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Unit Studies (Thematic) Homeschool Method


The unit studies approach is designed to give both in-depth and broad understandings of subjects revolving around some entire theme that interests the child. This integrated approach includes science, math, geography, art, music, history, language, literature, drama, and creative movement. It is often referred to as a multi-disciplinary or a thematic approach. It is an experiential, hands-on approach to learning. It is believed that when children go into such depth, and spend a generous amount of time on each theme, their retention of the subject is higher than in traditional methods.

Since the central focus is on one theme, all core subjects are integrated together based on that particular theme. The primary advantage, of course, is that the subjects are blended together and not learned separately. There are many other advantages with the unit study approach:

  1. Children of all ages and different levels can learn together.
  2. Unit studies are relatively low in cost, especially if you create your own unit.
  3. Because the studies are learner-generated, the child gets an in-depth understanding of each topic, and in turn develops mastery and retention of the material.
  4. Since there are no time restraints, the child is given ample time to think, experiment and discover each topic through his own natural way of learning.
  5. Since unit studies are multi-aged, the younger child learns immeasurably from and through the older child.
  6. The creative hands-on projects and activities are great fun.
  7. Anything can spark an interest: television, radio, books, and common conversations. This makes unit planning fairly easy.

If you are new to homeschooling, or planning on using the unit study approach, there are many Web sites, books and preplanned units available free or for purchase.

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