What is a Unit Study?

By Sharon Gibson, Homeschool Legacy

Are you new to homeschooling? Perhaps you have been homeschooling for several years. Either way, you will eventually hear about something called a “unit study.” What you hear will spark your interest, but may leave you slightly puzzled, so allow me to explain.

What is a Unit Study?

Unit Study Defined

A unit study focuses on a specific topic, while delving into it more deeply than would a standard textbook. Unit studies allow you the freedom to immerse your children in virtually anything that interests them. They also tend to be more creative, offer more hands-on experiential learning, and allow you the opportunity to build a variety of school subjects around the focus topic.

 A Comparison Of Two Types of Study

Imagine if you will two tables. Each table represents a class for which you may register.

Upon table one rests a science textbook. You page through it, taking note of a chapter on birds that you will read should you choose to register for that class. Suddenly, table two catches your eye. You are intrigued. You decide to investigate.

Wow! Table two is full to overflowing with homemade bird feeders, bird seed and recipes for bird food concoctions, a bird identification guide, binoculars, colorful library books, a biography about John James Audubon, and another book, Birds of America, chock-full of his beautiful paintings! There is also a book that teaches you how to draw birds and a journal in which to record various species and their habitats while taking a field trip. Displayed beside them is a documentary you will watch, a Bible that will reveal God’s careful attention to detail when creating birds, a movie about migration, and some award-winning fiction you will read together as a class. Ooh, there’s a CD that will teach you to identify birds by their song. YIKES! There are even owl pellets you will apparently dissect in order to determine the predator’s last victim!

Table Two represents a unit study. As you can see, it offers a more fun, creative, hands-on approach to learning, and also provides you with experiences that help you better retain what is learned. And, if you look closely, you will notice this unit study simultaneously weaves the subjects of Bible, science, art, history, arts & crafts, reading, classic literature, and art appreciation into the study of birds. Your writing assignments and geography will also be incorporated.

Which of the two classes would YOU choose?

 Also check out the other posts in this series:  “Unit Studies to the Rescue” and “A Look Inside A Unit Study Day.”

Sharon Gibson, Once A Week Unit Studies, Homeschool LegacySharon Gibson is the founder of Homeschool Legacy

and author of Once-a-Week Unit Studies

Homeschool Legacy Unit Studies

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