A Guide to Creating Unit Studies — Manatees

My kids have a tendency to pick topics out of the blue that they want to study.  It’s not uncommon for us to travel up and down the timeline for history.  But isn’t that one of the biggest perks of homeschooling — flexibility?!?!

I try to be flexible when it comes to the kids wanting to study different topics.  I actually stopped doing long-term lesson plans because it was happening so often.  I have even given up the thought of purchasing a “boxed” curriculum.  I try to use the same items for reading, math, but history and science change periodically. Now if I had an unlimited budget, then I could easily click purchase for an easy to print unit study for anything the kiddos wanted to learn.  But alas, since my money tree died, I cannot do that.  There are also cases where unit study materials are not available for the topic we might want to study.  So, I learned to create our own curriculum study units.  As overwhelming as this task seems, it really is not that difficult to create your own curriculum/unit study.

First, have your child (or yourself) pick a topic that you would like to study.  This can be done for any area.  Geography, science, history, grammar, the list is endless.  But I am going to pick a topic that I will be creating a unit study on for our kindergartener.  She has a love of manatees after visiting the Columbus Zoo.


So we have our topic. Next I look at our local library to see any videos or books they have available for checkout.  I reserve books/movies that appear to be her interest and learning level.

Then I do internet searches for both the search terms “manatee” and “manatee interesting facts for kids”.  This could suck a lot of time away from you researching online.  On a topic as easy as manatees, you could very easily just use library books to compile your information.  I did do a quick search to show how you could easily lose time and get overwhelmed by all the suggested links….

In this case, I would definitely stick to sites I have used before such as the National Geographic site and also the Save the Manatees site.

Now that I have my topic researched, I make a list of what I want Caty to learn:

  • Where do manatees live?
  • What do they eat and how do they eat?
  • What do they eat and how do they eat
  • How big do they get?
  • The parts of a manatee.
  • What animal classification are they?
  • Do they have live babies or lay eggs?
  • Do they stay in the water or live on land?
  • Why are manatees endangered?
  • What are some ways we can help the manatees?
  • What are the babies called?
  • Fun facts about manatees
I sometimes use free lapbooks from Homeschool Share that are pre-printed, but Caty is not into lapbooks.  So after checking out the library books and getting my facts around, I will create coloring pages using word and free printable coloring pages from various websites.  
While we are reading books or watching movies about manatees, I will have out those coloring pages for her to work.  We’ll talk about certain facts, and I will mark those on the pages she is working on.  Such as a picture of a mama and baby will include what a baby is called, where they make their home together, and how long they stay together.  I will also print some world maps so that she can mark on a map where manatees live and travel.  Their diet will be displayed by finding pictures online using clipart or also coloring pages.  

When we are done learning about manatees, I will keep all her pictures together in her notebook for the assessor to see at the end of the year.  I have also used my binding machine to make a booklet, depending on the topic.  I guess that all depends on the child and whether or not we will be referring back to this subject.  

For this subject, I will may also laminate her finished pages and then bind them together so she can see that she created her own book. If I was doing this for the older children, I might read ahead the books and create a question guide for them to fill out about the animal or create an online scavenger hunt for animal facts.  I would have them use the maps also, and include a few fun coloring pages.  They would fill in the material.  I would print all the sheets and bind them together with a cover so the kids could easily see their book in their drawer and they will have a finished book.  I might even include a few lapbook pieces for them to fill in for certain topics.  

So, as you can see, it takes just a little bit of time to easily create a child led unit study.  A little bit of research time (and depending on the age of the child, most of that could be done by them), and you are on your way to creating your own inexpensive unit studies. The internet is full of creative craft ideas for any topic.  You can search Pinterest if you are not feeling creative.  Just remember to watch your time and don’t get lost on there. So, take hold of your child’s education, save some money and let your child lead their educational plan.

My name is Renita and I am the mom in charge of Krazy Kuehner Days . . . and our days are crazy.  We have 4 kiddos diagnosed at various areas of the spectrum and there is never a dull moment in our lives.  I love to cook healthy foods as we learn to eat an allergen-friendly diet.  I also love to jog, go for walks, bike ride with our family, and study history.  I really enjoy creating my children’s educational plans and learning new things right along with them.  I am a work-at-home mom. You can visit our Facebook page, Twitter page and Pinterest page.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

A Division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine