How tiny amphibians changed our course!

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How tiny amphibians temporarily changed our academic course.

Homeschool Unit Study

Our typical homeschool¬†day consists of the normal studies, such as; phonics, math, writing, spelling, reading, and so on. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

A trip to the my parents house changed all that!

My parents have a small pond and they inherited {thousands} of tadpoles. I decided to take 9 tadpoles for our kids to raise and study. You might be wondering why 9. Umm….I don’t really have an answer for you. Honestly, it was just what was scooped up.

Oh’ they wanted me to take more but I didn’t want that many frogs at my house. After all, I just thought a quick study would be nice. I had no intention of becoming a frog nursery. ūüôā

I brought the new additions home and informed the kids that we were pausing some of our regular studies and going to raise and observe these tadpoles and start a frog unit study. You can imagine their delight. Yay, I just became the most awesome mom in the world again. (to my kids at least)

Frog Lapbook

I began to look through the science file I have saved on my homeschool thumb drive to see if I had anything on frogs saved. Low and behold, there was a frog lapbook kit.

{Allow me to take a brief minute and explain my thumb drive system.
I¬†save any free¬†resource¬†that I think looks fun or that we might use (even if it’s for the future) that I come across¬†in separate files, by subject,¬†on a thumb drive specifically for homeschooling. For this very reason!}

That evening I printed everything we needed for our lapbooks. The following day I searched what books we had and pulled any books that had to do with frogs or toads and amphibians. I briefly planned what we would do over the next few weeks.


Because I already had the subject just kind of laid¬†in my lap, pulling it all together was quite simple. A quick¬†check of my resources already saved, (on the thumb¬†drive I mentioned)¬†shopped our own book shelf, and searched¬†YouTube and we were off and running. Or shall I say….. hopping? Yes, I know, that was a terrible pun. Sorry!

I do need to add that I incorporated Bible into this as well. We discussed and studied the plagues.¬† I also want to add that we continued our normal Math lessons. Math is so very important, so I didn’t stop that. Every other subject got incorporated into the frog study.

If you are wondering how I could just stop our normally scheduled program and switch gears so easily, than allow me to explain how simple this really is:

I am a firm believer of instilling the love of learning into our children. What better way to do this than to take the opportunity to throw in some real life studies, such as studying tadpoles. Take a look at A Day in the Life of a Homeschooler for an even greater example.

We are relaxed homeschoolers.¬†Which means I am willing to go off our academic schedule in order to capture those “real life” moments.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Benjamin Franklin

There are benefits to allowing ourselves to break out of our everyday routines of homeschool. It’s like taking a break and yet still learning while you are on that break. You will still count these days as school days because they most certainly are school days. School does not have to be sitting at a table or desk with workbooks in hand in order for children to learn.

Frog Unit Study

This is not to say that children will not learn from simply reading. Quite the contrary actually.
Let’s face it; we cannot raise¬†lions while we are learning about Africa. Moreover, we cannot travel the world while studying¬†Geography! But when an opportunity does arise, why not capture it?

Now I want to share with you exactly what I meant earlier by covering all our subjects while doing a unit study on frogs.

  • Vocabulary: learn to spell and¬†define words related to the subject. {i.e. amphibian, cold-blooded, hibernate, herpetologist, etc.}
  • Writing: writing facts, create a story or poem based on the subject, create a book report, etc.
  • Reading: reading lots of stories about the subject. Both fiction and non-fiction. {for instance, we read a few Frog & Toad (classics) books and quite a few informative books on frogs, toads, and amphibians}
  • Biblical: any verses in the Bible related to the subject {we read about the plagues}
  • Art: there is a bit of creating to be done putting together a lapbook. If you have a hands-on, creative learner, they will enjoy putting together a lapbook. There is so much you can do with this art. You can create dough models of your subject, drawing, painting, photography and so much more…

This activity could very easily progress into pond life, woodland animals/creatures, herpetology, amphibians, vertebrates, and so on…


When our frogs fully metamorphosize and we are finished with our lapbooks we will share them with their grandparents. This will further their studies by showing what they learned and also give them a sense of accomplishment by showing off their work.

In addition, I also created a lapbook along with them. They really enjoy the fact that Mom is doing “school” with them! This adds a bit of closeness to our relationship and for this fun project I am not just the “teacher”. I don’t do this¬†often, so as not to make it too ordinary, but a pleasant surprise once in a while.

Give it a try!

Do a “school” activity with your child(ren) or create a lapbook along side them. Your children will enjoy the time with you and you might just have a bit of fun yourself.

I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below.
Would you be willing to change things up a bit in your homeschool if a learning opportunity arises?


Have you ever changed your routine for a spur of the moment “real life” study?

[photo credit]


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  1. Awesome post!

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