How to Plan Successful Homeschool Unit Studies
Homeschool unit studies are a magical world to enter.
Have you ever imagined what your children’s education would look like if they could dive deep into their passions through subjects like math, science, or geography?
It’s absolutely possible. All you need to do is know how to plan homeschool unit studies.
Once I show you the unit study approach, you can decide if the unit studies fit your child.
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What is a Unit Study?
A homeschool unit study is when you buy or prepare a planned curriculum that focuses on all the subjects around one topic for a short or longer period.
Let me give you an example. If your child is into Ancient Egypt and pyramids, you can teach reading and writing through nonfiction and fiction books on this topic. You can also do arts by mummifying Barbie dolls and teaching the region’s geography and history.
You don’t have to teach every subject through a unit study. For example, if you have a separate math curriculum, you can do it alongside.
But the more activities you include in the unit study, the more involved they’ll be.
Why Are Unit Studies Helpful?
I love teaching through unit studies. I think it’s an eye-opening experience and one of the undeniable benefits of homeschooling.
Suddenly everything becomes smooth and easy, and your child is entirely on board with you.
1. You Focus on Your Child’s Interests
First, you should make your children feel that their interests and needs are essential and valuable. In that way, they will feel appreciated.
It’s even more critical with upper elementary and middle-school students. At this age, internal motivation is crucial.
The times when you teach them everything they should learn are over. Still, you must help them be well prepared to go to college and decide about their future.
You have a greater chance of success if you teach subjects that don’t seem so exciting by themselves, on topics they love.
2. Teach Your Child to Think Across Disciplines
Interdisciplinary learning is vital nowadays. Therefore, universities and companies seek students and workers that are not narrow-minded.
The best employers—and employees—know how to explore wide horizons, are flexible, and can easily find connections among topics.
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3. You Give Context to the Content
Most kids and teenagers are not very good at learning topics that seem abstract or detached from the world they know.
For example, examining how ancient Egyptians applied geometrical concepts in constructing pyramids can be funnier than just drawing and calculating 3D shapes in their notebooks.
4. You Can Dive Deep into Each Topic
Let them become experts on what they like.
Unit studies allow your kid to explore each topic from different angles and gain new perspectives. Their knowledge won’t be superficial or limited to pure facts. They will be able to inquire about every exciting aspect.
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5. It’s Flexible
Are you homeschooling more than one child? Units of inquiry let you use the same topic with different activities.
Elementary and middle school students can work together, share their knowledge, and collaborate.
6. It’s Fun
Kids love well-chosen units of study.
As you usually focus on what they like, their enthusiasm is natural. Moreover, these units are generally full of hands-on activities, and kids like experimenting.
Try it once, and you’ll be surprised how entertaining the whole process is.
How to Prepare Homeschool Unit Studies
Preparing a unit study is easier than you think, even if it’s the first time you’re doing it.
1. Choose the Topic
Try to focus on your child’s favorite theme or hobby.
If they like dinosaurs, planes, gardening, or fashion, go for it.
2. Assess Their Current Knowledge
How much do they already know about the topic? What would be the most exciting lines of inquiry for some subjects? Can you narrow the topic to be able to explore it later on too?
3. Get Your Materials
Do your research and look for textbooks, books, and any other resources that might be helpful, and slowly build your library.
You can go to a local library and choose the ones you want to bring home or take your child to the library and make the whole process part of the learning experience.
4. Plan Your Goals
What do you want your kid to know?
Although you can always go a bit with the flow and adapt according to what you discover on the way, it’s good to have some general goals clear.
You’ll probably want to align them with the national curriculum standards.
5. Plan Activities
Now that you have the goal set, you can plan accordingly.
What project do you want to do within the subjects? Any field trips that come to your mind? Any expert on the topic that could contribute their knowledge and expertise?
Now, all you need is to start teaching and enjoy the process.
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Homeschool Unit Studies Resources and Ideas
If you don’t want to plan a unit study yourself or you don’t feel prepared to do it, there are some ready-to-go ideas that you can follow.
Pinterest offers plenty of free and paid homeschool unit studies. You can find ideas on almost everything, from a secular or a Christian approach.
You can find activities, proposed resources, printables, and anything that will make your planning process more manageable.
Amanda Bennet is also a well-known author of unit studies that aim to build creative thinkers. You can buy them separately or in bundles on her website.
If you’re interested in more Christian or Bible-centered unit studies, try Konos. Their homeschool study units integrate science, social studies, art, music, literature, information books, health, safety, and Bible. It covers from Kindergarten to 8th grade.
Gather ‘Round Homeschool is a complete Christian unit study program for small kids up to the 12th grade. The units integrate all the subjects except math. Each unit has 20 lessons that should take about one day. Every lesson comes with a passage from the Bible.
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Find Success with Unit Studies!
I can promise that you and your child won’t want to switch back once you try teaching through a unit study.
Homeschool unit studies will change your approach to teaching, and you might discover a passionate learner inside your kid.
Remember that you can always purchase pre-made unit studies and see how you feel about them.
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