Once upon a time, I quit homeschooling and sent my kids back to school.
It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’ve come to realize that that dark experience is what gave me the courage to be as – ahem – outspoken about homeschooling and the public education system as I am.
While there were many things that gave me the courage and confidence to take them back out again after two years to begin our homeschool anew, today I’m going to focus on one thing that has kept us grounded:
Surprised? I know that some people are completely overwhelmed by them and assume that they’re too much work, but the exact opposite is true if you do them with the importance of simplicity in mind. Don’t write them off, until you’ve done your homework. Deal?
With that being said, are you ready to find out the…
5 Ways Unit Studies Have Saved Our Homeschool
(This post contains affiliate links.)
1. They take away the need to teach all of my kids separately.
When we first began our homeschool journey, I was baptized by fire, so to speak, by jumping in to homeschooling with four school-age kids, two toddlers, and a baby.
Yeah. I think I was a little crazy, too.
Since I knew absolutely nothing about what homeschooling was really all about, I took the default position – replicating every. single. method. used in schools. At first it was fine. To be honest, I almost felt like I was playing school with my kids, except this time it was “for real.”
Very quickly, though, the newness wore off, and I grew
tired exhausted from trying to juggle four kids doing their own thing and all at different grade levels.
Since unit studies are written to teach multiple levels, the time I once spent running around from one child to another has been replaced by familyschooling – a time in which several (and sometimes all) of my kids can learn together.
The only subjects left for me to teach separately are reading/phonics and math. Just imagine how much time that saves me!
2. They take away the need to teach every subject separately.
This frustrated me as much, if not more than, teaching my kids separately.
I mean, really. Look at all of the subjects we’re expected to address:
- language arts
- social studies
- etc., etc.
Besides the inevitable multitasking it takes to homeschool this way, the sheer realization that there is absolutely no cohesiveness or practicality in teaching snippets of unrelated topics each and every day is a complete waste of time.
Unit studies are the answer, because not only are unit studies multi-level, they’re cross-curricular, too. That means that they naturally cover all of the required subjects together, taking away the need to tackle five to seven individual subjects a day.
Not only is this, again, a huge time-saver, but it makes so much more sense. Think about it. Is life separated into subjects? Then why should our children’s education be?
3. They add variety in a way that textbooks never could.
Now that I’ve awoken to all of the possibilities of homeschooling, textbooks have become the bane of my existence. I shudder at the amount of time I wasted trying to use these (#sorrynotsorry) extremely boring resources. Yuck.
Unit studies are a breath of fresh air in that they incorporate a myriad of learning activities, ranging from cooking to science experiments to hands-on projects and more. Unit studies easily include activities that support every learning style out there, which is a must when you’ve got multiple kids with multiple learning preferences.
Unit studies introduced fun to our homeschool.
4. They add depth to my children’s learning.
Even if you prefer using textbooks, one thing you have to admit is that they have to cover a ton of subject matter in a very limited space. What that means is that each subtopic will receive, at most, one chapter and, very often, a short mention in a paragraph or two.
I want more than that for my children. I want them to have the experience of deep learning, really delving into a topic and covering it from a much bigger perspective than the shallow glimpse a standard textbook can give.
I remember when we first started homeschooling. My son couldn’t wait until he started learning about amphibians and reptiles (if you watch my YouTube channel, I’m sure you know which son I’m referring to). When we finally got there in his science book, he literally learned about them in one lesson. One.
Thankfully, we came upon unit studies before it was too late and he lost his enthusiasm. Imagine his delight a couple years later when we ended up spending several weeks learning about that very thing.
Take that, textbooks.
5. They add heart to our homeschool.
One term I’ve only begun recently hearing is “relational homeschooling,” and that’s exactly the atmosphere that unit studies support. Since my children do much of their learning together, it has forged a bond between them that I never dreamed would happen. It’s given them a sense of camaraderie in that they have more to talk about, more interests in common, and more adventures to take together.
Even if I took away all of the other benefits, this one thing would have been enough to keep us on this path.
And I don’t see us changing things anytime soon.
Speaking of unit studies, I have some exciting news for you this holiday season! Since my children and I love The Little House Christmas Treasury more than words can say, I decided to write a unit study to accompany it. Not content to keep it to myself, I’ve recently added it to my Teachers Pay Teachers account for only $3 for the PDF download. My kids and I had such a fantastic time with it.
Interested? You can find it here.
Homeschooling and education are my passion. It is my fervent hope to one day devote more time to creating content for you. If you’d like to support this ministry, consider supporting me on Patreon.
Thank you so much. I appreciate each and every one of you!