Large Family Homeschool Hack #2: Uncomplicated Unit Studies

Welcome back for Day 3 of my How to Homeschool Multiple Children Without Going Crazy series. I’ve really been having a lot of fun writing these posts, and it’s my prayer that they will be helpful to you.

Anyone who knows anything about my homeschool style at all is very aware that I am a huge fan of unit studies. In fact, my friend, Jen, often calls me the Unit Study Queen, a name I wear with honor. 😉 They’re such a wonderful way to teach your children together while keeping things fun and engaging. (For more, watch my video on this topic.)

I know there are a lot of people out there who are a bit intimidated by unit studies. Images of mummified chickens, intricate crafts, and dissected cow eyeballs often dance through the minds of those not very familiar with this approach, and yes, there are people who have the patience, talent, and stomach to do these things, but I am not one of them. I’m looking at you, Susan. 🙂

(Okay, we did dissect a cow eyeball, but I made my husband do it while I stood at a safe distance…)

As with my entire approach to homeschooling, in general, “relaxed” is the best way to describe how I approach unit studies, as well. A while back I shared some tips on how to use them, but today I’m going to focus on the most helpful advice I have for larger families, because as much as I adore this approach, it is very possible to overcomplicate it.

How to Use Unit Studies in a Large Family


1. Stick with unit studies that are already written out for you.

I know there are people who can pull unit studies together at the drop of a hat without any prior preparation, following rabbit trails like the pros they are without thinking twice about it. That may even be you.


If you’ve got a huge crew of kids underfoot, the most gracious thing you can do for yourself is to use a pre-written unit study. Whether you purchase one like I wrote about yesterday, use a free online resource, or write your own before you plan on doing it is entirely up to you, but I strongly suggest that you have something formally prepared before setting out to begin a unit.

Plan ahead

You’ll be glad you did.


2. Don’t go overboard.

Remember that you do not have to use every single suggested activity in a unit study. Always ask yourself these questions before determining which ones to choose:

  • Will my children enjoy this?
  • Will I enjoy it?
  • How many activities per day can the children handle well?
  • How many activities per day can I handle well?
  • Is this going to add stress to our day?
  • Will this be too time-consuming or expensive to prepare for?
  • Am I only doing this because I saw it on Pinterest?

Why are you doing this?

Your answers should make it easy enough to pick which activities are worth it and which ones to skip over.


3. Don’t be redundant.

Most people who use unit studies supplement them with some sort of language arts and math curriculum, as do I. However, if your unit study activities for the day cover math, language arts, or both, skip the supplemental curriculum for the day. Is your child writing an essay for the unit? Then there’s no need to do language arts on top of it. Is there an activity calling for your kids to calculate distances or bake?

Baking covers math

Skip the math book. Don’t be repetitive. Your kids (and you) will enjoy the temporary reprieve.


Unit studies are probably the best tool a mom of many can use in her homeschool. Keep them uncomplicated, plan ahead, and be flexible. Once you’ve got that covered, the rest is as easy as pie!

Tune in tomorrow to find out how read-alouds and notebooking can make your large family homeschool joyful and manageable!

This post is a part of iHomeschool Network’s:

Homeschool blogger hopscotch


Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

26 thoughts on “Large Family Homeschool Hack #2: Uncomplicated Unit Studies”

  1. I’m loving these ideas you are posting! Thank you! We have seven kids (our 8th is due at the end of the month) ages 9 and under, four of the kids being school aged. I’m always looking for tips on making the day run more smoothly. 🙂 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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