What are unit studies?
Simply put, unit studies are time-based overviews of a specific topic that bring together multiple subject areas into one study plan. These units of study are also referred to in formal education as “thematic units.” Unit studies typically involve multisensory learning where each activity is organized according to the central theme.
Most homeschoolers who use the unit study approach believe that this type of study allows students to dig deeper into a given topic in order to gain mastery of that topic. For example, a student can explore the subject from a variety of angles, and from that a deeper understanding of the topic is retained.
Homeschool Unit Studies
Unit studies are not a new approach to education, in fact, this type of study has been used for some time even dating back to the one-room schoolhouse! Many homeschool families adopt this method because of it flexibility and variety!
A unit study approach is exciting and works very well with these types of situations:
- Families homeschooling children across multiple age groups
- Homeschoolers on the autism spectrum who have intense interests in specific subjects
- Homeschooling parents who want to create their own curriculum
- Families who need low-cost curriculum options
- Homeschoolers who want to break up a traditional homeschooling approach with short-term unit studies for a variety
Unit Study Curriculum
Homeschooling families that are interested in implementing a unit study approach have many options. There are quite a few curricula options that are dedicated to unit study programs. However, parents can easily find resources and create their own homeschool unit studies!
Families interested in the unit study approach have many curriculum options. There are some dedicated unit study curricula available for purchase. Also, parents can research and find many free unit studies online on a wide variety of subjects. For some homeschoolers, though, having the ability to create their own unit studies is what makes this option so appealing.
When we create our own unit studies the following tips are super helpful:
- Spend more time on preparation than on the execution of the study. Having all your resources, materials, and links researched ahead of time will make unit studies go much more smoothly.
- List the academic (or personal) goals you want your child to achieve with each study.
- In the planning stage, create a rough outline of what you want to accomplish each day. Even a simple notebook page of activities and subjects you want to cover daily is a great start.
- If you are a visual person, Pinterest is a great tool for organizing your unit studies. Create a board for each study and pin all the links you may want to refer back to for that topic.
- Get creative with ways to incorporate a variety of subjects. Have you included science projects for your theme? Or did you remember to include writing skills practice in your unit study?
- Remember that you don’t have to create every part of your unit yourself. Take advantage of helpful tools such as online lessons to supplement your study and give you (and the kids!) a break.
- Keep comprehensive records of what you accomplish each day and week. This can be invaluable when creating a homeschool portfolio assessment.