Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Unit Studies

(Just when you thought I couldn't possibly rip off anything more from child homeschooling...)

The world of Homeschooling is a seemingly endless supply of wonderful ideas just begging to applied to our four-legged family members.

Take, for example, Unit Studies.

Now, I'll be honest here, perhaps I grew up in too dark a cave, but until I pulled a Homeschooling book off the Library shelves, I'd never even heard of the term before.

Wikipedia doesn't have much to offer (CLICK HERE to be unimpressed.) An internet search wasn't much more useful. THIS ONE seemed to do as good a job as any, although it lacks an example. Here's one with an EXAMPLE, although you'll need to scroll down a bit to find it.

Of course, none of it has anything to do with dogs.

But it could.

A Unit Study appears to be no more than taking a single theme and learning about it in a variety of subjects, all at the same time. So if you were to teach a Dogs Unit Study, you might take your child to a Guide Dog school as a Field Trip, watch a video about War Dogs for History, study mammal anatomy using a dog as your model for Science, read a classic dog story for English (and write a report),  do math with pieces of kibble, and draw a picture of dog for Art...

... or something like that.

But that's for kids, and this blog is supposed to be about dogs...


So, I have decorated this post with three different images of three different ways to approach a Unit Study for dogs.

For one, I have taking a Training Levels approach, and grouped the behaviors so they would fit on a page. You might try to come up with an On The Road activity that would incorporate whatever items you were working on (a Loose Leash walk to the park, doing a Sit at each street corner, Zen past any trash you might find, Distance around the stop sign poles, Recall once you get there... etc.)

For another, I use the six "subjects" I like for a Curriculum approach. In that case you might pick something like "Birthdays" as your Unit Study. You might take a field trip to the Bakery, practice Calm in Car while driving there (for Family Member), sitting for petting (outside the bakery) for Citizenship, no surfing off the coffee table (after you put the cake on it), Sit and Stay (Core Studies) for a greeting-card picture (Extracurricular Activity), followed by a few quick tricks to entertain whoever might be there (Just For Fun).

Finally, there's what I'll call (for now) the Learning approach, which is mostly composed of the different ways I could think of to help a dog to learn something. While I actually think that this one might have the most potential, since it would teach something in the broadest terms from the dogs perspective, I also know I don't have it right (as in, I don't actually know all the ways a dog learns) and I also can't think of a simple example of how/when I would use it... indicating (again) there is still work to be done on what's in it.

So there you have it - Unit Studies that are finally going to the dogs, instead of just being about them.

(As always, click on any image to see it larger)

1 comment:

katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

kathleen, another great approach to organizing home schooling for the the pups! For us I like the last unit approach best. I wondered if it wouldn't fit in to combine the TL's one and the last one. For instance field trip=on the road; photography/video=sit and down stay; games=tricks etc. Just a thought on how I can see this being very helpful to me. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!