10 Steps to Create Your Own Easy to Implement Unit Study!

March 11, 2020
Written by:
Courtney Newman

Unit studies are an exciting experience for homeschoolers. A unit of study focuses on one central theme, for example, insects.  In that study, students will learn all about insects, combining multiple subjects into one study. Homeschoolers may cover everything from the biology of insects to the history of certain kinds, to the spelling of scientific names and more! In other words, one topic is studied from the perspective of various subjects. Truthfully, life does not typically differentiate between categories and subjects. In that manner, unit studies are a great way to introduce students to real-life experiences.

When it comes to incorporating unit studies in your homeschool, parents have a variety of options available. Several homeschooling websites, like ours, have already put together free unit studies on a variety of topics. However, if you can’t find any for your topics, or they aren’t available as free unit studies, you can always create one yourself. While it may seem intimidating to pull together a DIY unit of study, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.  

There are, in fact, several benefits to creating your own!

  • Make the DIY unit study as in-depth as you like
  • Adjust the study to your student’s learning levels
  • Eliminate pressure to move on from a fascinating topic
  • Include or exclude whatever makes you comfortable
  • Keep it secular or religious per your preference

How to Plan a Homeschool Unit Study

When researching how to plan a homeschool unit study, it’s easy to feel intimidated at first. Start with considering the topic you’d like to study. The best aspect of unit studies is flexibility! When you are gathering resources for a unit of study, nearly any material on your central topic can serve as a helpful element. Unit studies are wonderful for hands-on learning since they can also include lots of tactile projects and crafts, so Pinterest will likely be your best friend!

  • Choose a Theme. Which topic would you like to study? Is there a particular theme your family has enjoyed recently? Truth be told, a unit of study can be on nearly any subject matter. Whether you choose a recent fascination or a book, historical event, upcoming holiday, or anything in-between, a unit study is a great way to learn more about the topic. The sky’s the limit! 
  • Consider Your Goals. Before looking for resources, take a moment to think about your academic goals for this unit. What are you hoping your children achieve? Your goals can be as simple or complex as you like. You may merely want them to understand the themes of a book, or you may challenge them to deeply analyze the worldview of a movie storyline. Either way, consider your children’s age levels and write down specific goals for each homeschooler.
  • Search for Books. A solid unit study will always involve books! A Google search similar to, “Books for kids about [topic]” can help, as well as a Goodreads, Pinterest, or Amazon search. Similarly, it is always a good idea to check your library’s database! Better yet, talk with a librarian.
  • Find Videos. Videos are an excellent teaching tool, especially for visual learners! You can find educational videos on YouTube, National Geographic, Netflix, Hulu, and even Amazon Prime. Your local library may also have a few great video resources.
  • Choose Crafts. Crafts are a fun and engaging way to learn more about a particular topic. For example, if your unit study is about Earth Day, your homeschoolers can build a Playdough model of the earth! Pinterest is a wonderful option for finding crafts and activities for kids.
  • Research Outings. Field trips bring homeschooling alive! Give your students a firsthand experience by scheduling a field trip or outing related to their unit study. A few examples of unit study outings could include a trip to an observatory for astronomy, a visit to the zoo for exotic animals, a fishing trip for fish species, a visit to a creek for tadpoles, and so on.
  • Consider Science Projects. You’ll be surprised at how often science can accompany a unit study. Look online for possible science projects, which are a great option for hands-on learning! Beyond science, what about cooking? Perhaps prepare a themed dish from the book or era!
  • List Your Activities. Begin listing out all the activities you want to check off, as well as some possibilities given the chance. Further, consider if there are any assignments you’d like your students to complete in regards to printables, writing, math, etc.
  • Create the Schedule. Decide how many days you’d like to devote to this study. One week? One month? The amount of time you’ll need for the study will depend on how many activities, books, and projects you have in mind. Begin organizing and ordering your activities according to this schedule.
  • Add it to the Weekly Homeschool Plan. The last step: incorporating your unit study with your existing weekly plan! Some parents create unit studies while planning their homeschool year before August, while many follow the interests of their children through the year and weave them into the existing plan.

10 Unit of Study Resources for Homeschooling

Unit studies can focus on any subject your students like. As with living books, one of the main theories behind unit studies is to follow your children’s excitement. All of us learn best when we are having fun! A unit of study is rooted in the joy of exploration and discovery, wherever that topic may lead.

Whether you are looking to supplement your homeschool with free unit studies, or you are planning to homeschool entirely from one unit of study to another, these resources will help you learn how to plan a homeschool unit study.

  • Homeschool Unit Study Resources. We have several unit studies listed here, ranging over several topics and categorized by umbrella subjects for convenience. If you are looking for unit studies regarding specific holidays and events, there are several to choose from on this page. Either use them as they are, are as a starting point for creating your own!
  • How to Improve Writing Skills with Unit Studies. Unit studies are a good opportunity to work on writing skills. Explore how to include writing assignments in a unit study, as well as how to keep them fun and engaging for your children.
  • Make Your Own Space Exploration Unit Study! Is your homeschooler fascinated with space? Or, perhaps you haven’t studied astronomy yet with your kids and it’s time to learn. Either way, these resources will help you create your own unit of study for space exploration!
  • DIY Poetry Unit Study. While it may not seem like poetry lends itself well to a unit study, it is actually a great topic for unit studies! Students tend to dislike poetry due to its complicated and often dry nature. Using a unit of study for poetry can help it feel alive and fun!
  • Creating Your Own Literature-Based Unit Study. If you have big readers, a literature-based unit study will likely be enjoyable for your homeschoolers. Literature can be an excellent way to explore certain topics, especially history! 
  • Living Book Lists for Homeschool Science Study. As with literature, living books are a great choice for a unit of study. Living books teach through the narrative to keep students engaged and excited. If living books are new to you, consider this article for how to include them in your homeschool.
  • Lapbook Study Anytime of the Year! Have you heard of lapbooks? They could be a great idea to include in a unit study! Lapbooks are similar to scrapbooks with collections around a central theme, usually stored in file folders. If you are looking for an organizational method for recording your student’s work on their unit study, a lapbook could be a good solution!
  • Science Unit Studies + Printables. We have free, comprehensive unit study resources available for astronomy, chemistry, nuclear science, and earth science! If you want to include more science studies in your homeschool, a unit study can be a great option. Use these unit studies as they are, or add a personal twist!
  • The Ultimate Classical Literature Unit Study Resource. Sometimes, you just need a unit study for the classics! This is a high school literature unit study, divided into each level for grades ninth through twelfth. The unit study resource is categorized by book titles, resources, writing prompts, and spelling lists!
  • Top 20 Living Books for History and Social Studies. Unit studies are especially helpful for social studies. Subjects such as history and geography are renowned for boring students to tears in a mess of dates and events. Bring social studies alive with a hands-on unit for exciting real-life applications.

Courtney Newman

Courtney Newman is a homeschooled graduate with a love for writing. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in coastal Virginia.