by Terri Johnson, author
(www.homeschoolingabcs.com) - dedicated to helping new homeschoolers gain the confidence and the necessary skills to
successfully teach their children at home.
St. Patrick's Day
A Unit Study
March is definitely a transition month. The weather changes, winter sports come to a close, tired homeschooling
parents begin to burn out, students get bored and restless as they long for a spring break... March is a great
month to mix things up a bit and do something different - for a week, at least!
This month we bring you a unit study that you can add to your studies or replace them altogether for a fun and
lighthearted change. Take some time to enjoy each other and this lifestyle we call "homeschooling". Feel free to
pick and choose from these activities we have listed or do them all. Read through the lesson plan a few days ahead
so that you can determine whether you need any supplies from the store. Have fun!
Monday - March 11th
Read a biography of St. Patrick. There are several sources that you can find by searching online or
taking a trip to the library. We are rather biased in our recommendation of a good biography on the life of St.
Patrick because we publish one in our book, What Really
Happened During the Middle Ages. Written by Jennaya Dunlap, this story is geared towards 3rd through 8th
graders and can be read in one sitting and downloaded from the link below. For a longer historical, though
fictional, book on the life of St. Patrick, you can read Flame Over Tara.
On this day, begin to do some research using either the Internet* or your library's card catalog. Pick a topic for
a report which can be in the form of a paper (for older students), or a lapbook (for younger students). For more
information on lapbooks, read this article (scroll about
halfway down the page). Some topics for research could be St. Patrick's Day Traditions, Irish Legends &
Folklore, History of Ireland, Celts, Potato Famine, Immigration of the Irish, etc.
Today is just research day, so print out interesting pictures, articles, etc. and tuck them inside a file folder so
that you can begin using them on Wednesday.
Tuesday - March 12th
Have a green day! Today, we'll do some activities surrounding the color of green. Here are some
1. Flip through old magazines and cut out pictures to make a green collage. This can be done as individual pictures
or as a group poster.
2. Take a walk, gathering and naming as many things in nature that are green that you can find. Or find a quite
spot outside and draw a scene highlighting the things which are green.
3. If you have young children, read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss and then make this meal using some food
coloring to dye your eggs green. If your children are older, plan a green meal, which includes lots of veggies and
other foods which are green. Brainstorm with each other for ideas. Perhaps this is a good day to try pistachio
4. Experiment with color. Pour water into a clear glass. Let your students add drops of blue and yellow food
coloring to create various shades of green. Record the number of drops to make the colors.
Today, we learn a little more about the history and geography of Ireland with some map and timeline
If your students keep a running timeline of events that you study together, add some significant dates from
Ireland's history today. If this is not an exercise that you regularly have your students do, then pull out a clean
sheet of paper and create either a horizontal timeline or vertical list of events. This timeline can be added to
the report or lapbook which your students will be assembling later in the week. Here are a few key events that you
can add, but also check out these two sites listed below for an indepth timeline of Ireland's history.
c 600 BC Celts begin to arrive in Ireland, from central Europe.
c100 BC Arrival of the Gaels
200 Beginnings of High Kingship at Tara
432 Arrival of St. Patrick to help convert pagan Gaelic Kings to Christianity.
795 The Vikings begin raiding Ireland
1002 Brian Boru becomes High King of Ireland
1166 Rory O'Connor becomes High King of Ireland
1177 King Henry makes his son John Lord of Ireland
1394 King Richard II leads an army to subdue Ireland.
1556 Queen Mary sends English people to settle land confiscated from Irish rebels in Laois and Offaly. Mary is the
first monarch to successfully 'plant' English settlers in Ireland.
1593-1603 The Nine Years War
1610 The first Protestant settlers arrive
1660 Charles II becomes king
1740-1741 A severe famine affects Ireland
1807 Famine in Ireland
1845-1849 The potato blight causes a potato famine. Perhaps 1 million people die. Many more emigrate. The
population of Ireland falls dramatically. The famine is at its worst in the West and Southwest of Ireland.
1919-1921 The War of Independence. The IRA fights a guerrilla war against the British.
1972 'Bloody Sunday' in Derry. Fourteen people are killed when the British 1st Parachute Regiment opens fire on
Listen to some Irish music today as your students begin to assemble their lapbooks or write their report. Writing
is a complex skill, but to simplify the process here, have your older students read back through the material they
collected on Monday and begin to highlight points of interest that relate to their main topic. Then have them write
an outline or rough draft for their report. The final draft may be written tomorrow in their best handwriting or
typed on the computer.
For the lapbooks, follow the instructions on this website - www.scrapbookingtolearn.com and use the maps and
pictures they have created this week. Also include recipes (see Wednesday), vocabulary, drawings of St. Patrick,
leprechauns, photographs of activities, etc. Be creative. For a colorful shamrock to include, follow these
directions. Using some green construction paper, fold lengthwise and cut out three hearts. Glue hearts onto white
paper, points together to form a shamrock and then glue on a stem cut from the green construction paper.
Friday - March 15th
Sunday is St. Patrick's Day! On this day, the 17th of March, in the year 461, St. Patrick died
after a life of dedication bringing the Gospel of Christ to Ireland.
If they haven't done so already, have your students finish up their reports and/or lapbooks. Embellish
with green trim or illuminations drawn from hand.
This weekend enjoy an Irish boiled dinner of corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Bake a loaf of Irish
Soda Bread. Recipe here. Top off your meal with cupcakes frosted with green frosting (use food coloring,
of course, for the desired shade of green).
In conclusion, here is an Irish blessing for you:
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
*We always recommend that you provide parental assistance when
using the Internet.