Variety is the spice of life, and this is especially true when it comes to homeschooling. Shake things up a little, and you’ll find your kids have renewed interest in learning. Put away the curriculum you’ve been using all winter long, and try a week-long homeschool unit study. Your family will love it and you will too!
What Are Unit Studies?
Unit studies are simply a series of hands-on projects that revolve around a single theme. Depending on how you decide to implement the plan, unit studies can focus on any subjects you choose. They are a great way to meet the needs of multi-age siblings learning together.
Ask your kids to identify one theme that interests them such as dinosaurs, underwater life, Shakespeare or the Olympics. Be sure that the theme they choose is broad enough in scope to hold everyone’s attention.
Identify resources and activities such as craft projects, field trips, concerts, books, and films that relate to the theme.
Map out the week and gather any materials you will need.
What Does a Unit Study Look Like?
Every homeschooling family is different and the way they incorporate unit studies will be just as different. A week-long unit study on China might look something like this:
Monday: Find China on the map. Make a historical timeline. Plan an imaginary trip to a famous Chinese attraction.
Tuesday: Cook a traditional Chinese meal. Read storybooks and listen to traditional music from China. Learn to play traditional Chinese games.
Wednesday: Build a replica of the Terracotta Warriors or of The Great Wall of China. Look for photos of these national treasures and discuss their cultural significance.
Thursday: Invite someone over who has visited or lived in China (find a podcast or youtube video), and listen to their first-hand accounts of the region. Take a look at ancient Chinese systems of mathematics. Study Confucianism.
Friday: Visit a museum exhibit about Chinese civilization (or find a virtual online tour). Pretend you are a tour guide and design an advertisement featuring the most impressive sites in the country.
If the week is a success, you may decide that unit studies will be a regular part of your homeschooling routine. The possibilities for developing engaging, fun-filled unit studies are endless, and your kids will love helping you develop these lesson plans. There are also many online resources featuring unit studies that you can purchase or download for free.
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Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been a part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional school and homeschool became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, editor, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children in Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience to help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected].