If you’re intimidated by the idea of creating your own unit studies, allow me to show you just how easy it is. With the tried and true tips below, you’ll be well on your way to creating unit studies that your children love!
What are unit studies?
Simply put, unit studies incorporate lessons all geared toward a specific topic or concept. Typically, they will cross many subjects and involve a variety of organized activities revolving around a chosen thematic idea. Take the topic of insects, for example. Through the unit study approach children can learn the scientific names, biological makeup, where they’re found geographically, and so on.
The unit study method is a growing homeschooling style for many reasons. By using unit studies, parents are finding it easier to teach multiple children all together, accommodate different learning styles, and offer a more well-rounded educational experience. It also seems to be less expensive, more forgiving when it comes to curriculum and resources, and holds the interest of children longer.
If you’re looking for an easy way to start using unit studies in your homeschool, here are five tips to help you create and start using them today!
5 Tips to Help You Easily Create Unit Studies
Choose a theme.
First, you’ll need to choose something to study. I suggest getting your kids involved in this process for many reasons. For starters, you can find out what your kids are interested in. Second, they will typically show more interest in the study because they helped in the process of putting it together. Don’t limit yourself to broad themes. A unit study can be completed on just about anything you can think of!
Create a unit study schedule.
In other words, decide how long you’d like the unit study to last. Some units of study may do well for a week, while other subject matters would do better with two weeks or more. This is something that you can decide based on your kid’s interest levels or according to the amount of resources you’ll be using. This also doesn’t have to be set in stone. If you see that your kids are really enjoying it, keep going. If it’s not keeping their interest, don’t hesitate to stop it.
Another schedule component to consider is what you’d like to do on each day. This will come in handy when it’s time to find resources. Here is a sample one-week unit study schedule:
- Monday: read a book, watch a video, and do a notebooking page.
- Tuesday: hands-on activity/project
- Wednesday: read a book, complete copywork pages, start interactive notebook.
- Thursday: watch a video or documentary, write (or dictate) a report, finish interactive notebook.
- Friday: review.
With an idea of what you plan to do each day, it becomes easier to fill in the days with resources. You can also map out a schedule by subject.
Gathering resources for your unit study is one of the best parts, in my opinion. Take your kids learning styles into consideration and choose curriculum resources to accommodate. If you have kinesthetic (hands-on) learners, they’ll most likely love project-based, interactive projects and activities. Auditory learners would benefit from hearing stories about the subject, while visual learners would appeal to watching videos or movies.
There is certainly no shortage of resources between some that I have here, a quick Google search, Pinterest finds, Teachers Pay Teachers, and the like. Field trips are a big hit with unit studies as well, so don’t forget to plan a few of those too!
Organize your resources.
One of the biggest keys to staying stress-free during the unit study making process is to keep your curriculum, resources, tools, and supplies organized. As you gather these things, determine an organization system that best suits your needs. If you find several websites you’d like to “keep in mind” for later, organize them in the bookmarks section of your browser. Once you’ve printed the resources off, store them in file folders, binders, and/or baskets. Don’t forget to label everything so you can keep track of what you’ve gathered.
Do the unit study.
This may go without saying, but as a veteran homeschooling mom, I can’t tell you how many things I’ve planned to do only to never really do them. To make sure you follow through with actually doing the unit study, write it in your planner and make sure it’s part of your homeschool plan. Keep in mind that unit studies can accommodate any curriculum you’re already using, so don’t feel like this has to be completed totally separate. Merge it in with your current studies and watch your lessons instantly be enhanced!
Unit studies can be an exciting addition to your homeschool. Using the practical tips above, incorporating them into your schedule will be super easy. I’d love to know if you use unit studies; and if so, what are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!