Unit studies can be a really fun part of your homeschool, but as a new homeschooling mom it can be really intimidating to plan one out. What do you study? What should you read? How do you do it without a curriculum laying it out for you?
Thankfully, the process really isn’t as scary as it seems. With the simple tips in this post you’ll be able to plan unit studies like a pro, and you’ll be well on your way with your back to homeschool prep!
Trust me, Mama, planning out unit studies for your homeschool year doesn’t have to be a big long scary process. It can take less than an hour, and all you really need is a computer.
5 Simple Steps to Plan a Year of Homeschool Unit Studies
Deciding What Unit Studies for the Homeschool Year
This is probably my favorite part of planning unit studies. As homeschooling moms, we get a unique opportunity to tailor our children’s education to their needs and interests. You are in control over your children’s education. Adding unit studies to your homeschool can really add a lot of value to your homeschool.
To decide what unit studies to plan for your year, you need to first decide what subjects you’d like unit studies for.
- Will this make up your entire curriculum for science or history?
- Are your unit studies extra “fun” homeschool lessons?
- Are you using unit studies to incorporate math and language arts?
- Are you doing unit studies to dive deeper into your science or history curriculum?
Once you have decided where you want unit studies to fit into your homeschool, you can start deciding on topics.
I like to ask the kids what they want to learn about. Trust me, you can make a unit study about anything these days. We’ve covered pirates and vikings, for example.
You can also look at what you’re studying for the year in history and science and decide what topics you might want to dive into deeper with a unit study. Pick a handful of unit study topics and we can get to planning!
How Much Time Per Unit Study Topic
Unit study lengths can vary widely. Some people do a new topic every week, this is common in preschools where there’s a new “theme” every week. While others consider a semester-long science course to be one long “unit study”.
For our family? I like to take about six weeks.
It’s long enough to really dive into a topic and read several books and do several activities, but not so long that we get bored. With active boys, we need to keep things moving in our homeschool!
Keep in mind, this is completely negotiable. If we hate a topic? We’ll scratch it and move on. If we love one? We’ll sit in it for quite a while. But I need some sort of time-frame to plan in or I would lose my mind.
Choosing Books for Your Unit Studies
Okay, maybe I was lying before. I think this is my favorite part of planning unit studies.
“Hi, my name is Kaylene, and I’m a book-addict”
Now that that’s out of the way, unit studies become incredibly valuable when you have a great book list to choose from!
To create your book list, first check your own book collection. We’re all homeschoolers here, I know you have a book collection. Find any books that are related to your topic, and write them down. (If you have spines, write down the pages/chapters)
Then, I want you to pull up your local library’s website. Search their catalog for books relating to your topic. Write down any of those that look interesting so that you can check out a few weekly.
Finally, check on Amazon. There are bajillions of books on Amazon, and you can often get them for great prices.
Choosing Projects for Your Unit Studies
This part is less fun for me, but more fun for most people. You get to choose the fun and creative projects that you’ll do with your kids during the unit study!
If you’re already a creative and crafty Pinterest Mom, I applaud you. Let your creative genius fly and put together a few fun activity ideas.
If you’re creatively challenged like me, it’s time to pull up Pinterest. Search in pinterest these terms:
- “[enter unit study topic] unit study”
- “[enter unit study topic] kids activities”
- “[enter unit study topic] homeschool activities”
- “[enter unit study topic] activities”
Create a Pinterest board called “[enter unit study topic] Unit Study” and save all of your favorite ideas there. Then all you have to do is click through to the blog posts and do the activities that other super-creative moms have come up with!
Staying Flexible and Realistic with Your Unit Studies
This is the most important tip in this entire post. You need to stay flexible, and you need to stay realistic.
Will a unit study on Mexico mean that your kids will be able to accurately create an entire map, learn Spanish, and memorize all of the capitals in two weeks? I’d say no.
If your kids hate your unit study on dinosaurs a week in and would really rather learn about sharks? Have the flexibility to shift gears (yes, even if you have a beautiful and exciting dinosaur unit study planned).
We homeschool to get away from the structure and the rigidity of the public school system, so being flexible and having grace is really important.
With these tips you can plan some epic unit studies to go back to homeschool. I’m so excited to hear about your fun unit study adventures!
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