Homeschool Share: an online homeschool curriculum cooperative hosting over 500 unit studies, lapbooks, printables, and other resources.

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Frequently Asked Questions

[-] What is Homeschool Share?
Homeschool Share (HSS) is a on-line cooperative effort of several homeschooling moms to provide free but quality literature-based unit studies and resources.
[-] Can I really do this?
YES!  You absolutely can do this.   Literature based unit studies are deceptively simple and surprisingly effective.   If you want a low-stress homeschool curriculum, you just found it.
[-] What do I need to get started?  And then what?
Simply find a title you would like to unit study; check that book out from the library (or grab it off your shelf!); and print out the lessons.   Once you have the study in hand, pick the lessons you want to do for the day, usually 1-4.   Read the story to your students; complete the lessons.  Repeat each day until you are done with the unit.  Most families use each unit for one week, but you can experiment and determine what will work best for your students.
[-] Will they learn everything they need to learn?  What about gaps?
While not every method of teaching will be right for every family, many families have taught their children, and especially instilled a love for learning, through the use of literature based unit studies.   The repeated reading of the story transforms the book into a friend while, at the same time, providing opportunity for reviewing the previous lessons learned from the book.  Because the lessons relate to the story, students seem to grasp and retain the concepts better.  If your desire is to light the fire of curiosity and ignite the life-long flame of learning, try literature based unit studies!  They work!

And, if you're concerned about gaps, please remember, no matter what you use, there will be some gaps.  However, if you have a student who loves to learn, wants to learn, and knows how to research, you don't have to worry about the gaps.  Your students will fill in some of the holes all by themselves.
[-] Is there any kind of scope and sequence for this kind of learning?
One of our Homeschool Sharing moms has written up a list of basic curriculum covered in the average K-3 classroom.  You will find the list with instructions here.  You can also create your own scope and sequence (list of things you want to study throughout the course of the year) and use our handy-dandy master index to find books that contain the lessons you are seeking.
[-] What subjects need supplemented?
While language arts and applied math are covered in HSS units, you will want to supplement your elementary age student with sturdy reading, handwriting, and math curricula.  For older students, you may want to add spelling and grammar programs as well.  If you are sharing the units with a preschooler or kindergartener, you don't need to add anything (unless you want to).
[-] What is lapbooking?
Lapbooks are a great hands-on tool to reinforce and review lessons.  Basically, you take an average file folder, re-fold it, add a multitude of information in various folded books (called minit books), and you've got a lapbook.  This is a case of "a picture is worth a thousand words" -- you may want to look at examples.  It's important to remember that you don't need to lapbook every lesson you complete within a unit.  Don't discount the power of a simple conversational lesson with your student.
[-] What is notebooking?
Notebooking is another fun way to keep record of what you've learned while providing your student with a tool for review; at the end of your school year, your notebook will also be a reminder of all the special memories you've created together. 

Notebooking means different things to different people.  Some people use a blank notebook and add in lapbook components, others use it as more of a writing tool, and still others mix the two. 

Your notebook may look like this:
a three ring binder
divided by subjects or by unit study title
include worksheets, art projects, etc.

Or this:
a blank spiral bound scrapbook
include various items such as
minit books (small folded books used in lapbooking)
photographs of student completing projects/photos of completed projects
tickets from field trips
parts of worksheets
coloring pages

Or this:
a three ring binder
divided by subjects or by unit study title
include notebooking pages -- pretty pages with graphic organizers (squares, circles, etc.) to help your student organize and record what she's learned
notebooking pages are different than worksheets in that your student has to do all/most of the thinking

Your notebook may even be a combination of all of the above.  Click here to
view a sample notebook for Thunder Cake.

[-] What is Five in a Row?
You will frequently find this curriculum mentioned throughout this website.  That's because most of our unit writers use (and love) Five in a Row.   It's a wonderful curriculum that pulls lessons from classic children's literature. In the original FIAR curriculum (ages 4-8), you will read a book for 5 days "in a row" and each day you will do different lessons and learning activities related to the story.  FIAR also offers curriculum for preschool (Before Five in a Row) and for upper elementary grades (Beyond FIAR and Above and Beyond FIAR).  We strongly encourage you to check out  Five in a Row  and to use it with your children before jumping in to the units at Homeschool Share.

A note from Celia: 
FIAR changed our whole homeschooling journey.  My public-schooled mind thought that my children had to be sitting at their little school desks to do all their work from workbooks; FIAR taught me that we could all snuggle together on the couch and read a great children's story and learn far more!  It taught me that school could (and should!) be enjoyable and exciting.  FIAR feeds the natural interests of a young mind...causing students to want to learn more about God's great big world.
[-] Why should I buy FIAR when HSS is free?
Because you really don't want to miss the wonderfully constructed units that FIAR has to offer. Jane Claire Lambert has chosen some of the very best children's books ever published for her units.   The manuals are a great value, but you don't get what you pay for; you get MORE than you pay for.  Another reason to bite the bullet and buy the curriculum is because about 90% of our unit writers write with the assumption that you have already used and are familiar with FIAR.  

If you do decide to purchase the manuals, please purchase them directly from the
Five in a Row website

Note:  Homeschool Share isn't affiliated in any way with FIAR.  We don't make a dime off of a FIAR purchase.  In fact we would make a dime if you bought them through an amazon link, but we aren't going to post one for you to purchase through.  We feel very strongly about purchasing these products directly from the FIAR website.
[-] How do I submit a unit study?
You can read all about that here.  All units and resources will be reviewed by HSS before being accepted.  Please do not be offended if we do not accept one of your units.  It may be just a matter of revising it:  tweaking a lesson or two, adding more content to some lessons, etc.   We will, however, not accept units for controversial books and books with inappropriate/controversial themes. All Bible lessons should be biblically-based and non-denominational.
[-] What other things can I share with Homeschool Share?
Feel free to submit resources you have made to go with any FIAR or HSS unit studies, as well as games, lapbook or notebook examples, recipes, photos of  your students completing a HSS project, or any other ideas you think other homeschoolers may enjoy. Please remember that the graphics used in any resource need to either be created by you or used from a site that allows free educational use of the graphic. You may be asked where your obtained your graphics.
[-] If I share something with Homeschool Share, can I share it elsewhere?
Anything submitted after January 1st, 2009 may not be shared elsewhere.  It will be property of Homeschool Share.
[-] What's the difference between the Levels A-C units and the Multi-book theme units?   What are Connections?
Most of the lessons in a Level A unit are designed for preschoolers and kindergartners, while Level B is for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and Level C for 2nd to 4th grade.  However, unit studies can often be toned down for younger students or beefed up for older.  Many HSS units give suggestions or even lessons for those tagging along.

Multi-book thematic units are almost self-explanatory.....units that use multiple books centering around one theme.  Typically, a literature-based unit at HSS uses a book to read once a day for a week and the lessons revolve around that one book.   With a MBTU, you will instead you will use several books that revolve around one theme and you will read maybe one or two related books each day.   These units are very flexible and may require more planning than the A,B, and C leveled units. 

Similar to the MBTUs are
Homeschool Share's Connections.  With Connections, you can choose one theme and then use three HSS units that have that theme.  Connections are designed to be completed over a three-week (or more) period, using the normal one week for each book.  For example, if you want to do a horse unit, Connections will list the horse-themed books that have full units at HSS and you choose three of the titles (or more if you want to share this theme longer with your children) and you do the units consecutively.  There is also a library list for suggested read-alouds (chapter books) to share during family reading time and other books that will enhance your study.
[-] Will there ever be a Level D?  Level E?
We certainly hope so!  You'll have to stick around awhile to find out.  Maybe you'll even consider writing a Level D or E unit yourself.