I love unit studies as a flexible and engaging framework for homeschool planning. If you don’t have time, you could buy a ready-made one. But if you’re on a budget, it’s actually super easy to plan a unit study. And I’m going to show you how! You can start by downloading my unit study planner below.
Contents of the Post
Get your Kids Involved in Choosing a Topic
The first and most important step, is to get your kids involved in choosing a topic. You will get a much higher level of engagement if they are learning about what interests them. You could give them a few options, if they get overwhelmed by choice. Or you can ask them what they would like to deep dive into.
Plan a Unit Study around Learning Goals
You can start to think about what you want your children to achieve for the week. Let’s say you want them to cover math, language arts, history, and science, and your unit study is dinosaurs. You can then mould the unit study around these subjects you want to cover.
Including Math in your Unit Study
Firstly for math, you could find or create dinosaur-themed worksheets to work on addition, subtraction, division or multiplication. Teachers Pay Teachers have lots of free or very reasonably-priced worksheets available. You could also use dinosaur figures as math manipulatives for great hands-on learning activities. I taught my kids skip counting by drawing numbers with chalk on the sidewalk, which their dinosaurs then jumped on.
I like to put together a Pinterest board with lots of ideas. Below is one I’ve created for a dinosaur unit study for elementary-aged kids.
Cover Language Arts with Themed Books
Secondly for language arts, you could use a dinosaur-themed book. Here is a list you could start with. Your children could read a few pages every day or you could find a nice book as a read-aloud. Choose a book that sparks conversation, that brings up interesting and useful facts, and that uses language or vocabulary that teaches kids grammar points for their level. Books are also great for testing comprehension or for being the starting point of a written or acted out story.
History doesn’t have to be Boring
Thirdly, you could base history around a famous person from the past, for example. Mary Anning is perfect for a dinosaur unit study. Apart from discussing the times she lived in, you could also look at the role of women in science…then and now. Tracking the history of paleontology as a field of study would also be interesting. Or, get your family history involved! Using websites like https://www.genealogybank.com/explore/obituaries/all/usa/pennsylvania/philadelphia/philadelphia-inquirer, you can learn all about your family history, which is sure to interest your child!
Don’t Forget to Include Science when you Plan a Unit Study
Lastly, there are lots of great options for science. For smaller children, you could simulate a fossil dig. They can practice some fine motor skills by using a small paintbrush to clean away the dirt or learn the names and parts of the dinosaurs. For older kids, you could use this Mystery Science episode as a starting point. My boys loved it!
Make your Unit Study Fun
As you can see, it’s very easy to find a week or two’s learning in one unit study theme. But one of the best parts for me, is all the extras that you can include. Some activities that will have your kids jumping for joy are:
- doing some themed baking. I love these super simple dinosaur-print cookies.
- taking a break with a movie, documentary or a TV series. Here’s a kid-friendly list of movies and shows.
- going on a field trip. You could visit a natural history museum or even a fossil sight, if you live close to one.
- doing arts and crafts. The possibilities are endless here. Making Fun Crafts has tons you can choose from.
I hope this post inspired you to plan a unit study. Please feel free to drop me a comment below or send me a mail if you have any questions. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.