Homeschooling unit studies are a great way to incorporate learning a lot of subjects with a variety of aged students.
Let's face it. We only have so much time in any given day. There are many things that need to get done, so that limits the amount of time that we can spend on school. Therefore, you need to decide how much time you're going to spend doing school and then find the most efficient way to cover the material you need to cover with all of the kids that you are schooling. Unit studies help you to do that.
Within one unit study topic, you can teach subjects such as
to all of your kids at the same time.
First off, unit studies can be a fun way to educate your children. All you have to do is to pick a topic and decide what it is you want to learn about it. Let's say you have a bunch of boys and you want to learn about excavators. This, I am sure, is a topic that they would find very fun to learn about.
I have found that the more fun the topic is to the students, the more they want to learn and the harder they try. Maybe part of your learning would be to go to watch a crew put in some underground pipes and watch how they use the excavators. Or maybe you know an excavating contractor that would be willing to let your boys try out his machine (with his help, of course!).
The next word I used was flexible. Homeschooling unit studies can be flexible in a variety of ways.
Learning a topic through a unit study approach can certainly help when you have a larger family with children at a variety of different grade levels. Learning one topic all together and then requiring different level assignments from each of the children sure beats trying to teach all of them individually using different workbooks.
Unit studies also allow you to be flexible when you have children with different levels of interest in the topic being covered. Some might only be interested in the basic information you provide, while others might want to take the time to delve deeper into the topic.
Finally, homeschooling unit studies allow for creativity. That is what makes them so interesting. Sit down with your kids and brainstorm some topics that they would like to study. You can decide if everyone will have a vote or if you will pick the topic.
Once the topic is chosen, let the kids help decide what they want to learn about the topic and how they want to learn it. You might be surprised at what they come up with.
Always remember to let God have a say in your unit study, too. Being the Master of creativity, it has always amazed me what happens when I let God have a say in how we should learn something.
At some point I realized was that there aren't many (if any) already
made up unit studies that are specifically Catholic! Yes, you can take
other unit studies and add your own Catholicism to it, but if you're
looking for something that is pre-made and authentically Catholic, then I have the solution for you.
It all began with our first Catholic unit study about the late, great, and now St. Pope John Paul II. My oldest three daughters had to do something called a "major work" for a girls' club they were in, so we decided they would write a unit study on St. John Paul II.
This got me to thinking that there should be a series of homeschooling unit studies based on the great saints of our faith. I call this series "Saints Through the Centuries". Each unit study is centered on one saint and covers a variety of different subjects over a three to four week time frame.
Sometimes taking a break from the usual school work would be refreshing, right? Here's where a simple and quick unit study can make the difference. They're easy to put together on the fly, too.
For example, we happened to be at a funeral home one day and they had a huge salt-water fish tank. We stood around admiring it and the kids began asking all kinds of questions. This led me to think of doing a two-week fish unit study. Here's how we did it.
To top off the unit study, we had my dad catch us a fish and he let us touch it, dissect it and told us all about the proper way to fillet a fish. It was a great way to bring the unit study to life.
Remember one important thing:
If the unit study that you thought would be the coolest thing in the world is going nowhere, don't beat it to death.
Either cut it short, or figure out a way to make it more interesting. Your kids won't get excited about learning if you are still trying to get them to learn something they aren't interested in.
Other than that, have fun with them! They can be a great source of learning about a lot of things all at one time!