There are so many options available when it comes to homeschooling and how to do it. We have tried quite a few homeschooling styles over the years and have found that unit studies make our kids excited to learn.
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What Are Unit Studies
Unit studies are not like textbook learning. You will not have a pile of textbooks for each child. Usually, you won’t even have any textbooks at all. Of course, you will have books, but mainly just books on the topics you are currently studying.
Unit studies are topical studies that focus on one topic but include all the subjects your kids need to learn. These subjects include language arts, science, history/geography, art, etc. Each of these subjects will focus on the topic you are learning while still covering the skills your child needs to know.
Typically, a unit study would include a short lesson to start the day. Mom or dad would read/talk about this with all children. After the main lesson is discussed, each child would work on worksheets related to their learning level.
How to Pick Topics
There are many different ways to pick your topics for unit studies. You can sit down at the beginning of the year and plan out unit studies based on the seasons and holidays. You can plan on topics that you feel are most important. Or, you can sit down with your kids and find out what they want to learn about.
Allowing your children to have a say in the topic they will be learning about allows them to be excited about learning. This means that they will want to dig deeper and learn more about the different topics.
We have done a few different unit studies where I have chosen the topic. These unit studies have turned out boring for the kids, and they drag on. When I allow the kids to have a say in what topic we are learning about, they get excited and spend free time still learning more about the topic of focus.
Benefits of Unit Studies
You can sit down with all your kids when using unit studies simultaneously. You are no longer trying to figure out how to schedule your time around multiple kids and their individual studies. This is a massive thing for me. I love knowing that everyone will get their lessons done simultaneously. This allows for all of us to have more free time to do things we want to do.
Watching my kids help each other on worksheets and projects is one of the things I love the most about unit studies in our homeschool. Working on unit studies together as a family also allows us to bond as a family. We are all learning about the same topic, so we can all help each other.
Another great benefit to unit studies is the money I save each year on our homeschool curriculum. When I am only working on the unit studies, and most of our learning comes from online or books we find at the library, I don’t have to worry about three different science curricula or three different levels of language arts. The only thing I need to add to our unit studies is math.
Where to Find Unit Studies
There are many different places to find unit studies. It just depends on which style, theme, and topic you are looking for. I have tried a few different ones and will share my favorites here.
We are currently working on a unit study from Gather ‘Round Homeschool. These unit studies are Christian-based and do talk about God. These unit studies will need a teacher’s guide and a student workbook for each level you are teaching. I opt to grab the digital all grades package. This way, I can reuse the units later on when the kids are at different levels.
I have also used unit studies from UnitStudy.com. These unit studies are a little different from the ones at Gather ‘Round Homeschool. You just need one for all your students, and they complete either the lower level or upper-level work. You, as the parent, can add more as you think they need. There are a lot of links within the learning to different websites. I do love that we can supplement the reading, but sometimes this can get a little difficult to navigate with the kids around the kitchen table.
Another favorite place that I grab unit studies from is Our Journey Westward. These are Charlotte Mason-based unit studies, which I love. Many of the studies are nature-based, but they still include all the other subjects. Our Journey Westward also has live nature studies twice a month. These are so fun for the kids to interact with Cindy and other students worldwide.
Using Unit Studies to Excite Your Children
After trying different schooling methods, I have decided that unit studies work in our homeschool. The kids enjoy them and want to learn more; that is something I can’t argue about! There are so many great choices out with different styles of unit studies, but the best part is, if you can’t find one that works for your family, you can make your own!
Have you used unit studies in your homeschool? What did or didn’t you like about them?