Webcast – Novel Unit study One of the first things you need to do is start by planning. I have found that having a planning guide is a good way to do this. You can find a planning guide at Donna Young’s site:


Now I’m going to go through the steps that I use to put together my unit study. You can also use these steps for any type of unit study, not just a Novel Unit Study.

Step 1 – Pick the book or topic for your study. To show what I’m talking about I’m going to show a unit study that I’m putting together. I’m using the book, “Charlotte’s Web”. You will need to read the book first to have all the information you will need. If you are doing a unit study around a topic, such as Ancient History, then you will also need to find a really good book on Ancient History to use as your “spine” for the unit. This will be the book that guides your study. It will show the timeline & events, and famous people & places. For a novel unit study, the novel is your spine. It will guide your study as well.

Step 2 – Find additional resources. Go to the library and find books that go along with your study. For Charlotte’s Web some of the books might be a book on pigs, farm life, spiders, or friendships. You might also find historical and science books. For Charlotte’s Web you might find a book on the history of fairs, or have your child do research on the subject. A book about how pigs benefit us might be another subject to be researched. I try and find at least one science, one history, 2 or 3 fiction and a couple of websites to enhance our learning.

Step 3 – I always look for ways to incorporate a lapbook into our studies. So for Charlotte’s Web we will be doing a lapbook on pigs, farms or spiders. Since she has done a lapbook on pigs in the past, we will probably do the lapbook on spiders.

Step 4 – Look at your book or topic and list vocabulary and/or spelling words. If possible divide these into chapters or reading segments and assign with the reading.

Step 5 – Write at least 5 questions for each chapter or reading section to assess comprehension.

Step 6 – Plan writing assignments. Give your children two or three writing assignments during your study. I like to assign a couple of creative writing assignments, plus some sort of research assignment. For our Charlotte’s Web study, she will be writing about how she would feel knowing that she might be in danger of dying and how would she use her time. I’m hoping to steer her to realizing that her time is not her own, but God’s. She will also be researching the History of Fairs. I might assign one more creative writing project also.

Step 7 – Get creative. Begin to think of science topics and history topics that you can come up with “hands-on” projects to do. Many homeschoolers like to do their hands-on projects on Fridays as an incentive to working hard during the week. For Charlotte’s Web some of the projects I have come up with are: A birth announcement for Wilbur Making a “Piggy Bank” out of a 2-liter soda bottle. Making a diorama of Wilbur’s home in the barn. Making paper dolls of the farm animals and doing plays. Taking a portion of the book with a lot of dialogue and have each Child take a character and read as a play. Making a mobile of all the products that come from pigs. (you would Be amazed) Making a “Great Pig” award or using any of the words from the webs. Field trip – going to a fair if possible Field trip – going to a working farm, a pig farm if possible.

Step 8 – Write out lesson plans. You can do this by making weekly lesson plans that are structured or by listing activities and completing them in order in an unstructured plan. I am a more structured person, so I make weekly lesson plans with reading assignments, vocabulary/spelling words, questions and activities for each week.

Step 9 – Keep a journal of your unit study. Whichever way you choose to plan your unit study, keeping a journal will show how and what you did during your study. Making pictures of your activities is also a great way to make your journal more exciting. Have the children help in keeping the journal.

Step 10 – Celebrating the end of the unit. If your study has taken some time, you might want to celebrate the completion of the study by having a party, watching a movie or film, or by going on a field trip. You might also throw an “open house” to showcase the children’s work to friends and family.

Well that is my 10 steps to putting together a unit study.

I am currently working on unit studies for the novels “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Borrowers”.  If anyone is interested in these I am selling them for $5.  These are studies with weekly lesson plans for 4 to 6 weeks.  I’m also working on a Unit Study Planner of my own.  This will be for sale for $3.  If interested email me at:  cstanley@afr.net

Next week, May 29th, we will be discussing Science Activities and Getting ready for a Science Fair.  I’ll see you then.

The link to watch the recording for this webcast is  http://www.justin.tv/homeschoolchanneltv/videos