Why Unit Studies Are The Best Place To Start Homeschool Planning
It didn’t take long for me to determine that unit studies were a great approach for our homeschool lessons. However, it wasn’t always easy to find what I needed or wanted so I decided to make my own.
Over the years, creative interest-led unit studies have come to define our homeschooling journey here at Waldock Way. In this article, I’ll show you how I create and use unit studies to define our homeschool plans for the year.
Keep reading to discover which interest-led homeschool unit studies are my favorites. Then, learn how to get started planning your homeschool year with these fun unit studies too.
Getting Started With Homeschool Planning
Getting started planning our homeschool journey was overwhelming! There’s a lot to think about and like most moms, I was worried about covering all the bases. In the end, I knew I wanted our homeschool lessons to be fun for Emily and filled with opportunities to encourage her natural interests and curiosity.
Incorporating unit studies helped us to meet our homeschool learning goals while still having fun and encouraging Emily to follow her passions. I always begin planning our homeschool unit studies by noticing my daughter’s interests. Once I find a topic she’s interested in, planning a unit study becomes fun.
In fact, that’s why unit studies are such a great place to begin planning. They are fun for the whole family. Plus, if you’re homeschooling more than one, you can incorporate the whole family in the activities and lesson plans without much extra planning.
Planning Unit Studies Are Fun for Everyone
While not all homeschool planning is fun, unit studies definitely can be. They offer us all an opportunity to connect, learn about something new, and get excited about our learning journey. When you begin planning a unit study, talk with your kids about their interests.
They’ll love sharing their passions with you and it will give you a chance to really connect with them throughout the process. Then, take what they love and run with it! I’ll show you how I plan our homeschool year and fill it with fun unit studies my daughter can get excited about.
In our interest-led homeschool unit studies, we add art activities that my daughter Emily can explore with her dad. He loves art too, so it’s a great time for them to connect. Since unit studies combine a variety of subjects and activities, they create lots of opportunities for us to connect and learn together. Beginning your homeschool planning with these sorts of fun-filled unit studies is a fantastic way to get the whole family excited about learning this year.
How I Use Unit Studies In My Homeschool Planning
So how do I plan our homeschool year around unit studies? I follow a series of steps to plan interest-led unit studies that will help us to meet our goals for the year. Here’s how I do it:
After I discover what Emily is interested in learning about, I can have fun building a Pinterest board and library resource wishlist. I save all kinds of ideas! We won’t get to do all the things on my idea boards, but that’s ok. It helps me organize my thoughts and ideas.
Next, I visit YouTube and other streaming services to save videos, songs, and art tutorials related to our topic of study. Finally, I’ll go back through my idea boards and figure out what I truly want to get for our unit study.
Build a Unit Study Resource Basket
After I’ve decided what I want to use in our unit study, I gather all the resources and activities together in a basket. I like to include a wide variety of subjects and activities for Emily to practice with and explore. I like to keep all of the items together in a basket or bin. But you could just as easily have a unit study shelf or area.
We like using technology in our homeschool lessons and interest-led unit studies. Participating in apps and games on our tablet is one more way Emily can learn about and explore her interests. That’s why my next homeschool unit study planning step is to load the tablet with related apps.
Write It Down
The last thing I do when I’m planning our homeschool unit studies is write it all down. Writing down the activities, read alouds, and experiences I have planned for our homeschool unit studies is a great way to record what we’re learning throughout the year. Plus, it helps me keep track of the goals we are meeting and the ones we seem to struggle with during the year.
What Should A Homeschool Unit Study Include?
The elements in my unit studies help me make sure I’m meeting all the homeschool learning goals we have set for our family. Every one of my unit studies includes planning pages, checklists, resource and activity ideas, book suggestions, and interactive activities for homeschool learners.
My unit studies include relevant history, science, geography, art, and music. I generally don’t include math and language arts in our unit studies directly. While unit studies aren’t the way we predominantly study these subjects, I will incorporate activities that help practice math and reading skills.
My Favorite Unit Studies For Big Picture Homeschool Planning
Since I couldn’t always find complete unit studies that aligned with Emily’s interests, I started making my own. Here are some of our favorites:
Waldock’s Wizards and Wands
This exciting year-long curriculum incorporates tons of subjects, resources, and learning activities perfect for the Harry Potter fan in your homeschool. Your kids will learn alchemy, astronomy, charms, enchantments, herbology, incantations, potions, spells, and more. If you’re planning to read the Harry Potter series aloud as a family, this exciting curriculum is the perfect unit study for your homeschoolers.
Passport to Adventures
I planned this unit study around Emily’s love of The Magic Treehouse book series. Homeschoolers can travel through time and space with this unit study following the adventures of Jack and Annie, characters from the book series.
This homeschool unit study covers science, history, geography, and art in a multisensory way. Plus, there’s enough included to last your homeschoolers the whole year!
Traveling the World
Get ready to go on an adventure! With this homeschool unit study, your whole family can travel the world in your living room. This fun interest-led learning journey covers 30 counties in a way that’s fun and interesting for kids of all ages.
Traveling the Parks
Another one of our favorite interest-led unit studies began as a way to incorporate more opportunities for nature study. If you’re interested in starting nature study with your homeschoolers, you won’t want to miss this unit study.
Each of these unit studies covers a wide variety of topics. Plus, there are lots of opportunities for family movie night, game time, as well as exploring art and music.
Do you use unit studies in your homeschool? Have you planned an interest-led unit study for your homeschoolers? Tell me all about what you include and how you approach your own homeschool plans in the comment section. I can’t wait to read more about your ideas!