Unit Studies Are Perfect for Every Learning Style

Let’s talk learning styles. There are so many different types. That can make traditional education a bit tricky.

Homeschooling is such a blessing in that it allows every family to choose a method that fits them. Unit studies happen to be one of my favorite approaches because, unlike many other styles, they include activities for EVERY learning preference.

Unfortunately, many people don’t know that. In fact, the idea of unit studies scares a good many homeschooling parents to pieces. Don’t let the myths about unit studies intimidate you. They can work for every family. All you need to do is give them the chance. 

Our Beginning-of-the-Year Homeschool Plan for Elementary and Middle School

I can’t believe it. Our new homeschool year begins next week already. Wow, this past six weeks went quickly!

As I was gathering books at the library for our first unit study the other day, I realized that some of you might like to see how I’m planning for our homeschool days to unfold, especially in regard to our unit study. I’m fairly certain that, even though I address unit studies quite often, they can be a bit of a mystery to those who are unfamiliar with them.

As you might be aware, for years I’ve been breaking my children into groups for their learning, simply because I have so many of them. 😉 (This year I’m homeschooling 8 again.)

However, now that my second youngest is ready to move up to the middles group, I’ve got a bit of a dilemma – that leaves my youngest alone in the littles group. She’s not too happy about that.

Continue reading “Our Beginning-of-the-Year Homeschool Plan for Elementary and Middle School”

3 Practical Hacks for Homeschooling High School

Over these past ten years, I’ve realized something about homeschooling high school:

It is way too easy to overcomplicate things.

Honestly, though, it’s understandable. It’s a big deal! What if we mess up?? The fear is all too real.

So what do we do to ensure that won’t happen? We overcompensate. We overschedule. And worst of all – we start trying too hard to look like school. Continue reading “3 Practical Hacks for Homeschooling High School”

5 Ways Unit Studies Saved Our Homeschool

Once upon a time, I quit homeschooling and sent my kids back to school.

Yes, I once sent my kids back to school.

Yes, really.

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: Continue reading “5 Ways Unit Studies Saved Our Homeschool”

What Does a Typical KONOS Homeschool Day Look Like?

As a busy homeschool mom of 11, out of necessity, I have become a bit of an “expert” in finding ways to keep our learning time manageable, simple, and efficient.

Unit studies are one of them.

Although I have come across so many fantastic unit study curriculums on this journey of ours, the one that has become a mainstay of our homeschool routine has been KONOSContinue reading “What Does a Typical KONOS Homeschool Day Look Like?”

Fall-Related Unit Studies and Homeschool Activities

I cannot believe that fall is already here. It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating the first day of summer.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

As much as I wish the warm weather could stay forever, there’s just something about this season that inspires creativity in me that I never knew existed. With the smell of the changing leaves, the colorful trees everywhere, and the crunching sound beneath our feet as we take our walks, the kids and I all love to incorporate these experiences into our homeschool routine.

With this in mind, today I’m going to share with you a list of autumn-related unit studies and hands-on activities. Enjoy!  Continue reading “Fall-Related Unit Studies and Homeschool Activities”

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.) Continue reading “Large Family Homeschool Hack #2: Uncomplicated Unit Studies”

A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Back to “School”!

We’ve reached the end of our first week of our new homeschool year, and we have had so much fun! The kids and I were all so excited to begin, and that has lasted throughout the entire week, so things are looking great so far!

Unfortunately, we almost got off to a rocky start because I got a phone call early Monday morning from a family member asking me to drive them somewhere (they live 1/2 hr. away). After I explained that it was our first day of homeschool, they were very understanding. Unfortunately, though, when I mentioned it to another family member I was lectured about sometimes “having to make sacrifices.” I got more than a little angry at that, because I have sacrificed many a homeschool day to help people out. The problem is that once I started doing that, people have constantly been expecting me to do it over and over again.  Continue reading “A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Back to “School”!”

5 Simple Steps to Creating a Literature-Based Unit Study

Writing my own unit studies was never something I seriously considered doing. I was completely satisfied with the prepared resources I had purchased and assumed that it would never be necessary.

However, when my children and I grew tired of the last unused unit study we had, I was faced with the option of forging ahead through something none of us wanted to do, or creating my own unit. The idea was rather daunting to me, but out of desperation, I decided to give it a go. Surprisingly, I discovered that not only was it quite easy, but I loved doing it.  Continue reading “5 Simple Steps to Creating a Literature-Based Unit Study”

Well, I Didn’t See This One Coming!

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So here I’ve been the past several weeks, happily typing away about the freedom of unschooling. Imagine my surprise today, then, when Dillon approached me and said, “Mom, I want to start doing unit studies again.” Huh?? I was shocked, and I did a poor job of hiding it when I blurted out, “Why???” Apparently, he’s bored. Bored. I immediately pointed out all the cool stuff I bought in lieu of curriculum this year. I did my speech about how he’s so lucky to have the freedom to learn about what he wants to learn when he wants to learn it. Still no change. I told him that if he’s absolutely sure that he wants to do unit studies, we’ll do that. His reply? “I’m not sure. I’m just bored.”

Okay…I know that I need to get to the bottom of this- and fast.. First of all, I’m hesitant to pick up where we left off because I know that as soon as the weather warms up, he’ll want to be outside all the time studying creepy crawlies like he always does, and the unit studies will be forgotten. I know firsthand that the cold weather can make me feel like a total slug, so I’m guessing it’s taking its toll on him.

One thing that I know is going to have to change for now is our screen-free period. As it stands now, the kids aren’t allowed to do anything involving electronics- at all- during this time. I thought it was a good idea, but I’m seeing now that it’s a little too strict. My kids love to research. And how do they research the most? While we do go to the library quite a bit, the majority of their research happens on the computer using either search engines or YouTube videos. As good as my intentions were, I think this rule has been hindering their creativity and motivation because, while they may get tons of ideas during the screen-free time, they have no access to the computer. My answer, up until now, has always been, “That’s a good idea. You’ll have to look that up after 4,” after which, the idea is completely forgotten, and instead I see a lot of glum faces trying to come up with something else.

Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, for now, I’m going to compromise. Instead of this time of day being an all-encompassing ban on electronics, I am going to allow these devices to be used for research purposes. In the best of circumstances, when the weather gets warmer, this won’t even be an issue at all. In the worst of circumstances, this will continue through the spring and summer, but my kids will still be learning, and that’s not such a bad thing.

And if Dillon or another of the kids is still bored after this change? Then I’ll do the unit studies. Part of unschooling is giving children the freedom to learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it and how they want to learn. As another blogging friend once said- homeschoolers are freedom scholars. And we’ll use that freedom to the best of our ability.