How to Do Homeschool Unit Studies

I’ve been a boring homeschool mom up until now. We read books, we work through  reading lessons, we practice writing letters, and we do  math workbooks.

Other than that, we play, which I think is the most important thing we can do for this life stage.

But I can do better.

We have the resources at our fingertips to make this fun. Mister and I are book heads, so between the two of us, our home collection could serve as a small country’s national library. We have the internet. We have Pinterest. Even if I’m not creative in that way, other people are and are more than willing to share their fun learning project ideas.

I had heard of unit studies as an approach to homeschooling. What is a unit study? Essentially, homeschool unit studies focus on one topic but touch on all subjects with the topic in mind. A unit study may last a few days to a few weeks and incorporate vocabulary, songs, books, movies, documentaries, science projects, math, life skills, arts and crafts, geography…whatever subjects you want to emphasize.

And the topics? Sky is the limit. Hoss chose the next few months’ topics by opening up an Animal Encyclopedia, a Plants book and a Human Body book. I’m not particularly looking forward to the centipedes one, but other than that I’m liking what he chose: carnivorous plants, giraffes, the arctic, teeth…

Some families are thorough enough with their unit studies that they can use them as their standalone homeschooling method. I don’t think I could do that – I need to be on a program with the basics like math and reading. But, it’s a possibility.

I came up with a unit study planner sheet that I’ll use to get my ideas in black and white. Of course, in the spirit of having all the resources in the world at our fingertips, I’m sharing it!


As a guideline, I’ll plan for my unit studies to last about a week. Of course, we’ll make adjustments if something is particularly fascinating (or a drag). I’ll have my books and DVDs ready to go, I’ll decide on vocabulary words, an art project (Pinterest!), math concepts, geography and I’ll have them make an easy snack.

Once this weather breaks, we’ll do field trips.

Oh, how I need the field trips.

Anyway, my little unit study planner sheet is here for the taking.

Do you have experience with unit studies? Even if you don’t, what kinds of projects have you done with the kiddos? Like I said, I’m calling in the reinforcements here!





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4 thoughts on “How to Do Homeschool Unit Studies

  1. Just found your website through a Google search about unit studies planning. Sounds like we are in the absolute same boat you were in a year ago. Our first grader has spent the year faithfully plodding through her workbooks … but that’s not exactly the cool homeschool experience that we dreamed it would be.

    So I’m curious – did you try unit studies this year? How did it go? Did you actually use this tool or did you modify it? Thanks for the info!

    1. We did use the planning sheet! The printable was a great way to focus. It was a little daunting to plan them back to back, but they were fun to incorporate a couple days a week. I was surprised to find that it didn’t matter if a few days or a week passed between activities within a topic. They remembered!

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