This FREE homeschool unit study about India is perfect to center around the book, Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelen (a book recommended in Sonlight Curriculum’s reading lists for late elementary/early middle school). It would also be great for supplemental ideas to add to a social studies/geography unit about India and Indian culture. The best part about these unit studies??? They are all FREE or use things you may already have around the house!

Homeless Bird Free Homeschool Unit Study printables crafts recipes about the culture of India

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BONUS: Keep reading below to find a free printable vocabulary wordsearch and crossword puzzle to go along with the book!

What is Homeless Bird about?  If you haven’t read it, you are in for a treat.  Gloria Whelen wrote this book to explore the practice of the arranged marriage of young girls that is still occurring in India today.  Amazon’s review is as follows:

Gloria Whelan’s National Book Award–winning novel, Homeless Bird, chronicles the breathtaking story of a remarkable young woman who dares to defy fate. Review:

“What if I don’t like him?”
“Of course you will like him.”
“But what if I don’t?”
Maa impatiently slapped at a fly. “Then you must learn to like him.”

But Koly never gets a chance to find out if she does care for her intended groom. Married and promptly widowed at 13, Koly finds herself in the grim position of being cast out by a society that has no place for girls like her. With a seemingly hopeless future in India, this courageous and spirited young woman sets out to forge her own destiny. Through perseverance, resourcefulness, and sheer luck, she manages not only to find a niche for herself, but even to find happiness again.

Gloria Whelan’s tale of a remarkable girl in an extraordinary situation will linger with the reader long after the last page is read. The shaping of Koly’s life, as anyone’s, is in her own hands, as well as the hands of the society in which she lives. Her ability to express herself–and ultimately support herself–with her exceptional skill in embroidery is a symbol of the creative ingenuity that will serve her well throughout her tribulations. (Ages 8 and older) –Emilie Coulter –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

This book promotes an amazing amount of questions for you and your student to explore.  There can be discussion around the practice of arranged marriage, the difference in the choices we have in the United States vs. other countries.  The door is open for exploring not only the culture of India but also some of the foods and locations mentioned in the book.

The following is a list of some amazing resources to use in your study of this literature unit on Homeless Bird, and best of all?  You guessed it, they are FREE!!! What better way to study literature?

Parents can choose some of the great discussion questions found here.

Here are some free vocabulary flash cards with pronunciation (score!)

This is a neat free presentation on Hindu culture specifically meant for this book.

A character list for Homeless bird that allows parents some great writing prompt opportunities for free journaling about characters and their respective traits.

A fantastic geography study of India for kids.

While the older ones are working hard, here are a few free coloring and activity pages for the younger ones.

cut and paste craft for kids about India.

And of course, what unit study would be complete without some art to go with it? Here are a few…art projects for studying Indian culture.

art project for studying Indian culture

candle craft for India unit study

online jigsaw puzzles for India

Learn about 12 animals from India

50 famous Indian food dishes

Some foods mentioned in the book are chickpeas cooked with onion and ginger, curry, mangoes, and coconut cake.

Recipe for coconut cake

Recipe for chickpeas with onion & ginger 

Recipe for chicken curry 

Naan or flat bread 


By now you should feel as though you have been immersed in the study of Indian culture, crafts and maybe even some great new cuisine, enjoy this FREE homeschool unit study and the fantastic discussion about Homeless Bird it prompts you to have!


Dawn is a homeschooling mom living out her dream of a simple life on a small farm with her husband and 5 children. She is an avid gardener, a lover of simplicity, and blogger of natural living at Incidental Farmgirl.

Homeless Bird Free Homeschool Unit Study printables crafts recipes


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Free Frugal Homeschooling Mom Printables Resources Lesson Plans for Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelen Sonlight