Our Sharks Unit Study

For the month of August we focused on learning all about sharks. This, was again, all my daughter’s idea and I didn’t realize that the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week was also in August. It coincided perfectly and gave us a few more opportunities to find shark information.

Shark Unit Study

We followed our usual plan of starting with a set of info cards and creating a lapbook around our theme. We picked up the Safari Ltd. Sharks Toob at our local hobby shop, which gave us a good start for some different sharks to learn about. We also used some toys that we had on hand to give us a good assortment of sharks.

I used a variety of resources for printables for our lapbook. Many of my favorties came from the always helpful homeschoolshare.com. They have a free shark lapbook full of fun activities and information. I also used some of the great printables from the 3dinosaurs.com shark pack

Shark Unit Study

This has been one of my daughters favorite unit studies, by far. I’m so pleased with how much she and I learned together and how much of it has stuck! It really reinforces to me how much better learning is when it is interest led and fun!

Additional materials we used in our Sharks Unit Study:

Handwriting worksheet generator

Shark coloring sheets

Shark Worksheets

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World Shark Academy

My Sharks Unit Study Pinterest board


Our Turtles Unit Study

We recently completed a land and sea turtles unit study. This was 100% my daughter’s idea. She asked if we could learn about turtles and I hopped right to it! I love seeing her excited and interested in learning, and I try to facilitate that in all the ways I can. A good starting place for us is always our Safari Ltd. figures. We already had the Frogs & Turtles Toob, and it contains several species of land and sea turtles. It was just the right amount of new turtles to learn about, with the addition of one of J’s favorites, the Leatherback Sea Turtle. We have an Octonauts sea turtle figure that worked as a perfect substitute! Turtles Unit Study Since we had both land and sea turtles, it made sense to sort of divide up our unit. We focused on land first. Of course, we decided to make a lapbook. It really helps organize all the study materials into one focused place. And J and I both work better that way, I’ve noticed! I created a lapbook layout that was (somewhat) divided into land and sea sections. I found the perfect printables for our book at homeschoolshare.com. I am so grateful for the materials they provide! I have used resources from this site many times and I highly recommend! They have a great set of lapbook templates for both land and sea turtles. They are also conveniently separated into individual PDFs so that you can pick and choose. If that wasn’t enough, they also have a an entire unit study with guidelines and recommended reading to go along with it.

We completed many of the unit study activities for our book, including the turtle diagram, “Turtle Toes” book, “What  is a Turtle Shell?” book, and the Turtle Report shape book.  I decided to make one shape book for each of the four land turtles we were studying. It really helped break down all of the differences and specifics of each turtle…for both of us! 🙂 Turtles Unit Study I also made up some Montessori inspired three part cards with the specific turtles we chose to study. My daughter really likes these, especially matching them up to her Toobs figures. Turtles Unit Study It was also fortunate that we already had the Safari Ltd. Safariology Green Sea Turtle Life Cycle figures, which was helpful in discussing how and where turtles lay their eggs. It was nice to have a baby turtle figure to go along with the study. I’m really glad my daughter asked to learn all about turtles because it turned out to be very educational for both of us. I can’t believe how much I personally learned about them and it was wonderful to do everything together. Turtle Unit Study

Additional material we used in our Turtles Unit Study:

Turtle Coloring Pages More Turtle Coloring Pages (species specific) Turtle Themed Worksheets Sea Turtles Online Info Book My Turtle Study Pinterest Board


A Home for Little Turtle by Ariane Chottin Tortoise’s Dream by Joanna Troughton

Our Butterfly Unit Study

I have found that my daughter really enjoys learning with a unit study. She is engaged and attentive and retains so much of what we learn. I also enjoy them and find I really like the process of designing a specific study for her and I to do together.

For the month of April we focused on learning about butterflies. We were planning a trip to the San Diego Safari Park’s annual Butterfly Jungle exhibit and I thought learning about some of the insects we would be seeing would be fun for J. Well, it was so successful that our one week butterfly study turned into a whole month of material.

We started with the lapbook, Insects: Butterfly Speedy Lapbook from Homeschool Bits. This is a quick little book to print and assemble with facts that are short and to the point. It was actually the perfect amount of information for my three year old to understand and learn something from. I decided to work on a little part of the book each week so she could really focus and absorb what we were learning.

Butterfly Unit Study

We discussed the butterfly life cycle first. We used our Safari Ltd. Safariology figures to match up to the coloring page. It also gave J a good idea of what the actual things we were talking about look like. She really enjoyed this part of the study. I also printed out several coloring sheets of specific butterflies and we found as many butterfly/caterpillar stickers as we could for her to embellish her book with.

Butterfly Unit Study

We broke out the Playdoh one morning and made butterfly impressions with the life cycle figures. They turned out very pretty!

Butterfly Unit Study

Butterfly Unit Study

As I mentioned before, the highlight of our unit study was our trip to the Butterfly Jungle. We picked a few butterflies from the handout to study and learn about the week before. J chose the Blue Morpho, Giant Owl, Orange Julia, Monarch and the Zebra Longwing. She learned their names and to identify them by sight. Her expression was adorable when she walked into the atrium and saw the actual butterflies we had spent so much time talking about! She knew every butterfly she was looking at! It made this mama quite proud!

San Diego Safari Park Butterfly Jungle

Butterfly Jungle

I’m really happy with how our little unit study went and I think my daughter enjoyed it too. It was lots of fun and learning for us to do together and that’s the best part!

Butterfly Unit Study

Some of the additional materials we used in our study were:

Butterflies (Penguin Young Readers, L2) by Emily Neye

Butterfly figures 

Safari Ltd. Butterfly Toob

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Stickers

Butterfly Coloring Sheets

“Head, Thorax, & Abdomen” The Insect Song