Unit studies are a wonderful way to ride the wave of a child’s interests across several subjects. Homeschooling allows the freedom to set aside one’s regular curriculum for a season, and explore a topic of interest from many angles. For example, a child’s interest in aviation can spark science experiments, writing projects, math problems, and a study of the history of flight. The child’s related work in the various subjects can be recorded appropriately.
The downside to unit studies is they are time intensive on the administrative end. To successfully interest the child and record her activities, a parent will want to plan carefully, sometimes from scratch, and take time to write out the day’s activities. It’s very easy to forget what they learned at the park on Monday, late Friday evening when you’re trying to update your learning records!
During the high school years, I’m learning that unit studies translate to a teen developing his specialty. One of my children is currently building a computer from scratch. He is learning life skills as he earns and saves money for the parts, overcomes obstacles, and interacts with specialists online. He’s also teaching himself computer science, as he researches the many components and fits them together. I might have him write a report about any aspect of this endeavor, which would contribute to his language arts work this year. I’ve always found my children far more ready to write about their interests than about topics that offer them little personal inspiration.
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