We love science here at Homeschool.com! It’s a bit of a shame that so many people dislike science due to it feeling overly complicated, dry, and boring. Too often, science is limited to stuffy textbooks and memorized vocabulary. In actuality, science is so much more, and it should be filled with excitement! Homeschool science studies present the best opportunities for hands-on fun, science experiments, and learning moments. With science, we can read about theories, and then mix a few ingredients and actually see the explosive or startling results. Science is one of the rare subjects that visually and physically demonstrate what students have studied, rather than being limited to theories, rules, lessons, and books alone.
To celebrate multiple science week celebrations, we have put together four homeschool science unit studies to delve into these fascinating topics!
April Science Opportunities for Homeschoolers
To begin, homeschoolers can study these exciting four science events happening this month!
Our first unit study is in celebration of World Space Week! This week is an annual worldwide event, occurring October 4th – 10th. Each year celebrates humankind’s space achievements and works toward new discoveries and practical applications of future space realities. World Space Week began in recognition of Sputnik’s launch on October 4, 1957, the world’s first human-made satellite, as well as the effective date of the Outer Space Treaty ten years later on October 10, 1967.
Aerospace engineering has come leaps and bounds over the years, evidenced by the incredible fact that spaceships have visited every planet in our solar system! World Space Week is the perfect time to learn more about NASA, the importance of astronomy science, uncovering the lesser-known achievements in space history, and the potential future of space discovery. We have covered each of these points in our unit study, in addition to the history of World Space Week, astronomy science activities for kids, and printables for flashcards, puzzles, and more. This unit study will help your students learn all about how astronomy science affects the earth, and it could even be the perfect opportunity for a field trip — perhaps to the Air and Space Museum or the Kennedy Space Center!
What better time to explore a unit study on Earth science than for Earth Science Week? Though this week was originally established in the United States, it is recognized as a worldwide event. Each year, scientists, teachers, researchers, and students come together to understand the importance of earth science, the practical effects of earth science in our everyday lives, and the need for continued research and support in the Geoscience fields and industries. Though Earth science is often brushed off as merely geology and rock collections, it extends to so much more. Earth Science Week is dedicated to helping raise public awareness of how earth science affects all of us!
Earth science is a combination of life science and physical science with multiple branches: oceanography, astronomy, meteorology, and geology! With our unit study, you’ll find loads of earth facts and resources for an in-depth earth science study, as well as potential inspiration for continued research. Have fun with shocking science experiments and hands-on projects, learn amazing earth facts, and apply your newly-learned knowledge with our free printables! We’ve created puzzles, games, flashcards, and more. Earth science is all about pushing the boundaries and seeing how to create a sustainable future for our tomorrows — which makes it the perfect study for innovative homeschoolers!
Nuclear science is a bit of a mystery, isn’t it? We’ve all heard about nuclear energy and nuclear function, but what does the term “nuclear” actually refer to, and why does it matter? Every third week of October is recognized globally as Nuclear Science Week, and its goal is to help the public find answers to these questions! Each year, scientists and educators alike gather to teach about the importance of nuclear science and the future possibilities of research. For example, nuclear science has given us solar energy as an electricity source, as well as technology that has revolutionized the medical field: X-rays, CT scans, mammography, and more.
Nuclear science has led to incredible discoveries in our world, but not without risks. How big are these risks — and are they worth it? In our unit study, we discuss this topic, as well as explore all the known benefits of nuclear science and the possibilities of where physics and nuclear research are headed in the future. You’ll learn about the history of Nuclear Science Week, read about fun facts, STEM experiments, and as always, enjoy our free printables for puzzles, worksheets, and even a nuclear science-themed book report!
Chemistry is one of those subjects that people either love or hate, as is biology. Usually, these preferences are the result of how the chemistry study was approached, and whether or not students grasped a solid understanding of the complicated formulas and math. However, with a different technique and a focus on exciting science experiments and hands-on opportunities, mastering chemistry can be exciting for everyone. After all, chemistry is the explanation of literally everything that exists and occurs in our world (and outer space!).
For National Chemistry Week, we created a unit study to explore the importance of learning about chemistry, the various ways our world has benefited from biochemistry research, and especially, the practical impacts of chemistry in our daily lives. Those practical impacts are probably the most important to include; after all, those real, visual results are the inspiring moments that often motivate individuals to pursue chemistry both personally and professionally. As always with our unit studies, we have included several free printables to apply new concepts directly to worksheets and games!
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.
Resources for Unit Studies
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!
- 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!
- Printable Science Experiment Journal. Make your science experiments easier with this printable journal! Your student can read about the scientific process and utilize various pages to record everything they need: a materials list, a bibliography page, lab journal pages, and more!
In the end, our goal with these four comprehensive unit studies is to hopefully encourage your students to take an interest in any branch of science. We hope your homeschooling family can have fun with these homeschool science experiments and activities (and more at Science Buddies!), and enjoy the wonder of these discoveries. Thanks to countless scientists and researchers, our world has been transformed for the better and is constantly improving in computer science, technology, medicine, and more. If there is one thing we know for certain, it’s that these discoveries and improvements require novel thinking processes, which makes it an excellent field for creative homeschoolers!
Courtney Newman is a homeschool graduate with a love for writing. She is also 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 Virginia.