How to Use Unit Studies in Your Homeschool

Unit studies are a popular homeschool method that is hands-on and usually literature-based. It can be used for all scholastic subjects, and you can gather all the subjects through the study of one topic. Unit studies allow you to teach different ages the same topic at different levels, so it's a great choice for families who want to teach their kids the same topic at the same time. 

What Are Unit Studies?

Unit studies are an overview or study of a defined topic or theme that involves multiple subject areas into the study plan. This study of homeschooling is often called thematic units, and the parent uses multisensory learning when possible. 

An example would be a unit study on airplanes. Students might study the evolution of airplanes (history), why airplanes work (science), read books about airplanes (reading), learn how to build a model airplane (math), and write a paragraph on his favorite airplane (writing). 

The Benefits of Using Unit Studies 

Parents often use unit studies as a way to dive into topics that the children are interested in learning more. The student gain mastery of these topics by exploring the subject from different angles. Children retain more knowledge with this method. 

For years, unit studies were used in traditional schools, and homeschooling families began to adopt this method as well. Families note that using unit studies allow them to keep all of their kids engaged in learning and that their children find learning much more interesting. 

Unit studies work well for many situations, such as: 

  • Families who have multiple aged children.
  • Kids on the autism spectrum. 
  • Parents who want to make their own curriculum
  • Those who want to homeschool on a low budget. 
  • Anyone who wants to try a different style of learning! 

Pros and Cons of Unit Studies

Unit studies can replace some or all of your regular subjects. You might decide to use unit studies on a short term basis to give everyone a break, or it might be how you plan to spend your entire year. 

Here are some pros and cons that homeschoolers notice with unit studies.

  • Unit studies are hands-on and interactive.
  • They work for all learning styles.
  • You can work with your child's interest. 
  • This approach is inexpensive because you can use information online, at the library, or anywhere.
  • Once the topic is done, you can move to the next topic.
  • There is no time limit to be spent on each study. 
  • Unit studies are planning intensive. Parents need to put a lot of time into planning the studies. 
  • Depending on the topic, it can be hard to fit all the subjects in the unit.

Tips to Create Your Own Unit Studies

Interested in organizing your own unit studies for your homeschool curriculum? Here are some helpful tips. 

  • Spend more time planning the study. Make sure you have all of your resources and materials gathered ahead of time. It makes all of the lessons go smoother.
  • Pick some goals you want for each study. What do you want your children to learn and remember the most from this unit study?
  • Create a basic outline for each day and what you would like to accomplish. Remember, homeschooling allows for flexibility, so don't be upset if you don't follow the outline perfectly. 
  • Check Pinterest for some ideas! 
  • Look for ways to incorporate subjects. Are there any fun science projects that would go with the study? Look for field trips that would go with the unit. 
  • Be ready to go down some rabbit holes and spend more time exploring the topic if your child loves it. 

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