Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Core Knowledge meet Intellego Unit Studies

There is a link to a line up I have made combining these two series of resources at the bottom of this post.

So, I have been a fan of the Core Knowledge Sequence for quite some time. If you are not familiar with Core Knowledge you can get the Sequence for FREE here. You can also find a series of books in most libraries and in pretty much every book store under the sun. Most of the book titles are "What Your ___ Grader Needs to Know" with the exception of Preschooler and Kindergartener, of course since the term "grader" does not apply to them.

The Sequence itself is an AMAZING outline if you are in search of a scope and sequence to follow if you wish to create your own curriculum. There are other great scope and sequences out there, but for some reason this is my favorite. Maybe it is because I feel it holds your hand just enough to make sure you hit on the important points under a given topic and not just hit list a bunch of main topics. The books cover practically every single topic and subtopic listed in the Sequence. They are fun narrative style readings, that are great for "getting your feet wet" so to speak. They are a wonderful jumping off point for bunny trails, are are just enough if you have a kiddo who just isn't interested in going deeper on a subject.

I have liked the CK books since I started homeschooling 6 years ago (gosh have I done this that long??). I believe it was last year when a homeschooling friend brought a series of unit studies to my attention. Intellego Unit Studies are AMAZING too!!! These units are based on the Core Knowledge Sequence and also on state and national standards. They are not meant to line up perfectly, but if you make use of all the units in one of the Core Curriculum series, you will have covered pretty much everything in the Core Knowledge Sequence.... and then some!

The units are different than any other unit study I have ever come across. First, they do not want you to print a ton of stuff!! I don't mind printing things, I have a very very economical printer and watch for great sales on paper, but waste not want not, right? The units also do not require specific books. I do wish that some were suggested in the units, but a few minutes online and you can come up with books on any topic to explore, so not a big deal there. Also, the Books to Build On book from Core Knowledge has a great list of books to choose from that will line up nicely with the Intellego Units. So what do the units consist of? They are chock full of links to sites with things to read, games to play, crafts to make, and videos to watch. There are loads and loads of hands on activities and things that will help bring a love of learning to every child, no matter what their "style" is. I do want to note here, that the links are kept active, if a link goes down, a new one replaces it... so it's best to link right from the PDF while you are working on your units.

One of the things I didn't like about the units as I said above, is the lack of a reading list. Now, I do LOVE to put together my own curriculum. Back when I was only homeschooling 1 child, I had plenty of time for such things. Today, I have two who are homeschooling, a very active and busy preschooler and a teenager dealing with middle school drama in a public school. I have no time for putting things together these days it seems and when I have the time, I don't have the energy left to actually do it. When I do put things together I exert all my energy into planning that I don't even feel like executing the plans anyway.

I decided to try to line up the short readings in the CK books with the units in the Intellego unit studies. I emailed Intellego asking if they had a line up already done, and crossed my fingers. They responded very quickly (READ THAT AS GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE AND VERY NICE TO DEAL WITH), but they did not have a line up already made. They did share a list that hit on the main topics in the Sequence and what Unit Studies hit on that topic. It was a good jumping off point for me, and I spent the better part of 3 days lining up all the readings in the K-2 books with the K-2 unit studies.