Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Studying Science Using a K-12 Unit Study – Natural Disasters

Disclaimer: I received this unit study for free from the author in return for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy. Thank you.

There are a variety of different options for homeschooling families who wish to learn information together. One such option is using unit studies that are written for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Our family reviewed the Natural Disasters K-12 Unit Study from Love at Home Education. It contains 6 main units and 4 mini-units. Each of the main units is spread out over the course of one week so the entire Natural Disasters K-12 Unit Study could take about 10 weeks depending on if you supplement with additional books, videos, and activities. I am glad that I am able to share this K-12 Curriculum Review with my readers.

What Do You Receive?

You can order either just the PDF or the PDF and a Print Copy (bound). Natural Disasters K-12 Unit Study consists of 7 units for a total of 129 pages. There are six main units and one mini-units set of lessons.

Six Units

  1. The Earth's Layers 
  2. Earthquakes 
  3. Volcanoes 
  4. Tornadoes
  5. Hurricanes
  6. Storms 
Mini-Unit on 
  • Landslides
  • Avalanches 
  • Glaciers 
  • Droughts 
Each of the six main units has five days' worth of information and activities for your homeschool. Besides learning new vocabulary, children will be able to share their artistic side with clay figures and painting, use food to help recreate different aspects of the earth, and view suggested videos from YouTube. With the variety of activities provided, you can easily adapt each day's lesson to meet the needs of your homeschooling family.

One of their favorite activities was painting the earth and the layers.

How Our Family Used the Natural Disasters Unit Study

science vocab cards
Woodward Caves pictures
After talking about the first several sets of vocabulary with the kids, we looked at photos from trips that their father
and I took to Penn's Cave, Woodward Cave, and Lincoln Caverns. 

As the review period did not consist of 10 weeks, I chose from among the variety of units, lesson ideas, activities, and work for our family to study.  We started with the first unit—Earth and Its Layers—so we could have a firm understanding of the basics and then moved onto other units. We then spent time reviewing the different vocabulary from all of the units in addition to talking about volcanoes.  We also spent some time going over earthquakes and storms.

We went through the five days as suggested for the first unit and studied the earth and its layers including the inner and outer core, the mantle, and the crust. We also spent some time collecting rocks because what homeschooling child doesn't have a rock collection?

I chose to only spend one day discussing earthquakes for now (we had just read a few books about them) and moved onto volcanoes. Our children had great fun combining colors to create the perfect color of ash and magma for paintings. We also watched some videos on volcanoes and reviewed the vocabulary each day.

Painting their favorite volcanoes. 

Reviewing vocabulary while we waited for the paintings to dry.

I love how the volcano is shown with a cross section because it makes it look like an angry creature.


We also talked about storms – thunderstorms, blizzards, and hailstorms – and painted one of the storms. While painting with the water color paints, our children narrated their painting. Our four-year-old daughter explained how the platypus was stuck in the blizzard. It was a baby platypus who was purple. Our five-year-old son painted all three storms in one painting.

What Did We Like

Our children loved the fact that they could paint, play with food, and explore different topics in a variety of ways. I loved all of the different options for using the unit study as part of our homeschool curriculum.

With each unit within the K-12 Curriculum divided into separate days, I was able to easily plan out our days. It made it easy to see approximately how long the entire unit study would take our family if we did the activities each day.

The way Natural Disasters is designed also allows for children to explore the topics they enjoyed in more depth. For example, when studying earthquakes, the unit study suggests watching some YouTube videos on them. If children are really interested, there is a considerable amount of media available to view (depending upon their age and maturity). Our kids were really into the volcano unit so we spent some time watching several videos on volcanoes including the one from SciShow Kids.

Natural Disasters also allows children to become scientists through exploration of theories and hypothesis. For example, there is discussion of theories in regards to faults and the opportunity to speculate what would happen if there was an earthquake along the San Andreas Fault. I remember watching the 1974 movie Earthquake which speculated what would happen in the Los Angeles area if an earthquake occurred.

There is also the option to write about the cause and effect of earthquakes based upon a child's age and writing abilities. From writing and drawing the sequence of events to writing a proper 5-paragraph essay for a homeschooled high school student, there are tips as to what may be appropriate for your family.

One of my favorite parts of the whole unit study is the suggestion to make an Earthquake Emergency Kit (or if you don't live in an Earthquake zone, just a regular emergency kit). I think this is a great way to have a discussion with the family about being prepared. It could also extend into an opportunity to give back by having your family prepare emergency kits to donate to a shelter, church, or other location based upon need.

In the Future and Observations

I can see us revisiting the Natural Disasters K-12 Unit Study when the children get older so we can study the topics in more depth. Homeschooling materials like this allow families to build upon what they have learned in the past as their children move through their educational careers.

As our children get older, we could use the the vocabulary words as part of their spelling words. In fact, depending upon what area of science our teen takes in the future, I will be able to reuse the vocabulary cards with him.

My only negative observation is in regards to the font chosen for the vocabulary cards. My younger children had difficulty reading some of the letters and words. If I was going to make one recommendation, it would be to use a plainer font for the vocab words.

Two of the vocabulary cards.

Do you want to learn more about Love at Home Education? 

Love at Home Education offers secular and religious curriculum for PK through 12th grade. There are faith-based unit studies, ones on presidents, and ones on the human body.


If you are interested in seeing what we think about another unit study from Love at Home Education, please visit my post on Thomas Jefferson!

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