Thursday, December 7, 2017

How I Create.... A Unit Study

One method of homeschooling that we have really been enjoying in our school is the unit study.  But, what exactly is a unit study?  A unit study is a collection of learning activities tied to a theme.  This theme can be a book, a topic, or a broad subject.  Unit studies tend to be more hands on and the level at which your student studies the topics can be easily adjusted.  I think all of this put together is what has drawn us to unit studies in our school.
A Glimpse of Normal Blog, How I Create, Unit Studies, Homeschool Planning
I have created unit studies for both of my kids.  Buddy did a lot of unit study work last year in 8th grade and Little Miss is currently working through a unit study...or two.   They work great for my hands-on learner and for my check-it-off the list, I got it done learner.  Unit studies provide flexibility and can be as in-depth as you want them to be.

What I do to create unit studies is pretty simple.  First I decide if our unit study will be topic based, subject based (think math as whole), or book based.  Once I decide this then I figure out what kinds of things I want my student to learn while working on the unit.  This usually determines how long we spend on the unit.  Then I start listing out the specific things we want to study and the activities we will do.  I also determine if we will create a lapbook or a notebook.  A lapbook is a couple of file folders put together to display all the little projects and research we complete in the unit study.  A notebook is just a spiral bound notebook where my student will put all the information they research for the unit study.  I have used both of these methods for my kids and both work well for each of them.  Finally we get to work.

I think the easiest way to explain how I create unit studies is to give you real examples of what we have done or are doing in our school.  So here it goes:

Please note that neither of these pictures are complete for the unit study, but merely examples of how I begin my planning.  They get more detailed when I start to add specific books, vocabulary, and questions that my kids need to answer.  I put together these pictures for an example of where I start.  My brainstorming pages on unit studies are much messier and less organized, but it is where I start.

Now that you have seen how I create unit studies, I will tell you that there is no wrong way to create a unit study. I will also tell you that the internet is full of great unit studies so I don't always have to create my own.  Sometimes we use already created unit studies because they are already done and I just have to print them and get to work.  Other times I use them to get ideas of what other studies are requiring.  There are also other unit studies out there that are available to buy and we have loved these too (many of them we have done reviews for).  Unit studies are a great way to let your child explore a topic and really dig in deep to things they love.  We will continue using them in our school as long as they are working for us.

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