Using unit studies can be a great way to teach your children about any subject they are interested in. It is simple to write your own units, but there are also thousands of studies already available. These studies are also known as thematic studies or thematic units.
What is a Unit Study?
Studying using the unit method basically means that all the subjects for a time period are arranged around a common theme. Examples of common unit themes are:
- Ocean life
- Certain books
- Days of Creation
- Human body
As you can see there are many different subjects that can be used successfully in a unit program.
The time spent on each unit can vary quite a lot. Some studies are created to be finished in a week or a month, while others may take six weeks to complete. Which type you choose is totally up to you, your schedule, and how deeply you want to delve into the subject.
Popular Unit Studies
There are a few very popular programs available. These can be purchased online or at many homeschool resource centers and generally walk you through the program. They provide crafts and activities, instructions, helpful hints, and valuable resources. These tips and instructions are time saving and are especially helpful to the inexperienced homeschool mom.
Konos is one of the best known of this type of curriculum. Based on character traits these thematic studies are contained in three volumes. Each volume takes your child through a full year of curriculum. There are extensive book lists, activities, and field trip ideas for each character trait. Some of the traits studied are:
- Self Control
Trisms is a study based on scientists, inventors, and explorers down through history. This study is created to be used for middle school through high school. Lesson plans are all ready written out so that students learn to work independently.Trisms covers 3500 B.C. through 2005. It includes:
- Critical Thinking
- Language Arts
- Public Speaking
- Research Skills
- World History
Other Popular Studies to Buy
- Five in a Row
- Where the Brook and River Meet (based on Anne of Green Gables)
- The Prairie Primer (based on Little House on the Prairie)
- Further Up and Further In (based on the Narnia Series)
The Internet is an excellent source for unit studies. Following are some sources:
Create Your Own Thematic Units
Once you have done a few of these studies, you will probably be ready to create your own thematic studies. This is not at all difficult to do and allows you to study exactly what you are interested in.Some of the things that you might want to include in your unit studies are:
- Field trips
- Nature walks
- Read aloud books
- Creative writing
Doing Thematic Studies with Different Ages
Unit studies are one of the easiest ways to homeschool because it is so easy to adapt the study for the needs of different age groups. Have each child read books on the subject at their own level. Read aloud books can be at a central level, usually fourth through sixth grade. Incorporating Charlotte Mason style narration to the studies will allow you to discern what your children are learning at each level. Adding copywork geared toward each child's ability will allow them to practice valuable skills.
Allow the older children to help the younger ones from time to time. This not only gives you a break, and the younger child a different perspective; it allows the older child to practice what he has learned.
Unit studies can be a fun, time saving way for your child to learn. Don't rush through it, and allow him to soak up every detail for as long as his interest holds out. You may find that thematic units give him a newfound joy in learning.