Peaceful Ponds Unit Study


Our family enjoys unit studies, especially nature unit studies. We use them when we need a break from our core curriculum and want to do something fun, yet still educational. We have used several brands of unit studies and have our favorites. Those we gravitate toward are the ones who have the most “extras” to offer.

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Recently, I asked my friend Leah from if she could recommend a fun nature unit study to do this fall with the “extras”. (here’s a tip – It’s great having veteran homeschooling moms to ask these things!) Leah recommended the Nature Explorer series from Shining Dawn Books and even made a copy of the Peaceful Ponds unit study available to us to review!

Lots Of Great Features And One Drawback

I have to admit, when it cam right down to it, I had a hard time writing this review. We loved it so much, but I didn’t want to sound gushy. This study has so much to offer and we just touched the tip of the ice berg in what we could do with it! To be sure I don’t go to crazy with my review, here are somethings that I really liked about the Peaceful Ponds unit study:

  • Ideas are given on how to use this study no matter what your homeschool style
  • Background information is given to prepare parents to teach/facilitate the study
  • TONS of observation and research ideas
  • Lots of fun, educational hands-on activities
  • Literature lists
  • Writing ideas
  • Art and composer study references
  • Notebooking pages
  • Tips for including younger and older students

What might be a drawback for some, is that this is definitely not a “open and go” or “day by day” study. The parents will have to do some prep work and decide which activities the students will do. We just chose those that would fit into the couple days at my parents’ pond that we had. Personally, I like to be able to pick and choose. I’m not even sure how long it would take to do every single activity. Peaceful Ponds would be a great multi-year study or a study to do in each season. There are lots of options.

Our Study

The weather around here has been over 100 degrees for weeks and the ponds are very low, so that hindered us from being outside somewhat. However, using Peaceful Ponds as a guide, we were still able to do some very interesting things.

In the shallow water of the pond, we were able to see different kinds of plants and algae growing in the water. My daughter grabbed some with a stick and we looked at them with the Discovery Scope. The dark green algae in the picture above looks and feels like green slime, but when we looked at it with the scope, we could see the individual leaves of the plant. (Please excuse the bad picture! The actual view was much clearer!) We, also, looked for larvae in the still, shallow water with the viewer capsule that came with our Discovery Scope. I couldn’t get a picture, but it was so cool for the kids to see little things swimming in that seemingly clean, clear water.

Because of the drought, the pond was very low. This gave us a great opportunity to see what is normally covered by water. We saw dried vegetation, dried mussel shells and quite a few wolf spider looking for lunch. The mussel shell find was a great follow up to our mollusk study that we did as part of Beach Week.

This hot weather made the literature, art and music a welcome addition to our study. It was something cool to do inside! My son is a Monet fan, so tying that in was neat for him. And, the library is always cool and a hit with my daughter.

Another amazing feature of the this comprehensive nature unit study is the price. You get a 62 page jam-packed download for only $8.95! A seriously great deal! You can hop over and download your copy right now.


  1. 4

    Sharon says

    Yes! We started doing some unit studies to go along with our history and science this year and we really like the depth it adds to what we are studying.

  2. 7

    Michele says

    We are planning to go on nature walks with another homeschooling family this fall, and we would love to use this unit study to add some fun learning activities! Thank you!

  3. 10


    Yes! We incorporate unit studies and a mix of everything else into our homeschool. Unit Studies are always a super big hit with the kids.

  4. 11

    Wendy says

    Yes, I just got started using Shining Dawn nature studies before we finished our school year and I love them!!!

  5. 13


    This year with our homeschooling (coming year) we are doing a year round nature study. We live in Ontario, Canada and have MANY things like the Bruce Trail and ponds galore (we live on Lake Ontario) to explore. Our children are starting to learn how neat nature is. I would LOVE to use this unit study with our science this coming year. If I don’t win, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up buying it. Thanks for the fabulous review!

  6. 17

    Wendi S says

    We have sometimes done a unit study about a fun topic…but I don’t regularly include them in our homeschool.

  7. 19

    Betsy says

    We are planning to do some more nature studies this year, and this sounds like a perfect addition!

  8. 20

    Jennifer West says

    We have so many ponds around here! That would be a great fall study for us. My husband loves doing stuff like that with the kids. Great giveaway CurrClick!

  9. 24


    We do use unit studies because my son is young and it gives him a nice small goals to work towards when completeing his school work. A long year long study can be very daunting to a five year old, but unit studies provide nice little workable chuncks.


  1. […] to help and inspire you and your family to learn more about nature. Don’t forget to enter the Peaceful Ponds Unit Study giveaway. You have until midnight tonight! (August 3, 2012) Please visit our Nature Week sponsor, Discovery […]

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