Unit Studies take a theme or topic and incorporate all or many different subjects into that topic (language arts, history, geography, science, arts, etc.). They are a popular way of organizing homeschool studies and are compatible with many homeschool methods. Unit studies can be created by the teaching parent, but there are also many prepared unit studies available for free or purchase. Purchased unit studies are sold as separate studies, or as part of a complete curriculum program.
A typical homeschool day using a unit study about Ancient Egypt might include: reading books about Egypt (history); making a salt dough map of Egypt (geography); exploring why the area around the Nile was so fertile (science); calculating the height of a pyramid (math); watching Prince of Egypt (cultural studies); learning how to spell “pyramid”, “ancient” and other related words (spelling); creating a page with a picture of a sarcophagus and a short written description (art, handwriting and composition); and, listening to a bedtime story set in Egypt (literature).
- Unit studies are easy to tailor to the learning style and interests of the student;
- Multi-level unit studies allow all the children in a family to study the same topic together;
- Incorporating things like cultural cooking, field trips, skits, or other hands-on projects make unit studies engaging and fun;
- When subjects are presented in a holistic manner, students develop a more “connected” sense of knowledge;
- Works well with many homeschool styles;
- Easy to adapt studies to focus on a student’s weaker subjects.
Points to consider
- Adequate coverage of subjects and competencies is necessary to ensure when using this approach;
- Not all prepared unit studies are created equally and a teaching parent needs enough homeschooling experience to recognize what will work well for their students;
- Unit studies might not work well for subjects that build systematically, requiring prerequisite knowledge (e.g. math).
- Tapestry of Grace
- Five in a Row
- The Weaver Curriculum
- My Father’s World
- Valerie Bendt, Unit Studies Made Easy (Bendt Family Ministries, 2004)
* The Resources on this page are examples of resource options that many homeschooling parents have found helpful. Note that they are not created or distributed by HOMESCHOOL.TODAY. For your convenience we occasionally add links to helpful websites, books, etc. but these will open in a separate tab.