Have you ever considered unit studies for your homeschool? Unit studies are a great way to learn about a new topic or even a combination of topics. Usually you can find multi-age unit studies to cater to different ages or even grades.
If you are currently considering unit studies for your homeschool, you have a variety of ideas and options available to you. Here are some examples of unit studies and how they work:
Civil War (Grades 1-5):
First, search for the best resource about the Civil War. This can be a book from the library, online, etc. A good example would be: Two Miserable Presidents: The Amazing, Terrible, and Totally True Story of the Civil War. To keep track of your information, create some sort of felt board or learning board with all the information your child gathers. You can often find free printables online. Plan a field trip. It can be any of the civil war battle site states such as Alabama, Arkansas, etc. Virtual field trips are just a great too. You can get as creative as you want in putting together a unit study.
If you are wanting to do a unit study on insects for grades 1-5, you can mix and match information on insects such as ants, butterflies, bees, ladybugs, etc. You can find a variety of online activities such as teaching kids ant anatomy, or simply find books and pictures. Ideas are definitely abundant here.
Learning About the Human Body:
If you are teaching about the human body and need a supplement to enforce the lesson, here are some ideas you can put together for this unit study: A children’s encyclopedia of the human body, resources from online sites like Teacher Created Resources, Science activity books from the library, experiment forms, and more.
As you can see, ideas are limitless when putting topic ideas together for unit studies. If you would like to find a unit study that already has been put together, check out the Teach Them Diligently marketplace for ideas. You can also create unit studies based on Legos, Little House on the Prairie, robotics, engineering, sewing, gardening, music,….the list goes on and on. Does your child love horses? Create a unit study totally focusing on just horses. What about cooking and baking? Yes, that too. Unit studies are meant to make learning fun. Learning should be an enjoyable experience for students young and old.
What is your next idea for a unit study?
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Middle school students are mature enough to begin thinking more deeply about Thanksgiving. They are able to complete more complex assignments about the related history. Thanksgiving unit studies for middle school students create hands-on learning opportunities when holiday excitement makes it hard to concentrate on text books.
Children who enjoy role playing may enjoy creating costumes and writing plays for friends and family to participate in. Costume making combines history and home economics subjects. Who doesn’t like getting two for one? Perhaps your reluctant writer will forget to be reluctant when carried away by writing the play?
Ways to Teach the History of Thanksgiving
Unit studies allow elementary and older children to work on the same historical time period together. Expand the requirements for an elementary unit study to make it middle school appropriate.
1) Research Pilgrim-era games and teach them to younger friends and family during the holidays.
2) Create a timeline of Pilgrim leaders and other historical figures who lived at the same time, etc.
3) Identify the character traits, good and bad, of the major figures in the Pilgrim story. Did those traits help or hurt the person? Which of those traits to you see in yourself?
4) Computer savvy youngsters may want to create a power point presentation of their findings on a Thanksgiving related topic.
Nothing like knocking out two subjects with one assignment!
Visit the Thanksgiving unit study at 123 Homeschool 4 Me. Ideas include: costumes, quills, DIY marbles, Johnny Cakes, and book printables. I love the hands on activites included in this engaging unit study. Especially for a youngster who learns by doing more than reading, hands on activities make learning easier.
Want to teach your middle school student more about Plymouth Rock? Take the ideas from Fall Into First and create more challenging tasks for middle schoolers while working with younger ones on the same topics.
Love Pinterest? Amanda Bennett has a wonderful board of unit study ideas.
The website In All You Do offers a free printable Thanksgiving unit study for pre-K through 5th grade.
Field of Daisies has listings of poems, audiobooks, a play, science activities, and loads of cooking fun tucked inside the Old Fashioned Thanksgiving unit study. Math, music, Bible studies and printables round out this wonderful resource.
Unit studies may seem challenging for moms who are more comfortable with text book based learning. The holiday season is a good time to try one on for size. Offer your middle schoolers the opportunity to use unit studies and broaden their understanding of colonial history while celebrating Thanksgiving.
This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.
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Free Resource – The 14 Day Starter Bible Devotional for Homeschool Moms!
Focusing on the foundation of your homeschool provides a powerful anchor to direct your day and your school teaching to the Gospel. A short focus on the foundation at the beginning of your day will bear massive results.
- MINUTES A DAY.
Each entry can be read in minutes each day.
- FOCUS ON THE WORD.
It is amazing how other priorities fall in line when we get the foundation right each day. Starting with the correct priority will minimize distraction.
- KNOWN FOR THE HEART.
Teach Them Diligently is known for addressing the heart of discipleship in homeschooling. Let us help!
Are you thinking about homeschooling using Unit Studies?
We’ve created a Pinterest board with resources to help get you started.
Are you thinking about homeschooling? Find out more about how to get started on our Getting Started Homeschooling Resource page.
Don’t forget, Teach Them Diligently is offering a free “Getting Started” workshop on Thursday at each of our convention locations and many other Getting Started workshops throughout the event. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to build a solid foundation for your homeschool!
By Sharon Gibson, Homeschool Legacy and Once-A-Week Unit Studies
Teaching Outside The Box
I still remember the day my favorite teacher took our science class outside to look at clouds while teaching us how to identify their various kinds and the approaching weather each foretold. It sounds so simple, but that day Mr. Lawrence closed the textbook, taught outside the box (and the classroom), and got me excited about learning!
That’s what unit studies do! They open up a world of possibilities and help you make learning (and teaching) fun!
Most of us begin homeschooling our children in the same manner we were taught, with textbooks. Textbooks have their place, of course, but as a chief resource they translate poorly to the homeschool environment.
Think about it. In school, teachers assign each student a textbook for every class they will take. Each will teach a group of students, all roughly the same age, from one textbook. Now add up all the textbooks from all those teachers. Each teacher doesn’t have to teach from every one of those books; he or she is only teaching from one. Yet, somehow, we think we can…and still remain sane!
Another aspect of this scenario is that homeschool families have children of varying ages. Add to this the fact that textbook companies determine your 2nd grader should learn about this historic time period and those particular science topics…and your 3rd grader…and your fourth grader…Okay, so, let’s do the math. If you have three children, and you take into account only history and science, that means mom and dad will have six different textbooks to keep up with, for those two subjects alone!
Have no fear…unit studies are here!
Unit studies provide you the opportunity to teach all your children history and science, (and other subjects as well) at the same time, regardless of their ages. Don’t worry, there’s nothing written in stone that says certain grades have to study specific time periods or science topics. So relax! You’ve just crossed six textbooks off your list, made your life easier, and saved enough money to go on a date with your sweetheart!
Best of all, unit studies offer an “outside-the-box” innovative method of incorporating creative, hands-on assignments and activities to truly engage your children in the learning process. While learning about the colonists your kids might make and play some early American games, while learning about Indians they could build a model Native American home, and when learning about weather and discovering the characteristics of frozen precipitation they could grow their own crystals while making rock candy! The possibilities are endless. Whoever said serious learning couldn’t be fun?
Are unit studies for everyone?
I believe they are; one family may just utilize them differently than the next. Some homeschool families choose unit studies, like we did, as their main curriculum. Others use them to complement their curriculum with creative hands-on activities or as an occasional respite from “school as usual.”
That’s another nice feature. They’re flexible! You may do a mini-study that lasts as little as one day or a week, or you might choose to spread its content over several weeks. You can even tailor unit studies to meet your children’s individual interests.
However you to choose to use them, unit studies are sure to energize your homeschool, make you an even better teacher, and get your kids genuinely excited about learning!
Also check out the other posts in this series: “What is a Unit Study” and “A Look Inside a Unit Study Day”
Sharon Gibson is the founder of Homeschool Legacy
and author of Once-a-Week Unit Studies