By developing and using weekly thematic units, you can add fascinating topics to required subjects–thus making your homeschool classroom much more interesting and fun–for you and your students.
For example, you might determine that your weekly theme is going to be rainbows. Your math manipulatives could be arranged in rainbow order. The books you read might be about rainbows. The science lesson would definitely cover rainbows and prisms. Throughout the week, add rainbow stars to your rewards chart. Hang rainbows from the ceiling that your children have created. And naturally, you would wear a rainbow of clothing throughout the week and ask your children to do the same.
More than the simple fun that this involves are these advantages to you and your children:
- It helps your children learn to develop connections. If your lessons are disconnected and about many different topics throughout the week, the month, and year, you children won’t see the continuity. However, when you use a thematic unit each week, which may be a sub-unit of a larger theme, you help their brains to constantly make connections during class time and beyond the regular instruction day.
- If you feel that your creativity has become stifled by standards and requirements, the use of a themed unit will free you from this feeling. Whenever you force the connection between two unrelated topics, the right brain takes over and controls your thoughts. For example, if you introduce a theme on insects during your curriculum, you’ll begin to see the many different ways you can incorporate that topic that you may not have originally considered.
- You can easily adapt unique assessment strategies because you have a theme upon which you can base a test, essay, or journal entry. Going back to the rainbow theme, you might recommend that your children use rainbow-colored pens, pencils, or crayons for their assessments. Nobody ever said that you must use only black or blue ink!
- Thematic units allow children to develop their own learning strategies. When you present a singular topic on Monday, by Friday you’ll find that your children will be clamoring for more and more ways to develop that theme using the established curriculum.
- Thematic units can be time-savers because you can teach two topics at one time. That includes adding character education to every aspect of your curriculum. When you integrate character education into math, science, and literature, you show your children that integrity can occur in every aspect of their lives.
Weekly thematic units can be fun and interesting to create. Develop your list of topics with your children and then pick one each week or month as your curriculum focus. Watch as their interest spirals throughout the week, the month, and the year!
Renée Heiss is the author of the SHINE! series of themed learning modules based on the books published by Entelechy Education, LLC. She is an award-winning retired educator and author of the books that feature The EnteleTrons, a unique trio of characters who teach STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), character education, and language literacy.
For more information, go to