Our Homeschool Journey Part 3: The World of Unit Studies
When I first started homeschooling just my oldest I thought for sure I’d have a schedule set up for his daily learning.You know how it is 30 minutes for math an hour for social studies,and scheduled recess time. Hmmm just like the regular school setting. Then I began reading a lot. I read on the different styles of homeschooling(you mean there was more than one)? I also started reading about every childs learning style. Then I looked around my living room and realized I may just have 4 little people with 4 VERY different learning styles!!!
Somehow I was lead to the wonderful world of unit studies. I think it was probably through a google search. Now some people might not know what a unit study is. To me it’s the answer to teaching 4 different grades at one time. Unit studies have been such a big blessing in our homeschool journey, we have been able to learn more than we ever could have if I had split up and just done a grade by grade learning style.
For example,right now we’re doing a unit study on Africa.(courtesy of For God So Loved The World http://www.christiancottage.com ) Instead of just learning about Africa in our Social Studies all aspects of Africa are incorporated into all subjects(excluding math although some unit studies you can include math) For instance for science we have learned about the different biomes in Africa. The Savannah,the desert,and the equatorial jungle. For history we have been reading books on missionaries as well as learning about how some countries in Africa were settled by the British as well as other countries. For our english and writing we are putting together an African Safari Guide. It tells a little about each country as well as any animals we have learned about. For Geography we are coloring in and labeling a map of Africa as well as locating all the major deserts of the world. We have even incorporated cooking from the different countries of Africa.All of these subjects center around one theme…Africa!
The beauty of unit studies to me is that I feel you can get more in depth with the one major topic. They tend to be very hands on as well. Also when teaching more than one grade level it is easier to break up. For example,last week we were supposed to map out a week long trip through the desert. As a family, we brainstormed ideas of the things we would need on a week long trip. I then taped the list up on the wall. From there the two younger kids ages third and first grade were told they needed to draw a picture of themselves on the trip and then write down any supplies on the back of the paper. Where as the older two ages 5th grade and 7th had to do the same as well as then track their route on a map, including where they would stop for rests.
One of my other favorite things about unit studies is that the younger students are brought right along for the ride.There have been many years where Holly has sat and listened to the stories and then just drawn pictures while she listened to the older kids answer questions or talk about what we had been learning.
For our family situation unit studies have been the best answer. We did try Waldorf for awhile which I absolutely loved as well. Somehow though we seem to always come back to Unit Studies!
Some helpful unit study links:
www.aop.com (The Weaver curriculum was the first unit study I ever did)
www.homeschoolshare.com a great site with free unit studies as well as lapbooks!
http://www.AmandaBennett.com This lady has published many different unit studies on everything from baseball to government and then some!
There are many other sites as well out there. My suggestion is if you’re interested in trying the unit study style of learning to purchase a small unit study and try it out with your kids. This summer break is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Posted on July 19, 2011, in homeschool, Homeschooling, Uncategorized and tagged Amanda Bennett, Christian Cottage, Five in a Row, Homeschool, Learning Styles, unit studies, Weaver. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.