Try “Unit Studies” for Fun, Structure, and Accomplishment in Your Homeschool

Amy asked:

Us Virginians now know we’re not returning to school this school year. I think something that will help me and the kids is some goals to work towards so we have bigger picture structure and direction

So far I’ve just been pulling this and that lesson or activities to cover a range of studies, but now I’ll need to get more structured. Maybe the school providing some direction eventually will help, but so far we’re pretty much on our own.

How do I get started?

This a great question, Amy.

How Would You Feel About Some Unit Studies??

Your challenging circumstances are much different than a traditional homeschooler’s. If I were in your situation, I’d consider planning some simple, engaging unit studies.

Here’s a step-by-step plan.

How Many Weeks Do You Have Left?

Divide your remaining weeks into two-week blocks with a day or two off for relaxation, regrouping, and planning for the next two-weeks.

Try “Unit Studies” for the WIN!

In circumstances like this, I recommend two-week-long unit studies because they are simple and focused, your child will learn a TON, and you will feel a sense of direction and accomplishment. You could make “creating the unit plan” part of your child’s education.

Invite a friend to join you and host an online book club or stay in touch with photos or Marco Polo. Maybe you could share the responsibility for planning the units?

Here are two different types of unit studies. Mix-and-match!

Theme-Based Unit Studies (Multiple Subjects for Multiple Grade Levels!)

  1. Choose some topics that interest your child (or children).
  2. Assign one Unit Study per every two weeks of school remaining.
  3. Google YOUR TOPIC + “unit study” or “lesson plans” and see what you find. (No need to reinvent the wheel!)
  4. If not, do a quick search for a couple of relevant:
    * well-written/ well-illustrated books
    * engaging, age-appropriate web-sites
    * high-quality videos
    * related experiences (including cooking, art, technology, etc.).
  5. Glance over the list of subjects that your child studies in school and brainstorm ways you could incorporate some of those subjects in your unit study. For example, how does math or music connect with YOUR TOPIC?
  6. If you are homeschooling multiple children, consider choosing books for each child’s ability level. (Don’t forget the benefit of asking an older child to read aloud to a younger child. Both kids learn a lot from this experience!)
  7. Plan to come together for the experiences and conversations.

Have a Blast With “Book Unit Studies”

  1. Choose a novel (Need a suggestion? Try Charlotte’s Web or Homer Price for ages 5 – 10. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon or Call of the Wild for ages 11 – 13. Emma or David Copperfield for ages 14 – 18. Or, check out the free book list at Read Aloud Revival!)
  2. Map out a schedule to read aloud, listen via audio book, or grab a copy for each of you to read on your own
  3. Do a quick online search for YOUR BOOK + “lesson plans” or “unit studies” or “book club ideas” to see what you can find.
  4. Otherwise, brainstorm a handful of multidisciplinary ideas that will enhance your child’s enjoyment of the book. Your child could…
    * watch a travel documentary of the book’s setting
    * design a cover for the book
    * re-enact the plot
    * watch the movie-version and compare
    * explore the book’s math, technology, art, or social concepts
    * listen to an interview with the author or illustrator
    * eat food that is mentioned in the book
    * have a book party with thematic decorations, games and snacks!
  5. Depending on the length of the book and how much fun you’re having with it, this may last for two or three weeks. Take a day or two off to plan your next Book Unit.

Is that helpful?

How can I help you to take the next step?

If you’re new to homeschooling and would like more practical help like this, click here:

What are your questions about homeschooling?

I’d love to help!

Leave your question in the comment section or email me at [email protected].

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting helpful tips for new homeschoolers and I don’t want you to miss them! I’m not on social media, so email is the best way for me to let you know what’s happening at I cherish your trust and I’ll work hard to respect your time and attention. 🙂

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P.S. Wondering How Homeschoolers Create a Plan for the Year?

Well, first, we reference our state’s homeschool requirements for grade-level guidelines.

In PA, we are required to submit educational objectives at the beginning of each school year and a portfolio of our student’s work that has been evaluated by a professional educator at the end of each school year. Within those requirements, the content of our educational plan is up to us. Every homeschooler approaches this differently. You’ll find enthusiastic representatives for everything from student-led learning to rigorous classical education. Our family tends to follow a combo of what’s called the “Charlotte Mason Approach” and classical education.

Six-Weeks-On/ One-Week-Off Rotation: Once I have the general objectives for the academic school year, I divide it up into seven-week blocks so that school’s in session for six weeks and then off for one week. That helps me to have a good handle on the plans and direction for each six-week block.






2 responses to “Try “Unit Studies” for Fun, Structure, and Accomplishment in Your Homeschool”

  1. Amy Chase Avatar
    Amy Chase

    Thank you, this is so helpful!!! I will reread and get organized around this reassuring, fun strategy.

    1. Laura Avatar

      I’m glad that you find it helpful, Amy! I’d love to hear how things go for you!

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