Overview: Guest writer Candice McDaniel from A Touch of Homeschooling has 150+ great homeschool unit study ideas to make your planning easier. These fun topics for K-8 will keep your children engaged and learning!
You probably already know this…
Kids learn best when they’re interested in a topic and having fun. When they can relate to a subject, connect the dots, and really explore something in depth.
Which is why unit studies are such a great tool for homeschooling. You and your child can really dive deep into a subject and let their natural curiosity guide the learning.
But sometimes, it can be tough to come up with homeschool unit study ideas that are both fun and educational. Especially if you’re homeschooling more than one child!
To help make your planning easier, I’ve put together a list of 150+ homeschool unit study ideas for K-8. These fun topics will keep your children engaged and learning!
Let’s get to it!
What is a unit study?
Before we dive into this long list of homeschool unit study ideas, let’s get clear on what a unit study is. A unit study is a homeschooling method that focuses all the lessons and activities around a certain theme or topic.
For example, one unit study topic might be sea animals. So you and your child might:
- borrow some books about sea animals from the library (literature)
- classify different types of sea animals and discuss their diets and habitats (science)
- map out different migratory routes of different sea animals or where they live (geography)
- take a trip to a local aquarium and make a graph of what kinds of sea animals your see (math)
Though all the activities relate to sea animals, they touch on different subject areas. Unit studies are a great way to connect learning across multiple subjects and dive deep into topics your child is already interested in.
What should be included in a unit study?
You can include as much or as little into a unit study as you prefer. For some families, unit studies are their main way to homeschool, so they’ll probably try to add in as many subjects as possible.
For other families, they might have a few other curriculums they prefer for their main subjects, so they might focus more on just following their child’s interests. Unless you have specific subject requirements for your homeschool laws in your state, you can include whatever subjects you want.
Here are some subjects you may want to include in your unit studies:
Benefits of Using Unit Studies
There is a reason that unit studies are so popular with homeschool families. They provide a great opportunity to personalize your child’s education and explore subjects that truly interest them.
Here are some great benefits of using unit studies:
Great for homeschooling multiple ages at once
With unit studies, you don’t have to worry about teaching each of your children each subject separately. You can teach all of your children at once as you explore different topics.
With older children, you might borrow more advanced books from the library or do more in-depth activities, but for the most part, you can all learn together. This is a great way to homeschool multiple ages!
Unit studies are also very flexible. If your child isn’t interested in a certain topic, you can easily switch gears and try something else.
There’s no need to feel like you have to finish a certain book or complete a curriculum. You can always try again later or find another homeschool unit study idea that’s more interesting to your child.
Creative learning opportunities
With unit studies, the sky is the limit when it comes to finding creative ways to learn. You’re not limited to just books and worksheets, but can get outside, go on field trips, do hands-on experiments, and more.
This is a great way to help kids who learn best by doing or seeing things in action. And it’s also just more fun for everyone!
Another benefit of unit studies is that your child learns across multiple subjects at the same time. Our brains don’t segregate learning into only math now, science at this time, and reading completely separate.
Unit studies help better mimic how children actually learn by allowing them to make connections between different subjects which helps them better understand the topic.
Unit studies are also great for kids who learn best by doing. With this homeschooling method, you can really get creative and find ways to incorporate hands-on learning into every subject.
This could include things like cooking to learn about fractions in math or doing a science experiment to see how plants grow.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to incorporating hands-on learning into your homeschool unit studies.
How to Plan a Unit Study
Something else to consider while scrolling through looking for homeschool unit study ideas is how you’re going to plan out your unit studies. There are a few different methods depending on your homeschool style.
You can either wing it, go with the flow and follow your child’s lead, plan out a full unit, or buy a pre-packaged unit study.
If you decide to follow your child’s lead, you’ll pick a topic, probably read a few books or watch some movies on it, and then see what piques your child’s interest. Depending on what else they want to learn or what else they’re curious about, you can start looking into activities and resources to learn more about the topic.
If you’re more comfortable having a plan, you’ll probably want to use a homeschool planner or template. For that method, you’ll pick the topic and then plan out resources and activities to go along with it for each subject you want to cover.
And lastly, if you hate the idea of planning, you can always buy a pre-packaged unit study. You’ll be a bit more limited in what topics you can choose from, but it saves you a lot of time and effort planning it out yourself.
There is no wrong or right way to plan out your unit study; it just depends on what works best for you and your child.
How do you homeschool a unit study?
A lot of homeschoolers get interested in the idea of unit studies, but they’re a little confused about how to actually teach it. After all, it’s not like a traditional homeschool curriculum where there are specific lessons to follow.
So how do you homeschool a unit study? The answer is: it depends.
Your child’s learning style and your daily schedule will have a big impact on how you teach unit studies.
Some homeschoolers prefer to do all their learning on the same topic at the same time. So if they’re studying Ancient Greece, they might read a few books on it, do some hands-on activities, and then do a related science experiment, all in the same day.
Other homeschoolers might prefer to mix it up a bit and talk about different aspects of the same topic throughout the week. So one day they might read a book on Ancient Greece, the next day they might do an art project related to it, and then the next day they might watch a movie.
And then some homeschoolers like to do one big project at a time. So they might spend an entire week reading books on Ancient Greece, and then the next week they might do all their hands-on activities related to it.
Again, there is no wrong or right way to homeschool a unit study. It just depends on what works best for you and your child.
How long should a unit study last?
A unit study can last however long your child is still interested in the topic. Some unit studies will only last for a day while others might stretch out into months.
If you’re brand new to unit studies and just aren’t sure, I think a good guideline is to plan it out for a week. At the end of the week, if your child is still interested in the topic and wants to learn more, you can keep going.
If your child is ready to move on, you can pick another topic.
Homeschool Unit Study Ideas for Grades K-2
Now that you know all about homeschool unit studies, let’s dive into this list of over 150 homeschool unit study ideas! This first section will be unit study ideas for kindergarten through 2nd grade.
- Farm animals
- Sea animals
- Zoo animals
- African animals
- Water life cycle
- Weather forecasting
- Community helpers
- Human body
- Bodies of water
- Charlotte’s Web
- Little House on the Prairie
- The Velveteen Rabbit
- A Chair for My Mother
- Mario Brothers
Homeschool Unit Study Ideas for Grades 3-5
Here are some great homeschool unit study ideas for grades 3rd through 5th.
- Animal habitats
- Food chains
- Plant life cycle
- Asteroids and comets
- South America
- North America
- The Oceans
- Cell phones
Time Periods in American History
- The Great Depression
- Civil War
- Colonial Settlement
- The American Revolution
- Swiss Family Robinson
- Books by Judy Blume
- Books by Roald Dahl
- Bunnicula series
- Magic Tree House
- Rocket League
- Human anatomy
- Food and nutrition
Homeschool Unit Study Ideas for Grades 6-8
Here are some fun homeschool unit study ideas for grades 6th through 8th.
- Endangered species
- Animal behavior
- Natural selection
- Plant cells
- Emergency services
- Professional trades
- Professional athlete
Famous People in History
- Lewis and Clark
- Mr. Rogers
- Amelia Earhart
- Former presidents
- Christopher Columbus
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Louisa May Alcott
- Waves and sound
- States of matter
- Elements on the Periodic Table
- Chemical reactions
- Mixtures and compounds
- Harry Potter
- Percy Jackson
- The Giver
- The Secret Garden
- The One and Only Ivan
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- Among Us
- Final Fantasy
- Printing press
- Light bulb
I hope this list of over 150 homeschool unit study ideas has helped give you some inspiration for what to do in your homeschool this year. As you can see from this list, your options are as limitless as you and your child’s imagination!
I hope you have fun exploring unit studies with your homeschooler and let us know how it goes in the comments below.
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