Home Education, Reviews

How Unit Studies Changed Our Homeschool

As homeschooling evolves, there are more and more methods and styles surfacing. One of the newest methods is known as the Unit Study Method, and a lot of homeschooling families are loving it! The biggest reason is they practically fit any learning style. 

What are unit studies?

Unit studies are what they sound like… You are basically using the study of a particular topics or concept to teach across several (if not all) subject areas. Unit studies have changed the way I homeschool and I can’t say I’m ever going back. Plus, I want to tell you about one of the coolest resources you should check out for summer fun learning!

4 Reasons to Give Unit Studies a Try

Unit Studies give my kids a variety of ways to learn.

Whether we are studying butterflies, the ocean, or a certain culture, my kiddos get a variety of ways to learn about the chosen topic. Through books (especially living books), field trips, videos, and hands-on activities, they never get bored.

Not to mention, a variety of ways to learn is super important when you’re homeschooling multiples.

Unit Studies have the ability to cover any and every subject.

At first I wasn’t sure how I was going to get those “tough subjects” in. As I started researching and finding resources, I quickly realized that it would be easy.

For example, we are currently doing a Butterfly Nature Study using a resource from Holistic Homeschooler. In this resource, she provides over 20 pages of printables that touch science, handwriting skills through copywork, reading, and geography. When you come across a resource like this, it’s like hitting jackpot!

Unit Studies open the door to deeper understanding.

With almost every unit study we did last homeschool year, my kiddos have been intrigued to want to learn more about the subject or was led to want to discover something else.

Best part about this is it shows that their minds are hard at work, and they are eager to learn more or learn something new. With Holistic Homeschooler’s Butterfly Nature Study Packet, my kiddos learned how to identify butterflies. Now when we go outside, they are on the lookout for butterflies and get super excited to be able to identify them!

Unit Studies make education flexible.

Going back to the Butterfly Nature Study… the flexibility of this resource is amazing. I am homeschooling three kiddos (at the time) with a six-month-old baby in tow so it’s important for me to score resources that meet various levels of learning.

The ability to have printables on hand for my toddler, preschooler, and fourth grader has made learning about butterflies and their nature smooth. When we can group learning together, it makes it so much more fun!

A Unit Study You Should Try

As you can probably already tell, the resource I want to tell you about is Holistic Homeschooler’s Butterfly Nature Study Packet. Upon receiving this resource I knew it was going to be a perfect fit for our homeschool because I’m homeschooling multiples from toddler to fourth grade.

Anytime a resource offers printables that all the kids can use, I’m all for it. The Butterfly Nature Study Packet comes with beautifully made printables, two of which I decided to print and laminate {the butterfly anatomy and life cycle pages} so the kids could practice identification with what is now a reusable resource.

The fact that this resource aligns with the Charlotte Mason method means that my kiddos are seeing real life pictures of butterflies and the life cycle process. There is also a list of living books that can be found at the public library to incorporate.

This really brings learning to life and helps my children learn about the nature of a butterfly in a realistic way. This resource also fit perfectly with some other resources I used for our unit study of butterflies. Its a win-win and that’s why I recommend that you check out Holistic Homeschooler’s Butterfly Nature Study Packet. You’re welcome. 🙂

Psst… if you’re looking for ways to incorporate unit studies into your homeschool, I recommend checking out my free unit study lesson plans page. It is chocked full with {free} resources you can use from printables to videos!

CHIME IN: do you use Unit Studies as part of your homeschooling? If so, what are some of your subjects/topics to study?

Home Education

Let’s Study Archimedes – C’mon, you know you want to!

Let’s Study Archimedes is part of the Back to Homeschool: Mind Over Matter blog series. This post has been provided by Shannan from Captivating Compass.

Does your family study ancient scientists? We all know we should, but sometimes it can be so overwhelming. I noticed last year when we were attempting to do an in-depth study on one of the great, ancient scientists (Archimedes) there was so much information! There were so many things to wade through to see if they would be a good fit for our family, our teaching style and our personal beliefs.  

I got pretty overwhelmed. 

But, like you, I’m not one it give up.

So, I dug in and found some great resources! I noticed along the way there was plenty of resources for littles explaining the simple concepts with cute cartoon-y videos – but they had no real challenge that middle schoolers and high schoolers need. There were also some very serious, extremely long, resources that I’m not sure any high schooler should be forced to use. Those were definitely going to be a tough sell around our house. 

In my quest to find what was a good fit four our family, I found some excellent resources for the upper elementary through high school age group that are engaging and really explain the concepts Archimedes was working on. So much of what he introduced to science is all around us. We don’t even realize how much. Nowadays, what he took the time to explain (we call it discovered, now) we actually take for granted in our everyday lives. Here are a few examples:

  • That door wedge that holds the door open – Archimedes explained it.
  • The fine points of who will be the best teeter-totter partner – Archimedes has all the pro tips on that one!
  • The overflowing dish sink when you put the dishes into the water and the water splashes everywhere. – Yep,  Archimedes can tell you why.
  • And… have you ever thought about Noah’s Ark & Archimedes at the same time? Mind-blowing – Just sayin’.

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Let’s Study Archimedes: Beyond “Eureka!”

Anyhow, I put all the really good, not boring, resources into an online unit study for you to use. You can learn more about it and even try a free sample lesson to make sure it’s a good fit for your family! Come on over and check out the Let’s Study Archimedes: Beyond “Eureka!” online unit study.

Before you go, don’t forget to enter the back to homeschool bundle giveaway and comment below with any concerns you may have with homeschooling. We are here to support you!

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Shannan is a wife, mum, and saved by grace, child of The King. Her home base is in Scotland, where she homeschools her two kids (age 10 & 14) and learns on location throughout Europe as much as possible. She encourages you to pursue your God-breathed dream, no matter what it is! You can join her at Captivating Compass for homeschool and family travel inspiration.




Home Education

Quick Tips for Hands-On Activities to Teach Your Children

We’re all on a quest to homeschool our children using activities to help make learning enjoyable, right? We also want to give them all the skills and information they’re going to need to tackle the world around them. So have you considered taking a hands-on approach as part of the curriculum?

Perhaps you’ve never considered it because the amount of work that’s believed to be involved. However, there’s nothing like taking a practical approach to some of life’s most common problems, and using hands-on activities in the process. Believe me when I say that you’ll end up having some pretty handy and responsible kiddos!

Not to mention, kids love having their attention taken up by something they can be involved in. Think about all the times you’ve been in the kitchen cooking and they want to have a hand in there. In hindsight, this gives you a chance to have some more help around the house too (*wink wink*)!

Here are a couple of great ways to add a twist to your homeschooling all while making sure no one involved gets bored! Oh, and don’t forget to actually count this as schooling! 😉

Try Out Some DIY

If you don’t already know, I love some DIY! When it comes down to doing anything yourself, don’t forget to include your kiddos (when you can)! They will have an absolute blast! Whether you’re making some sensory bottles or building a treehouse, including your kiddos come with some major benefits.

Think about some of the challenges out there in the world that take some technical know how… so why not introduce this from a young age? Being able to apply school taught skills to the real world is something homeschooling does better than any other institution! Not to sound partial but it’s the true! We get the opportunity to include real life scenarios every single day.

Sure, they’re probably not going to need the skills for a good while yet, but it’s still a good start. Yeah there is room for professionals (https://www.mrrooter.ca/toronto), but even that can turn into an amazing hands-on learning opportunity too! If you show your kids the basics when they’re young, they’re going to be able to build their skill a lot better. They’ll also have a lot more experience by the time they’re older and ready to put it all to use!

Go On Field Trips

Going on field trips was always an exciting endeavor when we were at school. So why not open your kids up to these opportunities as well? It makes a change from the routine, it’s never a boring idea, and there’s so many places you could head out to!

There’s nothing like a bit of hands on history, especially if there’s an activity day going on at your local museum. I’ve heard of some towns offering events that allows kids to dress up as historical characters or even take part in a battlefield routine! There are also some pretty cool science museums that can show your kids some amazing hands-on activities.

I’ve been recently looking into virtual field trips to help add some more jazz to our homeschooling. How awesome would it be to settle down in some comfy PJ’s (our school uniform, LOL), pop some popcorn, and sit back while the field trip comes to you?! I’m gathering some great info about these to share with you in the near future.

Regardless of what your homeschool looks like, the point is to not stress and try to have fun with what you’re doing. Yes, learning needs to be taken seriously, but children are a good reminder of how much fun learning can be!

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Lapbooking & Notebooking

These two homeschooling methods are making it to the top of the charts when it comes to hands-on learning. I recently wrote a post about incorporating unit studies into your homeschool routine, and adding lapbooking/notebooking goes hand-in-hand with it. Using the notebooking method is one way to allow your kiddos’ creative juices to flow all while helping them retain the information being taught. At the end of a particular study, your child also has a keepsake notebook and something that can be used to showcase work completed. Its a win-win!

If you’re stuck on thinking that homeschooling looks like a bunch of textbooks, workbooks, and a strict schedule… I invite you to consider switching it up a bit with some hands-on learning filled with DIY opportunities, field trips, and notebooking!

CHIME IN: Share some of your hands-on learning tips in the comments below!