Unit studies are a fantastic addition to your homeschool, but they can be hard to work into your schedule, your life, and your time. How do you make homeschool unit studies work for you?
I have always loved the idea of studying subjects in-depth and making learning fun for my children. It’s one of the main reasons I wanted to homeschool when we started talking about educational choices with our oldest. Then…we had one student and two littles that took up a ton of my time. We then moved into two students and me still chasing my little tornado during our lessons. Life got in the way.
About three years ago, I realized that I was never going to have the perfect “everyone sit down around the worktable” homeschool picture. And that’s when we found the joy in homeschooling! We learned that we can all learn together, but it doesn’t have to be in a rigid, formal setting. Our lives became more about enjoying what we were studying, and less about making it all perfect.
What does that have to do with homeschool unit studies? Well, it has a lot to do with them. We discovered that there is no perfection in a unit study. We have learned to be flexible, and we have to go with the flow. That’s how homeschool unit studies work in our home.
5 Ways to Make Homeschool Unit Studies Work in Your Home
1. Create a unit study for each student based on the same general topic.
– If you’re studying about weather, you could create a unit study for each student about a different type of weather. Student A studies about tornados, Student B learns about hurricanes, then each student teaches the other about their subject.
2. Spend each week or each month on a different unit study.
– Set aside a dedicated amount of time to study each subject. Use the Unit Study Planner to create your unit study, then read a book each day or every other day. Decide on a day to be your activity day each week. Complete the study with an evaluation method. This is a good way to take a spine curriculum and extend it to move more in-depth with the subjects.
3. Create a unit around upcoming travels or studies.
– If you have a big event or travel coming soon, create a study about something related to the event. For example, before our family traveled to Alaska, we learned about Alaskan sports, history, and culture. We watched the Iditarod, learned about ice sculpting, and followed the news for information about Anchorage. We borrowed library books about Alaska, and even found videos about kids traveling to Alaska. By the time we went to the beautiful state, we felt like we knew the area well.
4. Create a unit study for your oldest child, then bring the subject into your daily life with the rest of your children.
– This is how we work unit studies at this point. My oldest is assigned reading related to a unit each day. She’s given activities to complete and we evaluate her progress in understanding the unit. While she’s working through the unit, I grab related library books for her younger siblings to read. We all discuss the subject while in the car, or I’ll download related podcasts or audiobooks for the car that we all listen to.
5. Use a textbook as a spine and then branch out with each subject.
– Many textbooks are dry and boring, or just skim over each part of history or over most subjects. Use Unit Studies to go deeper with each chapter of the textbook. Don’t be afraid to take your time getting through a textbook when you’re learning like this, either. Kids will understand a subject much better when they are given an opportunity to branch out and study a subject in different ways. *Example: When using Apologia’s Swimming Creatures book, we took about a month to get through each chapter. We would read the text book, then find as many related books and activities to extend our learning through each segment of the Apologia book.
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