Tuesday, May 6, 2014

U is for Unit Study: An Introductory Guide

This goes along with the hands on learning I talked about in April. Unit studies are a lot of fun and can be used for fun fill in activities or the main part of your curriculum depending on what you do and how in depth you get with the topics.There are entire curricula based on unit studies and plenty of individual topic unit studies that are just a click away. I've included unit studies in my homeschooling creativity series because with these unit studies there's always extra activities, crafts or field trips that can be worked into them. They foster creativity in both you and your children as you are learning and enjoying it too.

What are Unit Studies

Basically a unit study is where you take a subject, usually something your children are interested in and all of your activities revolve around that theme.

For example, my son is into dinosaurs and dragons so i found some fun activities for him that I printed out. There were graphing activities, spelling, sorting sizes of dragons, we read stories and made artwork with our dragon theme.

What Makes Them Great
Many homeschool families use unit studies because it's easier to get children involved when they are interested in the subject

You can tailor them to the time frame you need them to be. If you have a few days to fill in for the end of your school year you can pick something fun to do to wrap up or you can do longer, more in depth studies that last several weeks!

Where to Find Unit Studies
Many can be found online by searching for a topic of interest to your children or searching Pinterest for unit studies can bring up lots of freebies as well.

If you haven't checked out Currclick be sure you do! Currclick has a wide variety of materials and plenty of unit studies to do with your kiddos! I've used a few for co-op classes with preschoolers and we had a lot of fun with them!

One of my favorite sites is Homeschool Share.  Homeschool share has unit studies, notebooking pages and lapbooks for toddlers up through age twelve and even includes independent study units

There are several curriculum programs available for homeschoolers to use. Cathy Duffy has a large list of them and more information about unit studies on her 100 Top Picks site.  Some of the more widely known programs are listed there like Weaver, KONOS, Winter Promise and Five in a Row. as well as many others.

An Example for You
This spring for our co-op I taught a class for eight to twelve year old children using the book "Nim's Island." Each week the students read several chapters and then we had some fun in class with activities.
Week 1 we read the first chapter aloud and tried several tropical fruits.
Week 2 Children made their own rafts out of straws and foil
Week 3 we made a mural of the island and tried a volcano experiment
Week 4 they made their own tourist guides for Nim's island
Week 5 was a fun scavenger hunt of sorts where the children were split into teams and given clues which were some kind of detail from the book.

Have you used unit studies? What tips do you have for someone who is new to them? 

Note: This post includes affiliate links, these do not affect the cost to you, only blesses my family with a small portion.

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