What is a Unit Study?

A unit study involves teaching all subjects using one theme. The theme can be a historical period such as the Civil War, a person from history such as George Washington, a science topic such as insects, a character trait such as obedience, or any other topic of interest. The children study the topic by reading books, completing writing assignments, doing arts and crafts projects, singing and listening to music, and doing science lab work. Math and phonics are taught using textbooks and other resources and are chosen based on each student's ability. It is fun, however, to integrate math history, math games, and phonics activities into the unit study, as desired.

Planning a Unit Study:

Now it's time to plan your unit. Maybe you want to teach a unit on simple machines or the Constitution. Maybe you want to spend six weeks on sea animals and nine weeks on insects. You can schedule your units to suit you!

Caution: Many parents spend too much time teaching the topics they enjoy and never get around to teaching the topics that are not their favorites. The best way to avoid this is to plan your units in advance. The easiest way plan in advance is to schedule your science and history topics for six years. Then, rotate through the topics each year. At the end of the six years, you can start over or use a different teaching method.

Here's a six-year topic plan I've created that you are welcome to use: 

Unit Study Planning Guide for History

Unit Study Planning Guide for Science

You may want to purchase The Checklist as a unit study planning tool. Keep track of what you have taught so you don't repeat it!

Plan each topic to last for 6, 9, 12, 18, or 36 weeks. Then, when you reach the end of the time, STOP! Move on to the next topic. You'll cover most topics more than once in twelve years of school, so don't worry if you didn't get something covered that you wanted to cover. You can cover it next time.

Here's a chart to help you plan your topic time schedules:

Once you've decided which topics you're going to teach for the year, it's time to create a schedule for the week. Here's a sample weekly schedule for multi-level teaching that I like. 

Sample Schedule for Multi-level Teaching

Now that you know what you are going to teach and when, it's time to teach! 

ReminderThe Checklist Assistant was created for parents and teachers just like you! 

Start the day with family reading. Pick a book related to the topic and read for 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Take turns reading as students are able.

Do some Internet research on the topic, if desired.

Do some hands-on activities related to the topic. This could be an art, music, or science project.

Create a timeline of events, if applicable. Feel free to use my blank timeline form and blank timeline pieces.

Assign homework - research, reading, and composition projects according to each student's abilities. 

Use my Unit Study Project Ideas, if desired.

You can also use one of my free unit studies to get started. Use it as it is or customize it to suit yourself. However, please do not distribute my unit studies without permission to help me protect my copyrights. smile