Here on the Silverdale Press blog, we’re doing a series all about unit studies. We answer your most pressing questions and give you information on the who, what, when, where, and why of unit studies.
This week, we’re talking about the “when” of unit studies.
Probably not when you’re just starting out
If it’s your very first week ever of homeschooling your kids, it’s probably not a good idea to dive right into unit studies. While you don’t have to have a ton of experience under your belt to do unit studies, it’s best to get your feet wet first. Get to know your kids’ learning styles. Try to understand their strengths. Get a feel for their areas of interest. See how regular curricula are working for you. Then dip your toes into unit studies.
When an interest in piqued
Remember that the key idea behind unit studies is to follow your kids’ interests. Learn about what delights them. For example, if they happen to pick a book off the shelf about Shakespeare—and want to learn more—by all means put together a Shakespeare unit study.
Any season of the year
Winter, spring, summer, or fall—unit studies are good for any season. Speaking of the seasons, it’s also a good idea to tailor your unit studies to the seasons of the calendar. In the fall, you can do a unit on pumpkins. They’re everywhere, and you can probably work in some local programming—at the library, farm, or orchard. In the winter, do a unit on snowflakes. In the spring, do a unit on garden seeds, which will allow you to work on your own garden project at the same time. For year-round schoolers, the summer can be a great time to do a unit study on science or nature.
When cool or important events come up
Maybe it’s a movie release or an awards ceremony. Pay attention to current events and do a unit on whatever sounds interesting. Choose a unit study that lines up with a national week or month. Maybe do a unit study to go along with National Wolf Awareness Week (October) or Women's History Month (March) or National Physical Fitness and Sports Month (May). Let the news help you design your curriculum.
During the holidays
The holidays are a great time to do unit studies. Children want to celebrate the holidays. As homeschoolers, we have a wonderful opportunity to infuse our holiday celebrations with learning activities. The holidays are broad, and they allow parents to draw in a range of subjects—from social studies and language arts, to music and electives. Plus, the holidays provide a great time to break from your normal homeschool routine. If you do a unit study along with the holidays, you’re really not even taking a break (though your kids may think otherwise).
As you can see, the best time to do unit studies is anytime. Now tell us: when do you do unit studies in your homeschool?