Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Unit Study Approach to Homeschooling

Some families like to do unit studies for their homeschooling.  You can purchase a unit study curriculum or you can create your own.  Unit studies are an easy way to teach to children of multiple ages and grade levels at the same time.

Our first year of homeschooling, we used a unit study curriculum.  We used Konos in a box.  We studied, knights and horses and the lightbulb and made our own old time lanterns and made candles out of melted crayons.  We enjoyed it, but there were things I chose not to do because I didn't know how to make those things understandable for our son who was in kindergarten at the time.  Therefore, we finished Konos a few weeks before we reached our 180th day of school, so I decided to create my own unit study for the boys to finish out the year.

I asked the boys what they wanted to study, and they both decided they wanted to study China.  So, we went to our local public library and we checked out books about the country of China, Chinese cooking, a book about Tiananmen Square, a book about Confuscious and a book entitled The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean.  We also checked out a video on how to make a dragon.

The boys made dinner one night from a couple of recipes from the Chinese cooking book, they enjoyed making the dragons out of egg cartons and paint.  They enjoyed learning all that we learned about China for those couple of weeks.  Today, this unit study remains one of their favorite memories of homeschooling, and The Kite Rider remains one of their favorite books.

The unit study we did on China included every subject except math, science and music.  We had math and science, but I was trying to figure out what we could do for music.  Then I remembered that we have a store nearby that sells things from all over the world, and one of the things they carry are CDs of music from most other countries, so I took the boys there with the intention of buying a CD of Chinese music.  However, when we arrived at the store, I discovered that they had sample CDs that you could listen to through a boom box and headphones, so we listened to a few selections from a couple of CDs and then we went home.  The store people didn't mind and the store wasn't busy at the time.

So, you can create a unit study without spending much money or you can purchase a unit study curriculum like Konos or Amanda Bennett.

One word of caution when checking things out from your local public library, be sure you choose your books and resources wisely, making sure that they are in line with what you want to teach your child(ren) -- the correct world view, and if they don't be sure that you can effectively explain to your children the difference between what you believe and what the book is saying.  We, of course, had some interesting discussions about Chinese culture and their beliefs as compared to our own, and my children understood that our beliefs are in the one, true God.

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