Monday, September 26, 2005

Unit Study Tips



You know how it goes – the more that you learn, the more there is to learn! Just when we think we've figured out our direction with our children's education, along comes something new or flashy or different, and uncertainty creeps into our minds – are we doing enough? Yes, this happens to most of us at one time or another, and you aren't alone in your questions.

Many people switch to unit studies when they are fed up with textbooks, or their children are bored, not learning, resisting more workbook pages – you get the picture. Unit studies are very attractive, but there are many of them on the market and such a wide variety!

My first tip – think of YOUR family, your children – what are their interests and how can you get them interested in learning? Not an easy task for many of us, until you hit upon a method that works for your crew. Are they interested in science and experiments more than history? Do they enjoy a healthy diet of independent reading? Do they have special interests – like space or cowboys, ballet or dogs, pioneers or fishing?

Your success with unit studies can well depend on the ability to capture their interest with something that they are already curious about – giving them ownership of the study or investigation, and whetting their appetite for more learning using their interests and discovering their unique gifts and talents along the way. That's exactly what has happened in our family, and we are so very thankful for the freedom of homeschooling and the wisdom to "think outside of the box," encouraging the children's interests and uncovering so many ideas and topics to investigate along the way.

A good unit study will make your life easier and their learning more exciting and interesting, allowing for better retention of the material, as well as helping develop lifelong learners. In my opinion, a good unit study should not make more work for you, adding layers of additional responsibilities and projects to your already hectic schedule.


Choose a unit study carefully – try to match your family to a study that "fits" their style. It is easier to change the curriculum than the child – remember! If possible, buy a component or single unit study to begin with, and then try it out – how does it fit with your family? Picture them at home using the product that you are considering – can you see them looking forward to working on the unit each day, asking to do more in the days that follow? Keep these things in mind – and enjoy the learning experience!


Until next time,



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