My 6th grader just finished a mini French and Indian War unit study that was a great pit stop in our regular history studies. I just love the slow and steady pace we're taking to go through the Story of the World curriculum this time around. I used to follow pretty strict 4-year cycles in history, but with this 3rd child of mine, I'm confident that moving at a slower pace and savoring certain events is as good a way to learn as any. As we read through the Story of the World and something strikes our fancy, we take some time to dig deeper. Sometimes through extra reading or a documentary. Other times through mini unit studies. The mini unit studies give Eli a chance to practice ... Read More
We've used A LOT of curriculum over the years. Really good curriculum, mind you. But, when it comes to history and science in the elementary and middle school years, nothing has quite matched the success of unit studies in our homeschool.
The reasons? SO much learning can take place in a reasonable amount of time. We can read wonderful living literature, take amazing field trips, and include as many (or as few) hands-on projects as we like. We can include whatever lessons from other subjects that we like - research, writing, experiments, cooking, art, poetry - the possibilities are endless.
Unit studies can be fully planned from the beginning or flow based on your students' interests. They are wonderful to use with project-based learning. And, best of all, they can easily be used with multiple ages. In the articles that follow, you'll find several unit study plans, how-to's for creating your own unit studies, tutorials for project-based learning, and tips for successful interest-based studies. Have fun!
I have always loved teaching a Leonardo da Vinci unit study because it covers just about every single academic subject easily. The Renaissance, various science topics like inventions, simple machines, & the human body, and art & artist study are all easy topics to cover while learning about da Vinci. Add some fun research-based learning activities and good books and you have yourself a really fabulous unit study! Get a printable copy of this unit study below. Leonardo da Vinci Unit Study Taking two or three weeks to study the life and impact of da Vinci just might inspire your kiddos to dream big and do hard things. His incredible inventions, discoveries, critical thinking, and ... Read More
The main topic of this year's science rotation in our homeschool is physics, so I'm preparing a few unit studies that lend themselves well to experimentation and exploration. This light and sound unit study will be first in the line up and is just perfect for 3rd-7th grade students. It's packed full of meaningful, practical activities that won't waste anybody's time. Great informational books and biographies set the stage, while project-based and research-based activities allow for deeper learning on certain topics of interest. Get a downloadable copy of this unit study below! This post contains affiliate links. Light and Sound Books As with all our unit studies, books pile up in stacks ... Read More
Do you remember when Eli and I took a short detour from our regular Story of the World studies to learn more about Vikings? Well, we detoured again - this time with a mini pirate unit study. Should I have been shocked? I mean, what boy (and even lots of girls) wouldn't love some extra time to hang out with pirates? This quick pirate unit study will give you just enough for a detailed deep dive without expecting weeks of your time. Pirate Unit Study One of the best things about homeschooling is the freedom to linger over a topic when it lights a spark of curiosity. I've always been happy to oblige my children with learning detours, but it's especially true with this third and final child ... Read More
Eli and I have certainly enjoyed a meandering pace through Story of the World for history. Because we're never rushed to move on to the next chapter, it provides plenty of time for rabbit trails when he shows special interest in a topic. One of those special interests this year was the Vikings. We had so much fun taking a quick unit study break to focus more deeply on Viking history! Viking Unit Study I think it was likely the strength with which Vikings are portrayed that may have first caught my son's attention. Or, the story his brother told about Viking funerals and burning boats. Either way, Eli was very motivated to learn more. And, I was happy to oblige. That reminds me: Don't be ... Read More
One thing that has really helped over the years with homeschooling multiple ages is unit studies. Yes, even in this Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool. A unit study can be as elaborate or simple as you need it to be. I have written plenty of posts about our unit studies over the years (complete with literature lists) and even created 19 NaturExplorers guides which can easily be used as unit studies. I've also written practical, detailed posts about planning small and large unit studies for your own homeschool. Today, I thought I'd share a set of three simple steps that you can easily use to pull together a quick unit study for any topic of interest - history, science and ... Read More
If you asked me to name a few things that have made THE most impact in our homeschool over the years, one of the answers I would give without hesitation is living literature. Many precious hours have been spent together around books. Those moments have built strong bonds between us, created warm memories, and sparked lively discussions. We've been gently prodded to build our character and define our values as we've learned from great victories and tragic mistakes of the characters in our books.We've been planted knee-deep in historical time periods and come to know and love each era because of it. We've turned around on the other side of science books and seen just how much new ... Read More
These days, it seems like hands-on homeschool is a buzzword of sorts. What's all the fuss about? Let's define hands-on first. It's best to define hands-on first because I think it's overall meaning might surprise you. You see, hands-on learning can actually mean several things. Most obvious, hands-on means "touching" things during lessons. For instance, rather than reading about simple machines, you actually use simple machines to learn about their characteristics. Or, when learning about the rock cycle, you make your own rocks by taking them through a rock cycle simulation. Similar to the definition above, hands-on can also mean learning by doing. When you learn about Colonial history ... Read More
Even holiday reading must pass the living literature test around here! These Thanksgiving living books have been favorites around our house for years. Some help explain the history of our Thanksgiving celebration, while others are just sweet stories with a Thanksgiving theme. We even have a couple of poetry favorites! At your local library, you'll likely find at least a shelf or two full of Thanksgiving themed books. Sadly, many of them aren't worth your time because they're twaddle. What's twaddle? The dictionary defines twaddle as "trivial or foolish speech or writing; nonsense." I like to describe it as fluff that rarely has a full plot, rich language, or vivid ... Read More
Eeeewww! A cemetery scavenger hunt? Are you serious? Yes! Believe it or not, this is a REALLY cool activity because cemeteries are chock-full of history! We've visited several cemeteries over the years as we've studied our state's history. And, you might remember the times we've utilized our beautiful cemeteries for science purposes like winter nature walks, conifer studies, and tweezer treks. But this trip really helps us dig in to the history of our own community as we discover more about the actual lives of the people who have made our town their home over the years. Cemetery Scavenger Hunt This activity works well for children of all ages. It also works whether you have ... Read More