HSS - New Page 2
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
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?
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
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.