The Joy of Discovery Review

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Have you ever wanted to create your own unit study? I have created a couple unit studies in the past for the kids. I wasn’t sure what to all put in and felt maybe something was missing. I also wondered what do the kids need to master in each grade. Hewitt Homeschooling has a wonderful teacher resource called Joy of Discovery and Learning Objectives for Grades K – 8. I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to review this as now I know the direction to go and feel a lot more confident in creating unit studies.

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This came in a binder and I love that it was in the binder as I can tab pages and I can go back and forth easily with out ruining the pages. It also came with a brad and a thick cardstock for a dial a unit, which I will explain a little later. The cost of this is $21.00. The grades that this product is for is K – 8.

Joy of Discovery really is about making learning a fun adventure. It guides you in sparking your child’s interest with their questions and finding an answer. Finding the answer allows you to create a unit study and believe it or not it seems like as you work on the units ideas spiral like a spider web and you get more ideas on future units. I really liked that Barbara Wagner shared her stories and experience. She also shared topics that her kids study and how they came about other unit studies.

As your creating the unit studies you pick three learning objectives for that grade that the kids can master. Sometimes you repeat and review some of those learning objectives. As you go through the binder you see how the studies are created. There is a dial a unit, which is a spinner and helps you pick a project to do for your unit study. I haven’t put it together as my kids haven’t started school yet. Well we have been working through summer but our load isn’t like when we go full blown.

One thing mentioned was listen to your child. Listen to things that spark ideas whether they be questions or just things they want to learn about. I actually have a unit study that I am going to write up based on my daughters curiosity yesterday. It kind of made me smile when she asked me, “Mom do flies get their color from paint on a garage?”. I kind of chuckled on the inside. The fly that was on the garage was kind of the same color as my garage, a pea green color. She wanted to know what kind it was. It was some sort of insect. I wish I had my phone to take a picture of it. Then one question lead to another yesterday while we were outside. I think I need to keep a notebook on me so when questions come up I can write them down. I love her curiosity and I think we will end up doing some wonderful studies.

Things are broken down and you will want to in different categories of thinking skills and illustrative behavior. Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives was referenced. One of the things mentioned was “To reach the highest level of thinking, begin at the lowest level and move up”. That really stuck with me. The levels starting from the bottom are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. If you think about it as your working your already mastering the bottom levels and you just keep moving up that ladder. When your picking a thinking skill your going to pick one of those levels. This really is the first step.

The next step is choosing a project. The dial a unit will come in handy when your not sure what to do. It’s good to mix them up and not do the same thing so the child has variety and learns a new way to do thing. I like the different categories: oral, visual, tactile, aesthetic, written, and kinesthetic. My kids are both visual and kinesthetic kind of kids in their learning styles. So from time to time I might lean towards them in the beginning.

Then your stating the assignment. In all reality it is what your study and what your going to do. The next step is to make a plan to accomplish the assignment and finally the parent determines the learning objectives.

The learning objectives come in handy per grade. It is suggested to pick at least three. I always knew you could incorporate different subjects into a unit study, but after seeing the examples and the objectives it’s really not that hard.

There are forms in this book to follow. I like that one of them is a log of completed unit studies. You have a record of the objectives that were worked on and maybe mastered. So if you ever need them they are just at your fingertips. The steps to make the unit study are also in forms as well which I really like that guide.

One of my favorite things was checking the qualities that matured as a result of the unit study. There is a checklist of Academic knowledge and another check list for character qualities developed. It also offers room to discuss how things could be better if things didn’t work out so well.

I know I have kind of jumped around in my review. I have so much to say about this but don’t want to go on and on. I can say I highly suggest this to any one who is thinking about creating a unit study. The book goes so well into detail explaining the steps to do it as well as providing really great examples from the topic to the end. So you may read this and go what kind of project. Well there is a ton of ideas for different projects from doing an interview, puzzle, video, experiment, and so much more.

I can tell you that I am feeling pretty confident in making my first unit study for my daughter. It really helps to have those learning objectives at your finger tips and a guide to reference when needed.

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