Bringing Classic Literature to Life with Unit Studies

Do you include classic literature titles on your family’s homeschool reading lists?

When our children were young and we were just beginning our homeschool journey I set a long-term goal to have our children read as many classic literature titles as possible before they graduated from high school.

Although I had this lofty goal of introducing my kids to classic literature, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my boys interested in stories written so many years ago!

The starting point for us came one day when we were visiting one of our favorite “local parks”. I decided to begin by reading stories the kids were already familiar with — stories filled with adventure, fantasy, and many interesting characters such as Swiss Family Robinson, Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.

I wanted to make our lessons relevant, engaging, and fun for the kids so we decided to use unit studies to bring our classic literature lessons to life.

Bringing Classic Literature to Life with Unit Studies - Education Possible

Bring Classic Literature to Life with Unit Studies

The goal of the unit study approach is to select a topic of interest and then use various subjects to learn even more about the topic and connect your learning.  Unit studies can incorporate lessons from a number of subjects including language arts, math, history, geography, science, life skills, and more!

Unit studies typically encompass a variety of learning methods and subjects, therefore, they can be very effective for homeschool families with children of different ages and learning styles. We really like it when kids of different ages can learn together!

When we use a unit study approach children of all ages can learn from the many activities we include, such as crafts, cooking, vocabulary games, research projects, mapping activities, math problems, and more. The one modification we sometimes make when literature is the topic of the study is in the version of the book the kids read. With classic literature, it is often easy to find an abridged version that younger children can read, while older students can read the original text.

Bringing Classic Literature to Life with Unit Studies - Education Possible

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Some of Our Favorite Classic Literature Learning Activities

During the past several years we have enjoyed reading and bringing to life many wonderful works of classic literature.

Here are a few of our favorite books and a sample of some unit study style learning activities we have created:

  • The Secret Garden – Botany & nature studies, celebrate Spring with chalk art and make your own terrarium
  • Around the World in 80 Days – Learn to play the card game Whist and complete geography studies by mapping Fogg’s journey around the world
  • Peter Pan – Complete and author study, learn to make shadow finger puppets and create personal silhouettes
  • Mary Poppins – Practice etiquette skills and prepare foods for a proper English tea
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Learn about penguin eggs and make penguin inspired food

Some people enjoy creating their own unit studies, but over the years we have learned that many prefer to let someone else gather all of those interesting lessons into one convenient package!

These World Study Guides include information about the book and author, mini books to guide and document your unit study lessons, recipes, hands-on activities and more! When your study of each book is complete you also have beautiful visual documentation of everything your family has experienced and learned!

World Study Guides for Classic Literature


If you are looking for more literature inspired unit studies, be sure to check out the World Study Guides for:

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Mary Poppins
  • Peter Pan
  • Pinocchio
  • Swiss Family Robinson
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Adventure of Tom Sawyer
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Join more bloggers of the iHomeschool Network as they share their ideas for Bringing Subjects to Life

Bringing Subjects to Life - iHomeschool Network


  1. What a neat resource! It is hard to pick our favorite, but I would say the Chronicles of Narnia would be right at the top of our list!

  2. We love reading the Little House on the Prairie series. It always leads into “I wonder if we could do that” projects!

  3. We love so many of the classics… It is an interesting way to teach culture too… as language, viewpoints on diversity, etc. are all right there in the pages. The kids learn not only about the subjects in the stories but about the author and their cultural/temporal experiences as well! WE love so many — Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austin, Stevenson, C.S. Lewis, etc. So many to chose from! Thanks for this great post. 🙂

  4. I can only choose one?!? One of our favorites is The Secret Garden. I personally have read the covers off of at least 4 copies in my lifetime. My youngest just read it and adores it! Alice in Wonderland is a very very close second.

  5. I can’t wait until my son is older and we can do some classic literature unit studies! Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you stop by again next week!

  6. One of our favorites is A Christmas Carol. My son went around for months afterwards quoting from the characters!

  7. My daughter would say it’s impossible to pick a favorite, but I would have to say that my daughters is Chronicles of Narnia we read this for the first time when she was about 4 and she has been hooked ever since!

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