My kids love science. They love Magic School House books and Cat in the Hat’s science books and any opportunity for hands-on science experiments/projects (usually NOT from mom :D). When the opportunity to review Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies was offered and I was researching it, I knew the kids would love it. What I wasn’t prepared for, was how much *I* would love it.
About Funtastic Unit Studies
Funtastic Unit Studies is the website of a homeschooling mother who noticed that science is a subject that troubles many parents, either due to time or inclination (i.e. they don’t like it). As a response, she wrote an easy to use science “curriculum” for ages PreK – 8. Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers is available as a paperback book and contains 20 chapters of unit studies — 10 for ages 4-7 and 10 for ages 8-13. You can view a sample lesson for ages 4-7 and ages 8-13, as well as a complete table of contents on her website.
How We Used Funtastic Unit Studies
For our review of this product, I took a look at the chapters and decided where to start. For the most part, the chapters seem to be independent of each other, making it easy to skip around as desired. Since the girls had JUST planted a garden, I decided to start us with plants (which happens to be the one you can also get for free for ages 4-7).
I looked through them and figured out how many activities we could realistically get through in a day before my 4 year old ran out of interest and then make a supply list. I had the vast majority of the items but purchased some seeds and clay flower pots.
The plants chapter was broken up into 7 parts consisting of 23 activities, a VERY small amount of text for explaining things, and set of review questions. I had set out to do all the activities. You would not believe how hard it is to find bagged beans in summer. I went to 3 stores and could not find them! For real! So I skipped those, but we had done them in the last year anyway, so I wasn’t terribly worried. We will revisit it again, I’m sure.
There is some prep work required, but since my oldest is 7-1/2 she is pretty capable of helping me gather items and setting up workspaces AND working independently while I guide the 4 and 2 year olds. Most of the activities were fairly quick so that we were able to do more than one a day — like making a veggie platter, or reading “The Tiny Seed.” Others were more involved, like painting a flower pot. They spent a good hour on that. Outside!
We also worked on the insect unit. It’s amazing how many activities come up on a unit just because it’s in the front of your brain. The first insect unit activity was to look for bugs. We turned over bricks in the yard, looked in the compost bin and found the beautiful spider web above while looking around the yard. We found several like this actually, but the 2 year old stepped on at least one before I got a picture taken :). We also made a spider snack and while it wasn’t on the list of activities, we began noticing cool bugs around the yard and even found the biggest dragonfly I’ve ever seen. Until the boy scared it :).
Overall, we all really liked Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers. It was slightly higher prep than I like, but that kind of comes with the hands-on science category, you know? Nothing was hard to find (except the beans which SHOULDN’T have been!) and I picked up all of it at the bigger grocery store we go to. The book was simple, but hit all the big points of the areas. While the activities really help you go in depth, if you just can’t make it happen due to life circumstances, you can totally skip one as necessary. Many topics are covered in both the older and younger chapters, but in different ways.
The kids LOVED the opportunities to go for walks and look for certain things (seeds, flowers, leaves, bugs, etc). They were excited about watching things grow and because we are bookworms, we added many more books than the curriculum called for. It’s what we do :). For this age group, we have love the Cat in the Hat learning Library and the Magic School Bus books. This book was a super relaxed way to do science with young children in a way that STICKS. If science isn’t your thing, it’s a great way to do science that is easy for you, fun for them and not super stressful. I really recommend it if you haven’t found a “curriculum” for science that your family enjoys. We have found it to be our favorite science resource!
What are your favorite science read-aloud books?