What’s a unit study? There are as many methods and styles of homeschooling as there are homeschoolers, but unit studies is one of the more popular these days. There are several brands of homeschool curricula that focus on unit studies, like Beyond Five in a Row and Konos, but even without a formal program, unit studies are easy for moms to set up, fun to teach, adaptable to different ages, and kids love them.
You’ve probably even done a unit study without knowing it. Have you ever wanted the kids to learn astronomy, so you got a stack of varied books on the subject and looked through them together? Maybe you practiced looking through a telescope, or learned about identifying the constellations, or went to NASA’s website to learn about space exploration, too. Even a field trip to your area’s conservatory would be appropriate for 6th grade. If you’ve done anything like this, you’ve already laid the foundations for a unit study!
A unit study is simply learning about a particular subject, whether it be grasshoppers, ocean currents, or a particular work of literature. A unit study could be about anything, as long as you’re able to cover the material in depth and from different angles. This method is great when you’re homeschooling multiple children, because the older kids can learn about predicting weather from ocean currents, for example, while the younger ones learn about the life cycle of a fish. It’s all connected as a unit study about oceans!
Unit studies allow for superficial review of less interesting aspects of the subject matter, while allowing kids to explore particular areas they enjoy. A unit study on oceans should probably include some geography, but could be expanded to include things like scuba diving and deep sea drilling too. The flexibility appeals to moms and kids alike, and middle schoolers are at an age where turning them loose to independently research something that interests them is an excellent learning method.