Harbor and Sprout

Speleology & Caves Patchwork Study


Welcome to the Harbor + Sprout Speleology Patchwork Study, the September 2023 release of our original elementary-level homeschool unit study curriculum. This unit study features 4 weeks of lesson plans and materials covering all 9 of our core subjects and a playful supplemental section of thematic activities. This unit study is meant for use by children ages 3-12. 

This unit is delivered via a secure link as a digital download.



Daily, weekly, and monthly planning pages
Book list including stories, poems, and field guides with recommended ages, subject correspondence, and brief summaries for each title
Lesson plans for 4 levels of learning
Family read aloud with discussion guide and recipe
Character kit- new monthly character illustrated by Stephanie Groves to act as your guide through the unit


Week 1: What is a Karst Landscape? Imagine walking through a forest or hiking up a rocky mountain. You might not realize it, but beneath your feet, there could be a hidden entrance to a magical place: a cave! Discover the hidden world of caves and how they are formed.
Week 2: What are Speleothems? Have you ever wondered how those formations in caves got there? Wonder no more, as you learn about stalactite and stalagmite formations. Become an expert by making your own cave formation with clay, and a lab-grown speleothem and crystal!
Week 3: What is Weathering and Erosion? Have you ever stood at the beach and watched the waves crash against the rocks? Well, that action of the waves can create a type of cave called a littoral cave or sea cave. Learn how caves can be formed by the sea and wind, in processes known as weathering and erosion.
Week 4: Making Caves with Fire and Ice: Take a look into the frozen world beneath us by exploring glacier caves, and learn how incredible heat from volcanoes can create mysterious caves known as lava tubes.

Nature Study

Week 1: Cave Habitats: Experts estimate only 1% of the total caves on Earth have been discovered. For the next four lessons we will be entering some of the world's most mysterious places.
Week 2: Cave Creatures: Learn about the three different types of cave animals and explore one of the most famous and important, bats!
Week 3: Cave Adaptations: Learn about the astounding adaptations of troglobites that allow them to permanently live in the dark zone.
Week 4: Cave Conservation: Caves are very special wild places, sparking curiosity and wonder from explorers since early times. Unfortunately, cave ecosystems are among the most fragile on Earth. Learn about the threats caves face and how we can help protect these unique sites as we become a cave champion!

Language Arts

Week 1: Caving Words: Grow your vocabulary by studying the -ave word family. Familiarize yourself with words commonly used in speleology & learn their origins. Practice spelling with a bat cave spelling activity, and showcase your new vocabulary words in a story of your own writing.
Week 2: The Porcupine and the Snakes: Enjoy the fable "The Porcupine and the Snakes" written by the Italian writer Laurentius Abstemius. Practice summarizing and how to understand the moral of a story in a story study.
Week 3: Silent 'E': Lots of English words have an E at the end that we don't pronounce. We call this E the silent E. Why on Earth would we include a letter at the end of a word that we don't even say? Well, believe it or not, this unsuspecting little letter has a lot of important jobs to do.
Week 4: Echo Verse Poetry: Echo verse is a type of poetry that, just like the walls of a cave, repeats sounds back to the reader. Echo verse poems are written by repeating or rhyming the last sound of each line to create an echo.


Week 1: Five Senses: Descriptive writing helps you explain to your reader what you are trying to show them through your words. This week we are going to practice describing things with our five senses.
Week 2: Adjectives: Adjectives are another form of descriptive language. To put it simply, adjectives are describing words. Adjectives describe how big, tall, old, young, short, wide, long, hot, cold, new, bumpy, smooth, soft, sour, sweet, stinky, loud, or quiet something is. The more you practice using adjectives, the better your writing will become.
Week 3: Similes & Metaphors: Similes and metaphors and literary devices that help us describe things. Not only that, but using them makes writing more interesting and meaningful.
Week 4: Internal & External Traits: Learning to describe people in writing will help your the characters in your stories come to life- whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction.


Week 1: Early Explorers in Mammoth Cave: Plunge deeply into learning about one special cave...Mammoth Cave in the state of Kentucky in the United States of America! Mammoth Cave is an extra special cave because it is the longest known cave system in the world. Let's go spelunking into the history of Mammoth Cave!
Week 2: Mining & Tourism at Mammoth Cave: After Mammoth Cave was re-discovered in the late 1790s It did not take long for people to discover once again what treasures Mammoth Cave held inside its dark rooms. Learn about the significance of mining and tourism at Mammoth Cave.
Week 3: Discoveries in Mammoth Cave: Learn about discoveries that have added to the popularity of Mammoth Cave and people's excitement to see it in person.
Week 4: The Longest Cave in the World: Mammoth Cave is more than "just a cave;" it is a cave system. A cave system is a collection of caves that are connected by enterable passageways. Learn how Mammoth Cave was discovered to be the longest cave in the world.


Week 1: Vietnam: Learn about the country known for its stunning beaches, food, and impressive amount of temples and pagodas.
Week 2: Maps: Trace and color a map of Vietnam. Locate Vietnam & Asia on a world map. Cut and paste land features onto a map of Vietnam.
Week 3: Vietnamese Culture: Immerse yourself into rich Vietnamese culture by studying Vietnamese culture, cuisine, language, government, and religion.
Week 4: The World's Largest Cave: Learn about the largest known cave in the world, Hang Son Doong located in Vietnam. It is not only the world’s largest cave, but it also has its own weather system, underground river, and even areas with a rainforest growing inside!


Week 1: Musical Alphabet: Just like the English alphabet, Music has an alphabet as well. The musical alphabet tells musicians what sound to play or sing. Different combinations of these letters make up songs.
Week 2: The Largest Instrument in the World: Learn about the Great Stalacpipe Organ! Instruments come in all different shapes, sizes, and sounds! This week we will discover what the largest instrument in the world is, but you will need your hiking boots! In order to see the largest instrument in the world, you must go deep inside of a cave!
Week 3: Edvard Grieg: Edvard Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. Not only was he a leading composer of the Romantic Era, but he is arguably the most celebrated individual of Bergen, Norway where he was born.
Week 4: Vietnamese Instruments: Learn about traditional Vietnamese instruments including the Vietnamese Gong and The Đàn bầu.


Week 1: Prehistoric Caves: Discover artwork by the artist Pierre Soulages. Explore the art element of Texture, and create your choice of cave inspired art projects.
Week 2: Cave Creatures: Not much is known of the painter known as Chen Rong, even what he looked like, but his dragon scrolls remain celebrated in art. Explore artwork created by Chen Rong, learn about the art element of Line, and create cave creature inspired artwork.
Week 3: Underwater Caves: Study the artist Grace Marquez, whose work details underwater experiences, from scuba trips to the light under the water, the creatures found down there, and even her cave diving experiences. Learn about the art element of Shape.
Week 4: Cave Anatomy: Discover artwork created by the artist Phil Ryan, and explore the art element of Form. Create art inspired by cave anatomy.


Week 1: Animal Footprint Ratio Game: Research real-life measurements of animal footprints, measure drawings of these footprints, and then calculate the ratio between the drawings of footprint and the real-life measurement.
Week 2: Bear Family Math Game:
Solve word problems! Help the bear family gather enough food for the winter and find a safe cave using math skills.
Week 3: Cave Adventure Math Coloring Game: 
Create your own math problems and determine the colors based on the answers. This game allows you to be both the problem solver and the game designer!
Week 4: Mushroom Math Operations Game: Practice your math skills with fun mushroom-themed problems!


  • Alphabet tracing
  • Coloring Pages
  • Speleology Dominoes
  • Crossword Puzzle 
  • I Spy and Count
  • Memory Match
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Cave Dot Painting
  • Cave Mazes
  • Cave Word Search
  • Speleology 3 Part Cards (Spanish)

This unit is delivered as a downloadable zip file. Enjoy your Speleology adventures!