How to Plan a Unit Study
Welcome to the exciting world of planning unit studies! I think it's the best way to teach children in order for them to retain what they've learned -- and have lots of fun while doing it! I do remember how overwhelming it is when you first start. I've been homeschooling using Konos Curriculum for 4 years, so the fear, anxiety, excitement, dread, etc. of planning unit studies is still fresh in my mind. Many families have asked for my advice on how to start homeschooling using unit studies and Konos. This is what I tell them. It's a little different from what I do now, but it's a good way to start!
Sunday: Pray. Pray that God will give you wisdom, patience, & kindness in this endeavor. Pray that your children will be cooperative.
I am using a unit study on astronomy as an example. You can follow the below guidelines for any unit study.
Monday: 1. Go to the library. Be sure to bring some bags as you'll need them. Go to section 520 in the children's non-fiction section. (That's where all the books are about space.) Pull off any book that looks remotely interesting. If your library places biography books in a separate section, make sure to look there as well. Check out as many books as you're allowed at the library. Come home and let your children look through the books.
2. Select Your Activities. While they are looking through their books, grab a pencil, piece of paper, and your Konos book. Open it to the Orderliness Unit. Turn to the Planets/Moon Section. (In my book that's page 188.) Read through the activity ideas. Circle any that sound like something your children would enjoy. On your sheet of paper note any materials you may need to buy.
3. Do One Activity. Now do one of the activities. I think activity "a" would be good. Make a model of the planets. You can use Styrofoam balls and pipe cleaners or you can use other materials you have around your house. You could even just have them paint the planets using watercolor paints and paper.
4. Read. As those are drying, have each of your children pick one library book. Sit everyone down together. Read the suggested Bible passage (Psalm 104:19-20). Discuss it a little bit. Now read those 3 books. You're done for the day.
(Optional) 5. Divide. If you're planning on dividing this unit into multiple weeks, then divide the books into separate categories (planets, sun/moon, stars/comets, & space travel). Place the books related to what you'll be studying that week (stars/constellations) in a basket or on your coffee table and place the remaining books on a separate bookshelf. (You can pull out the books for next week's topic next Monday.)
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Tuesday - Thursday: Work, Read, and Do. Do your usual school work in the morning (math, handwriting, phonics, etc.). After lunch, let your children each pick another library book to read. Read the 3 books. Then do 1-2 activities from the Konos book. Continue this schedule for Wednesday and Thursday.
Friday: Do More Activities. Do your usual school work in the morning (math, handwriting, phonics, etc.). After lunch, replace the usual reading time with 3-5 Konos activities. Save the big, messy projects for today.
Do you teach using unit studies?
Do you teach using unit studies?
New More Unit Study Help?
Over the years I have posted over 35 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 170 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at Fun, FREE Hands-On Unit Studies Hub.
Looking for more help with homeschooling?
- How I Homeschool with Seven Children - On this page I describe and show in video clips our daily homeschool routine.
- Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten - On this page I have laid out what I do to homeschool my children when they are ages 3-5 and have also included my favorite resources for preschool and kindergarten learning. This is a detailed list of what I do from one activity to the next.
- Homeschool Kindergarten Essentials - These are my practical tips for your first year of homeschooling kindergarten. I give an overview of what I did while homeschooling my oldest two children (and still do to some degree now that I have children at many levels.)
- Taming Toddler Tornadoes: What to Do with Toddlers and Babies While Homeschooling Older Children - These are my practical tips on what I do to keep my babies and toddlers busy and happy (and out of trouble) while I homeschool my older children.
- How to Start Homeschooling (Transitioning from a Public or Private School) -Many families have asked for my advice on how to start homeschooling after they have pulled their child from a public or private school. This is what I tell them.
- How to Homeschool Multiple Ages (My Daily Homeschool Schedule) - Here is where I explain our daily homeschool schedule for 3 different stages: when I only had preschoolers (ages 4 and under), when I only had 1 child who could work independently and 4 who couldn't, and our current homeschool schedule that includes every age but high school. I have also included a few more tips for general home management.
- My Homeschool Math Curriculum, Games, and Books - This is where I explain what we use for math to make it my children's favorite subject. They love math so much that one of my sons actually requested to have a math-themed birthday party!
- How to Start a Homeschool Co-op - Have you considered starting a co-op? Having homeschool co-op each week is what keeps us homeschooling. It's the highlight of the homeschool week and one of the best investments of my time! My kids look forward to this every week and we have created so many great memories together! There are many ways to do a homeschool co-op. I have started 3 homeschool co-ops and have participated in others. If you're not already part of a co-op, you can start your own no matter where you live using my tips to show how easy it is to start one!
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)
Get a taste of the excitement you could have together using Konos Homeschool Curriculum by watching this fun video
© 2012 Shannon