Welcome to Unit Study Theory 101!
This blog post is in response to the frequently asked questions I get from homeschooling parents regarding unit studies.
What exactly is a unit study? A unit study is simply using a topic across the curriculum (covering as many subjects as possible). Note that some subjects such as spelling and math may need to be supplemented. Unit Studies use a variety of resources, text books, library books (both fiction and non fiction) web links, movies, games, etc.
How long does a unit study take? A unit study can take a day, or even months. Part of the beauty of studying this way is that you do not have to limit the time. Take as long as you want.
How does one select a topic for a unit study? If your teaching style is relaxed enough, allow your children to pick a topic that they would like to learn about. If that does not suit, pick your own. Your choices are limitless! Once you choose a topic, then you will brainstorm a list of learning possibilities, and start collecting resources.
Recently I was discussing a Viking unit study with a friend. Since we studied Vikings in our Middle Ages lessons last fall, I’ll use Vikings as an example for planning a unit study. Possible lessons would include but would certainly not be limited to the following.
- Social Studies: Who were some famous Vikings? Where did the Viking live? Who are some famous Vikings? Answering these questions will cover the subjects of history, geography, vocabulary, and reading. If your child notebooks or journals, then composition is covered also.
- Science: Since the Vikings were strong and healthy, research their daily lives and diet habits, (agriculture and hunting) . Take a look at Viking ships, architecture and weaponry, how they were made and their contributions to technology. And don’t forget to add dragons (dinosaurs?). These science lessons will count as history, reading, and vocabulary. If your child notebooks or journals, then composition is covered also.
- Vikings and the Bible: Vikings are famous for their raids. What do the Scriptures tell us about stealing? Who and what influenced the Vikings not to be barbaric. Compare the Norse religion to Christianity. Once again, vocabulary, composition, and history can be covered in this lesson.
- Arts: Draw dragons, make paper dolls, construct miniature ships, coloring pages, and make a costume are only a few suggestions.
- Math: Miles traveled by Viking explorers. Years passed since the Viking era. Calorie counts of the Viking diet. Measuring ingredients for a Viking meal.
- Language Arts: This is the easiest subject to cover in any unit study. Literature, spelling, writing, vocabulary, grammar will naturally flow if your child journals or notebooks.
Class 2 of Unit Study Therory 101, How to keep records of subjects covered when using a unit study method. https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/07/25/unit-study-theory-101-class-2/
Class 3 of Unit Study Therory 101, Making Weekly Plans https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/08/04/unit-study-theory-101-class-3/
In case you are considering Vikings for a unit study. I’ve put the links we used here for you. https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/07/22/vikings/
Thanks. I’ve never tried to explain in writing how we use unit studies in our homeschool. It’s just easier to show, but that just isn’t possible sometimes. I sure hope this post makes sense and is helpful.
Awesome. We love a good Unit Study.
Thanks Mrs. Chrissy T. We do to.
Great job summing up how you school with a unit study theme. I’m a unit study mom, myself. It’s been a wonderful lifestyle of learning for our family. Looking forward to your post on record keeping!
Thanks! And you are so right, it’s a lifestyle of learning. Way more than other methods would be.
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