How to Plan Your Own Unit Studies
Although I have used all of the resources I listed above, I have also put together my own unit studies many times. So, I am going to tell you how you can do it yourself, and I hope you’ll give it a try. If you do, please come back to share with me all about it!
Choose a theme
Of course, the first step to putting together your own unit studies is choosing subjects to study. You really can choose just about anything. Are you a geography-loving family? Maybe choose a country or state to learn about. If history is your thing, you could choose an event in history or a historical figure to study. Science is also a great area of study. From space to weather, even maple syrup, there are so many fun topics in science! Holidays, seasons, animals, airplanes, biomes . . . anything that your students find fascinating will make for fun unit studies.
Gather your materials
The number one thing you need to maximize your unit studies is your library card. Look for picture books, fiction and nonfiction books, chapter books to read aloud, videos, music, anything that your library offers. Give yourself a couple of weeks if you can order your items online so that you have plenty of time for everything to come in. A computer is a great resource as well. Google the word, “kids learn about . . . ” and see what you come up with! With each of our unit studies, we use make a book basket and gather books from the library and our own bookshelves.
In addition to books, you might also consider materials to make a lapbook or notebook, arts and crafts supplies, maps, science equipment, and any other items that will enhance your unit study.
Plan your time
Jot down a rough plan of what you wish to do each day. You may want to determine ahead of time how much time you’ll spend. How long you spend on a unit study is up to you. You may spend one week, a month, or a whole year. Some homeschool families choose one day a week to be their “unit study” day. Or, you may find yourself running with it for as long as the kids are interested. This is what typically happened to us. There is no wrong way to do this. But I feel that I must warn you — expect some rabbit trails. I’ll never forget the year we began learning about horses and ended up on a detour to ancient Egypt. Once you begin a topic, the doors will fly open to all kinds of things to learn about that you probably never even thought of. Your kids will want to go there. Be flexible enough to let them. This is when they will really learn! This is the beauty of unit studies!
If you would like something a little more organized to help you plan unit studies, I’ve written a small ebook that will help. It explains the process in more detail and even includes planning pages. Click here to learn more about Delightful Planning and to see some sample pages.
Plan activities to go along with your unit studies
Cooking a new dish is always a hit at my house. We also love jigsaw puzzles, art projects, mapping activities like salt dough maps, dioramas, science experiments, word searches, and field trips. Sometimes my son enjoys putting together a Power Point presentation. The possibilities are endless. Be creative. Think outside the box. Allow your kids to explore unit studies in less conventional ways.
Record your fun
Lapbooks and notebooks are a great way to keep a record of your unit studies. You could also have your kids record a daily journal, maybe even a blog, of what they did and learned. If you make some awesome creations that can’t be easily kept, be sure to take pictures (with your kids in the photo!) and add them to your lapbook or notebook.
Whatever you do, have a blast with unit studies. Ask your kids for ideas. Get messy. Smile and laugh a lot. Have fun. You can do it. I know you can! Your children will thank you.