What are Unit Studies? A Great & Unique Homeschooling Approach!
While researching various homeschooling methods or curriculum options, you’ve probably come across the term ‘Unit Studies’. But, what is this approach and can you use it in your family? In this article, we’ll look at these questions plus I’ll run you through some of the most popular unit studies curriculum packages available today.
What are Unit Studies
Unit studies (US) are collections of hands-on learning activities that are tied to a theme. Children can learn the main subject areas like Math, English, and Science through a hands-on approach. This brings these subject areas to life in a way that makes learning fun and exciting. The benefits of Unit Studies are that you can accommodate your children’s interests effectively and teach your whole family as they learn about the subject together.
Advantages of the Unit Studies Homeschooling Method
If you have a large family you want to homeschool, the Unit Studies method promises to give your whole family a fun education. It offers a number of benefits which include:
- Being able to teach your whole family at the same time.
- The ability to engage your children as they learn through hands-on activities.
- Older siblings can teach younger siblings making them masters of the subject.
- Greater bonding between the family as they work together to accomplish the lesson.
- Creating great leaders of older siblings as they take charge of the younger ones.
- Less stress as Mom or Dad doesn’t have to run between siblings who are all doing different lessons at different times.
As you can see, the US method can effectively join a family together, giving them the same vision. It can also help your day run smoothly as you have fun learning together.
Examples of Unit Studies
The Unit Study method involves making a series of activities that correspond with an overarching theme. If you were teaching your children about the:
- plagues of Egypt, your children might learn about Pharaohs in History, frogs in Science, and Egyptian topography in Geography.
- weather, you might discuss how rain forms in Science, drought or flood events in History, and volcanos in Geography.
- electricity, you could discuss when electricity was invented in History, how it was invented in Science, and so on.
You can apply the US approach to an endless amount of topics. You can even create your own with Unit Studies Made Easy by Bendt Family Ministries.
Unit Studies Homeschooling Curriculum
There are a number of homeschool curricula that follow the Unit Studies approach. Some follow it and are wholly true to the methodology. Others incorporate it with other homeschooling methods, giving you an eclectic curriculum. The most notable curriculum programs that use the US approach include:
- KONOS Unit Studies – A Christian homeschool program that allows you to teach all your children at once.
- Weaver by Alpha Omega Publishing (AOP) – AOP produces the Weaver US curriculum. Where possible they include as many family members in the program as they can.
- Amanda Bennet Unit Studies – sells individual units and subjects.
- Moving Beyond the Page – a program that caters for all children but especially gifted learners. Children learn through creative, hands-on projects and literature in this secular curriculum.
- My Father’s World – a Christian homeschool curriculum that uses US, Classical, and Charlotte Mason methods. It sounds like an ill-assorted mix, but the program gets great reviews.
- Tapestry of Grace – Classical, Christian homeschooling choice.
- Hands of a Child – a lap-booking curriculum.
- Online Unit Studies – While not a complete homeschool curriculum, Techie Homeschool Mom offers a series of Online Unit Study options.
- Unit Studies Made Easy – this is a guide, by the Bendt Family Ministries, on how to create your own Unit Studies curriculum at home.
These options let you choose something that matches your budget and your beliefs. It also lets you mix and match a little if you want different programs from different curriculum providers.
Free US Options
You might want to use a more traditional homeschooling curriculum and include some US on the side. If so, there are a number of free resources, the best of which include:
- FreeUnitStudies.com – they offer around 8 free courses.
- A Mothering – offers links to 100 free courses created by different bloggers.
- Faith and Good Works – this website has also compiled 100 free homeschool unit study ideas.
If you purchase US Made Easy, you can create your own free US which might be the right option, especially if you want to learn about a subject that isn’t mainstream.
The homeschool unit studies method is a great option for large families. US can reduce stress in the homeschool by allowing mom and dad to direct studies for all children at the same time. It lets older children teach younger siblings, developing leadership skills and a mastery of the subject. Because it is hands-on, children are particularly engaged and have fun with the subject. You can make your own curriculum easily or get free resources. If you’ve never considered US for your homeschool, why not try it now?