This post may contain affiliate links. View the full disclosure statement for more details. Sign up for the Schooling a Monkey newsletter to gain access to more hands-on activity ideas!
Unit studies are one of my favorite ways to teach school. Unfortunately, they are time-intensive, and as a working mom, I have a hard time giving unit studies the attention that I would love. That is why we don’t use unit studies much in our school.
What are Unit Studies?
A unit study is a whole-education approach to learning. All subjects will relate to a core theme. You may remember doing a lot of unit-based studies in Kindergarten or early elementary if you learned in a traditional classroom. For a period of time, all subjects relate to a core idea.
How Do Unit Studies Work?
Unit studies seem like they were made for homeschooling, in my opinion. Basically, you choose a central idea, such as a period of time, subject, or idea; and learn everything you can about that. If you wanted to study the ancient Greeks, for example; you would read Greek literature, use grammar and writing styles used by the Greeks, learn what form of math the Greek people used, and study the political and historical structure of the society. You might also focus on Greek cooking, dress styles, go to Greek plays, and learn about the Greek religion.
What are the Benefits of Unit Studies?
Unit studies provide a rounded knowledge of every subject. They give children a place to store the information they learn and relate it to real life. Rather than simply memorizing facts and dates, children can see how a topic or theme is used in life and relates to their own experiences. With unit studies, you have the ability to go as deep into a subject as you like. Some homeschool families spend a year or more on a single topic.*****************
What are the Drawbacks of Unit Studies?
As I mentioned before, the biggest drawback to unit studies is how time-intensive they are. Some curriculum has cut down on a lot of the prep time by offering a lot of what you need in one bundle, but for the majority of the studies that you want to use, you will have to come up with ideas for learning about the subject on your own. Unit studies also lack the structure of a traditional school, which may cause problems in some states. Some children that learn with unit studies have gaps in their education due to hyper-focus in one area, and a neglect in another.
Where Can I Learn More about Unit Studies?
What are Some Unit Study Curriculums?
Do you use unit studies? What are your favorite resources?
Join the Homeschooling 101 group for more hands-on teaching ideas!