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100.04 – Educational Philosophy Review – The Unit Study Approach

100.04 – Educational Philosophy Review – The Unit Study Approach

This week we’re looking at the Unit Study Approach to Homeschooling.

Unit studies take one common theme, idea, or topic and study into as many subject areas as possible based on that theme. Those advocating Unit Studies say that it is more natural to study the subjects as they relate to a topic than it is to study each subject separately as if it isn’t related to any other aspect of life. For example, if the student is interested in airplanes then reading is centered on airplanes, history of flight is studied, the physics of flight is the science, writings are done on planes and flight, a plane is built (arts and crafts), and so on. The subject is the “framework” on which the other subjects are laid.

You can build your own unit studies based on topics your children enjoy, or you can purchase prepared units on special topics.  There are also some entire curriculum sets which base all studies on the Bible or Literature.

Strengths:

  • Good for those who don’t feel the need to follow the public school model of separate subjects on a certain timetable.
  • Unit studies allow the entire family to study one subject with each child approaching it from his or her own grade and interest level.
  • If you have a student who is really only motivated when talking about some specific interest (this is especially true of children on the autism spectrum), a unit study can be a great way to keep them invested in other subjects (math, science, writing) by relating them to the topic of interest.

Weaknesses:

  • Those who like structure and detailed planning may find themselves frustrated with the looser aspects of unit studies.
  • Planning can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to design the unit study yourself.
  • It can be a stretch to fit all subjects under the umbrella of one topic.

Comments:

  • Unit Studies are a really great way to begin homeschooling little ones.
  • Unit Studies can be a single approach (full curriculum), but they can also be used as stand-alone units in addition to other curricula if your student has a particular interest.
  • Individual unit studies can be wonderful as summer “enrichment” or extra study to give your student a break from the normal course of study.  You never know when spending a couple of months in-depth with some subject will spark a new level of interest in your child.

Examples/Resources:

  • Books to help you create your own Unit Studies:
  • Full Unit Study Curriculum:

There are many more unit study resources out there, so try a few and see what you think. Let us know how it went in the comments below or on our Facebook group or page. Find the links on the right >>>>

 

SusanwithaGoodBook

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