Friday, August 1, 2014

Hewitt Homeschooling: The Joy Of Discovery {Schoolhouse Review}


For this review we were given a free copy of Hewitt Homeschooling's The Joy Of Discovery: How to Teach With Unit Studies by Barbara Wagner.  This is a resource designed for homeschool teachers to help them to plan unit studies to be done at home.  This resource also includes Hewitt's Learning Objectives for children in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade.  


The Joy Of Discovery retails for $21.

Unit Studies are an important part of our homeschooling days.  I personally seek out unit studies and other curriculum that can be used with multiple children in various grade levels at the same time.  Unit studies work great for our type of homeschooling and for our family.

The Joy Of Discovery is a resource to help with planning unit studies created by Hewitt Homeschooling.  It is a jam-packed binder filled with everything one needs to be able to plan a study on any topic that interests them.  The Joy Of Discovery comes in a binder much like you would find in any classroom.  Inside are all the things that are needed to create an interesting unit study for your family.

Hewitt Homeschooling uses what they call the I3 Unit Study.  The 3I's stand for Individual, Inquiry, and Instruction.  This method of teaching turns questions into studies.  What this means is that when you ask questions, you find the answers you need for learning new things.  So when your child (the individual) says "Mom, I want to learn about Dinosaurs", you can easily ask questions about this topic, find things to answer these questions and then provide the Instruction needed to get the answers which in turn is a unit study.

Unit studies can be as small or as big as you'd like them to be.  We have done unit studies that have consisted of a few books and websites, that only took a day to process and learn through.  At other times, we've completed unit studies that have taken weeks to work through and complete.  How long it takes and how detailed should be up to the family, but The Joy Of Learning helps you to figure out exactly what you'd like to cover, how you'd like to learn it, when you'd like it completed and even plan out the activities you will do in during the process.  The Joy Of Learning also helps you to evaluate the learning gained during the study following the ending of the lessons.  And the great thing is this is found all in one place: in The Joy of Learning Binder!

As a bonus, in the back of The Joy Of Learning, you will find a copy of Hewitt Homeschooling's Learning Objectives.  These objectives cover grades Kindergarten through 8th grade.  They are a great asset in evaluating your child's knowledge compared to their grade level.  These aren't terribly complex but they are a thorough guide for learning that many parents would find helpful.  Additionally, there are Art, Music and Character Development objectives shared within this booklet as well.  These are wonderful reminders of what to teach at what age for parents and students alike.

I used this book as a guideline for setting up a few small summer studies for my children.  My daughter's most recent interest is Dinosaurs so we used the guidelines within the book to set up a unit study for her.  After choosing her topic, we then selected books to go along with it and websites as well.  While she read, I was able to choose some games online and projects to help her extend her learning.  One thing she did was a homemade Dinosaur dig in our sandbox.  We didn't find any Dinosaurs but we did find shells, fake bones, and rocks in there.  She really enjoyed our study and she looks forward to learning more in the future.

The Joy Of Learning is a great resource and one I will be using frequently in our planning.  I enjoyed the ease of use.  It's easy to copy the planning sheets from the reproducible section to plan out what we wish to do.  These sheets are simple and very easy to follow, making planning even easier for me.

I will also be using the objectives section frequently as I plan out our lessons.  I found a lot that we have not covered and several things we have that I haven't even realized we have covered.  This is an excellent section and a wonderful bonus to this planner.

The Joy Of Discovery is for adults to use to instruct students.  It is available for purchase for $21 from Hewitt Homeschooling.  This would be a wonderful resource for any homeschooling family interested in creating their own studies from scratch.

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