All About Unit Studies

As you know, there are many methods of homeschooling. We have already discussed classical, and Charlotte Mason. Today, I want to share with you all about Unit Studies.

What are Unit Studies?

Unit studies allow a homeschooler to focus on one topic for a set period of time. During this time the students will learn many subjects together. This could include History, Science, Literature, Art and more. For example, a unit study on horses may involve the history of horses, the anatomy of horses, and learning to draw a horse. The students would read books on horses, and maybe even visit a horse farm. All learning will center on that one topic, but will incorporate many different subjects.

Will Unit Studies Work for My Family?

Probably! Each families needs are different. However, Unit Studies can work in most situations. Unit Studies are particularly beneficial for large families because parents can keep a wide variety of ages together.

Unit studies can be used for short term projects; we have completed unit studies on Thanksgiving, Dolphins, and Pioneers. These were all topics my children were interested in, so we took a break from our normal book work and studied these subjects. Unit studies are great for learning more about a subject your children are particularly interested in for the short term.

Unit studies are also great for long term learning. Many parents plan out a school year in advance on a wide variety of topics. They may spend winter learning about the arctic, or Fall learning about astronomy. The sky is the limit when it comes to unit studies.

 Where Can I Get More Information?        

There are a wide variety of sites out there that offer more information on Unit Studies.

Amanda Bennett’s Unit Studies offers a great collection of prepackaged unit studies. These are downloadable in PDF format, and are fairly reasonably priced.  These unit studies are available in wide age ranges and can include the whole family.

Currclick also offers a great variety of prepackaged unit studies. Currclick also offers unit studies that focus on set age ranges (High School, Jr. High, etc) as well as unit studies for the whole family.

Homeschool Share offers unit studies that are literature based.

Great Peace Academy made a great roundup of FREE Unit Study options.

Now that you know all about unit studies, I recommend that you give them a shot! Rather short or long term, unit studies can offer a great variety in your homeschool!

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

Blessed Distractions

I grew up in the era when schools were experimenting with open classrooms–or rooms without walls. My parents were appalled as they visited the new building and found bookshelves as dividers and mats in place of auditorium chairs. A third-grade student at the time, I just loved the ‘newness.’ A ‘nerd’ from childhood, I guess, I was just excited to be surrounded with things to learn! Maps, books, globes–I can still see it in my mind. Distraction was not an issue because learning fascinated me. For the most part, my attention was not disrupted because the opportunity in front of me already captivated me.

More than that, I think the presence of distractions proved to be a tool for building my focus. While teachers could be heard in adjacent ‘rooms,’ my focus had to be trained on the teacher in my area. I can not be certain of the reason, but I forty years later, my ability to focus despite distractions remains. My family has been frustrated more than once while I worked on a writing and tuned everything out around me. It is a blessing hard to describe.

So, why do I share all this–as if it has bearing on our homeschool classrooms. Because I believe it does. We teach in the midst of life. Dogs bark, doorbells ring and family needs flow in and out of our lesson plans. What a blessing for our children! Although we must impress upon our children (and often our extended families and friends) the priority of education, we do not need to stress over teaching amidst distractions. Life is rich in learning; home education embraces that learning along with the books. Take joy in the unexpected lessons being learned!

-BJ