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What is Unit Study? Homeschool Methods Revealed

homeschool types how-to unit study Jan 22, 2024
Two elementary-aged girls at a table cracking eggs and baking. In the background are white curtains and fall leaves.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." ~John 6:35

Does your head spin when trying to decide on ways of homeschooling? 

There are so many different homeschool methods to choose from and it can be overwhelming. 

To help give clarity to the decision, we are focusing on homeschool Unit Study ideas. What is homeschool unit study?  It’s when one topic of focus is woven into some or all subjects being taught.  To make this explanation digestible (and because it’s lunchtime right now) let’s relate homeschool unit study to a delicious recipe like bread baking. 

The first reason why Homeschool Unit Study is like a delicious recipe is that it's a concentration of learning over an extended time.

Bread will be the focus throughout the entire process of baking that day. In the middle of the baking session, who would try to turn the bread recipe ingredients into Spinach Salad? Nobody! Bread is going to be the main focus of that entire baking session. That relates to the Unit Study method because in it one central theme is chosen which will be the focus throughout all of the subjects of learning. The theme will last a certain time frame of the homeschool schedule throughout days/weeks/months depending on what works best for the family. 

During that time, each subject area will have that chosen theme as its focus/starting point. Using this method gives kids the chance to make learning connections deeply. Throughout the time of the unit study, their minds can linger on the theme and it often leads to more experiences in the topic that extend beyond school time.

The second reason why Homeschool Unit Study is like a delicious recipe is that It can be tailored to individual preferences.

Just as each family member prefers certain flavors of foods, unit studies allow for a chance to highlight a family member's unique interests, passions, and giftings.

Unit studies in homeschooling are an opportunity to take the flexibility of the homeschool schedule and make learning come alive. The beauty of unit studies is that you can take something that your family is passionate about and dive deep into it, focusing on it for a lengthy period. It’s the chance to choose a topic that is exciting to everyone in the family and bring it together throughout all the subject areas.

The second reason why Homeschool Unit Study is like a delicious recipe is that It's not necessary to make all of it from scratch. 

One of the most impactful inventions in the world was sliced bread conveniently bagged and available at any given time at neighborhood grocery stores. Fresh-baked bread is delicious but it's a great deal of work. 

That same can be said for Unit Studies but the good news is the hard work and planning have been done. Unit Study resources abound online and can make their way to any homeschool on any given day thanks to ecommerce and delivery services. There are many fantastic open-go unit study programs available from all-in-one programs/curricula to separate piecemeal offerings. Whatever the desired theme, there is sure to be something already created to easily add to homeschool plans. A great place to search for ready-made unit study resources is Cathy Duffy Reviews

For more details from us on creating and finding unit studies, listen to our accompanying podcast episode about Kim's experiences and the surprising way the topic of Aviation surfaced throughout her son’s eighth-grade year.

We hope these reasons give clarity to what defines a unit study. For a practical example of how this could look, here are a few ideas we quickly thought of related to a unit study focused on Marine Science. This illustrates how that or any topic can be woven throughout subjects like language arts, math, history, and of course science. 

Some examples of a Marine Science Unit Study:

Math: 

Use shells as counters during computation. Use buckets, shovels, and sand during weight/measure activities.

Language Arts: 

Read Pagoo by Holling C. Holling.

Write an acrostic poem using the name of a sea animal/pond animal/river animal (etc).

Art: 

Use actual fish to make painted prints.

Music: 

Study the “songs” that ocean animals sing and try to recreate on instruments.

History:

Study the history of the sponge industry in a port city like Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Bible:

Find out what the fish symbol means and find scripture about water/oceans/seas.

Geography:

Draw the currents of the world’s oceans on a map.

Science: 

Study the differences between sea creatures that float, swim, and crawl.

Nature Study:

Visit the beach, a pond/lake, or an aquarium, and draw/label a favorite animal/plant from the experience.

 

Conclusion: 

As imagined from the examples, the possibilities are abundant as to how the unit study could make homeschool plans come alive.  Like when all of the ingredients come together in the bread and it’s fresh from the oven, it stimulates all of the five senses. Our mouths water, we breathe in deeply the delicious smell, we touch the warm, smooth crust, we hear the sound of tearing or slicing it and we see the stream come off the fresh slice. Unit studies hold much potential and we hope to inspire a closer look at this method when choosing a homeschool curriculum.

We pray this blesses you. Reach out with any questions: [email protected]

Be enlightened,

Kim

This article was written with care by us, real humans. No AI invited.😜❤️️

 

 

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