I had never heard of unit studies before I started homeschooling. But, once I tried one, that was it. I was hooked! There was no turning back. We went from doing just one for fun here and there to making it the spine of our curriculum. What’s to love about unit studies? I’ll tell you…
1.They take the “boring” out of school and make learning more fun! In so doing, they have gotten my kids excited about learning! With unit studies, I have never heard them once say, “This is boring, Mom.” But, I have often rejoiced when they’ve exclaimed, “We love homeschooling!” To be honest, though, it’s not just about the kids. Unit studies have provided ME with a more enjoyable teaching tool that has made homeschooling so much more fun!
2.Unit studies have made my life easier because they allow me to connect different subjects to the main topic. With the exception of math, grammar, and spelling (though they too are often connected), I no longer have to keep up with multiple textbooks for each of my children. Instead, they learn about the same topic together, even though they’re six years apart!
While we were learning about Lewis & Clark, for instance, my kids were studying not only history, but science as well. They each replicated Meriwether Lewis’ journal, learned about various plants and animals, and recorded them in their journals just like Lewis had! They read living books about the expedition and biographies about the men (and woman) involved. Their writing assignments pertained to the study, as did arts & crafts and a host of other subjects. Even our family devotional focused on the character traits important to the expedition, as we discussed the importance of those traits in our lives, as well. Yep! Fewer textbooks have definitely made my life far less stressful.
3.Their creative hands-on approach has also helped us build precious family memories. My kids don’t remember the specific names of textbooks we’ve used, but they do remember the living books we’ve enjoyed together, the tee-pee painting party we invited friends to, the time they reenacted a battle from the Revolutionary War, and our chocolately-delicious pioneer soddie home (complete with Playmobile figures). Each of these memories also helped reinforce what they were learning.
4.I also love the fact that unit studies naturally accommodate different learning styles. That way, each of my children enjoys and excels using this method.
5.And, more importantly, because we are all learning together, we are building relationships and developing strong family bonds. Unit studies have allowed my boys to interact with each other and become the best of friends because they are learning together. Getting everyone’s noses out of the textbooks has given them the pleasure of “actively” learning and, in the process, has enabled us all to stop and smell the homeschool roses and rejoice in the journey we’re on.
(Both of my sons are now grown and college graduates. I taught them using unit studies as the spine of my curriculum all the way through high school. )