Homeschool unit studies are a wonderful way to homeschool, but where do you begin? How do you build a unit study? It is easier than you think. Here is a simple step by step guide for building your next homeschool unit study.
Choose a Unit Study Topic
What is the focus of your unit study homeschool curriculum? This can be as broad or narrow as you like. Just remember that broad studies can be like runaway trains. A single idea leads to five more and before you know it, you have enough ideas to fill an entire school career. The best unit studies are targeted on what you want most to learn about a topic. For example, World War II or the Rainforest are topics that could be delved into for years and you still don’t reach the end. Have an idea of where you are heading and the key points you don’t want to miss along the way.
Set a Realistic Goal
While a unit of study can be open ended, it is important to know what your overall goal is. Is it mastery of the material? Do you want to reach a certain point in history? Set you goal so you have something to strive for. This goal can be as unique as your homeschool. It will keep you on track and give you the freedom to explore within the parameters. Plus, you will not have to wonder if you have covered enough.
Find a Spine
A spine is what holds everything together. It doesn’t have to be the longest book but it should cover the breadth of your study. Spines make it easy to follow a progression of study. It is like a jumping off point. You can follow your spine and then delve into individual topics more fully. Ideal spines include reference books, biographies, historical fiction, and original documents.
Add the Meat
Now comes the fun part. Add the individual resources, books, and activities that will expand the study. Remember to cover all your main subjects. How can you incorporate math? How about writing and history? This can be done through targeted textbooks or specific projects that require a certain skill.
Here’s an example. For solar system unit studies, you can create a scale model of the universe, calculate your weight on each planet, figure out how long it would take to reach each planet, and chart the length of each planet’s day and year. That can be your math education. For history, you can read about scientists who discovered the planets and the background of the space program.
Determine an Assessment
Just like you need a goal, an assessment is key to education. An assessment does not mean a test. It can be anything you want. The purpose of the assessment is to make sure the child has learned the material. It also gives the child a chance to demonstrate his accomplishments. Here are some ideas for assessments:
- Narration of everything learned
- A journal of the experience
- A culminating project
- A performance
- A newspaper style article
- A blog
- A video
- A comic book
Homeschool Unit Studies
What fantastic homeschool unit studies do you want to build? Try building your own today — you’ll be amazed at what your kids can learn with just a little planning in 4 easy steps. You’ll find some free unit study ideas right here and in the near future so stay tuned!