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Monday, May 16

Summer Fun & The Beauty of Unit Studies

Hands-on Learning is the name of the game here at Gypsy Road. But even if you school traditionally, summer time is perfect for field trips, creating costumes, making a movie, or using's always about getting the experience to cement learning. Our freebies, unit studies, and curricula are all about reinforcing this learning style - and we hope that you are enjoying them!

Make Your Own
It's not that hard to put together your own unit studies -- take stock of what's going on in your life, current events, what your kids' interests are, and then build from there.  With a library card and the internet, the sky's the limit!  Just be sure to keep track of what you're studying, in the event that the state comes a-knockin' on the door...

We're a history-loving family, so our unit studies generally center around a historical era, and then hop down the bunny trails that lead off of it.  Also, as we travel to different locations, we will study geography-specific units - learning about the history specific to the area.  Maybe science is your thing?  Start with a unit on backward from there to the history of electricity, the geography of where the inventors lived, etc.

Keep Track
There are a number of different ways to keep track of your unit studies, including notebooking.  We prefer the website method - one for art, one for boy scouts, and our main site for school (that's this one).  We keep a List of our Free Unit Studies there.

No Time?
We maintain that list so that families without the time to create their own unit studies may come and use whatever they need.  Another great option is purchasing a (typically more complete) unit study from a publishing house.  There are many great options out there - some that we use frequently!  Many of these are featured in the Build Your Bundle sale, which begins today.  In addition to thirteen other bundles, and a build your own option, there are two huge bundles of unit study pennies on the dollar!!

Units we've created (these are in our store)

Some of our favorite pre-built units...

History of Rock & Roll 

Spanning from the mid-1940s through the 1990s, this unit study covers the evolution of rock and roll.  It has a very strong historical focus and covers most sub-genres, giving equal time to the ladies and gents of the industry.  Several song clips are used to illustrate the technical terms, and illustrations round out the printed version.  It appeals to auditory and visual learners alike, and will get those creative juices flowing!  Visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was one of our favorite trips, and we are all  (mom and dad, too!) definitely looking forward to part two of this unit study!  While we chose to print this out, it works well on a digital reader.  You will need internet to access the song clips.  I've already spoken with the author about upcoming units related to this study, and they are in the works.

Online Unit Studies  
The Famous Artists and Solar System unit studies have intrigued my children!  These are out of our normal range, as they are completely housed online.  The reading material and activities are totally digital - which is not something that mom was really in favor of - however, we are living in a digital world.  The boys very much enjoyed getting to have screen time count as school time!  These units were comprehensive and well-created.  They play to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles.
In the Famous Artists unit, there are various drawing classes.  Sometimes it gets a bit goofy, but that kept my pre-teen entertained and motivated.  The Solar System unit had a complete build your own constellation section!
But it is the hands-on portion of each unit that I like best!  The author has incorporated many different technologies and online programs (Grammarly, Canva, PicMonkey, googleDocs, etc) that kids are learning in public schools today.  I don't know anything about the vast majority of these technologies, but she patiently explains how to use them and then provides an exercise for practicing it.

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