specifically with the grammar ideas in my hall of fame post list (at the top of the left hand side bar) under Thoughts on Grammar. If you've never read them make sure to check them out.

After answering an email on the topic today, I referenced this book and thought it was high time I blogged about it. So here we are!

Unit Studies Made Easy by Valerie Bendt
I love this book! It is easily one of my favorite homeschooling resources of all time. Why? Mrs. Bendt does a terrific job of explaining how a unit study works and how you can incorporate all the subjects around a theme- be it a book, a time in history, a topic- whatever. She describes how she has her children do writing and grammar with their current study and how to work with different ages in your family.

The book is actually a compilation of separate books she wrote on the topic of unit studies. It's tied together by a couple of extra sections.

  • How to Create Your Own Unit Study- this has information on everything from the unit study approach to schedules and routines, getting started, using games, finding good literature, and how to use dictation and copying with your study. It also talks about choosing a unit of study and record-keeping for your study.
  • The Unit Study Idea Book- In this one she shares subjects and topics you can base your unit study around. In the FIAR world we think of our studies based on a quality children's book. You can also based studies on topics in science, history/geography, fine arts, and general knowledge. This is where you get a glimpse at what Mrs. Bendt has done with her children over the years.
  • For the Love of Reading- This is a fun survey of how to make reading an integral part of your of our children's lives. Topics include inventing stories, providing an atmosphere of learning, using narration, how to find good books, implementing a reader's journal, etc.
  • Success with Unit Studies- This one focuses on research, reading, writing, and recording during a unit study.
At the end of the book, she includes graphic organizers and patterns for the units she outlines in the idea book.

Valerie Bendt is also the author of Reading Made Easy, Successful Puppet Making and Bible Story Puppets (the patterns I use for making our puppets), and Creating Books with Children (which probably deserves its own post).


Amber said...

Thanks for posting this. Thank you for posting everything you do! You are my inspiration to break away from textbooks, and to fully embrace FIAR. It looks good on paper, but to actually to see it played out is even better. I appreciate your posts!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to post on this particular book. I have been debating whether or not I should purchase this one. Your review has helped me in making my decision. We have had a positive experience with RME and I look forward to adding another V. Bendt book to our home library...

Sue S (RI)

Debbie said...

Thanks for posting this! I have thought about buying her book for awhile. Sounds great!

Dana @ Our Sunny Side said...

I have recently found my way to your site. You make unit studies look so easy!

Here are a few questions I have...Are your unit studies separate from your FIAR study? If so, does one inspire the other so you do them back to back? Or are your unit studies coming directly from FIAR?

Thanks to you I have just ordered Vol I of FIAR for my 4 yr old. I'm really excited about it. We've been using K12 for our 7 yr old. It's a wonderful curriculum but I just love the idea of diving into a theme and I'm looking to expand what we do.

Your posts are really helpful and inspiring! Thanks!