Six Tips for a Successful (and Organized)
Home School Unit Study

Hands-on education, relaxed learning, following your child's interests; a home school unit study provides a wonderful way to engage children and get them to love learning.

Although a home school unit study provides many educational benefits, without proper preparation and a little forethought, unit studies can quickly become a homeschooling headache.

Before you embark on your unit study adventure, here are some helpful tips (from someone who has made numerous mistakes!), to make your unit studies easier and more successful.

Make Time for Preparation

Set aside time to to plan accordingly.

As with most endeavors in life, planning is essential for home school unit study success!

Look through the entire unit or curriculum ahead of time so you will be aware of what you will be doing and can plan accordingly.

Find out what materials you can borrow through your library and what resources you will need to purchase or borrow from someone.

Believe me; nothing is worse than multiple pairs of eyes looking at you, waiting for instruction, while you scurry around last minute, scrambling for something to do.

Yes, it’s happened to me too many times!

Poor planning makes for an inefficient homeschool day, creates chaos and sets a bad example for your children. Set aside some time before beginning your unit study for a little preparation, you’ll be glad you did.

Schedule Your Unit Studies

Schedule your units by writing them down on your calendar.

Sometimes a home school unit study can get out of hand. If you feel like you have to learn everything about a certain topic, you may find certain unit studies NEVER end. (Like early American History?)

Do you remember that Shari Lewis song from Lamb Chop's Play-Along? That cute little jingle turned obnoxious real quick!

It went like this...

This is the song that never ends,
Yes it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
Yes it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because
This is the song that never ends,
Yes it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because ...

Remember it? If you have teens, you may.

A good home school unit study can be the same way – never-ending if you let it drag on or don't know when to stop.

Two weeks is a good amount of time for a nice well-rounded unit study, but some families like to change topics weekly and others, monthly.

Remember... You can always come back later or when the kiddos are older for another more in-depth look.

Make a Materials List

Save time and eliminate the frustration of missing essential items for an experiment or project.

Make a list of materials needed for each unit, if one is not already provided.

If a home school material list isn't provided, go through each lesson and write down all materials, books, supplies etc. that you will need.

Planning ahead also allows you to the time to wait and be ready for sales, instead of buying things last minute, at full price.

Be creative. If you realize you don’t have a specific item for a project, look around your home. Often you will find something to use as a substitute.

It’s also helpful to write down needed perishable items on a calendar as a reminder to add them to your weekly shopping list.

Create a Simple Storage System

Use storage boxes to collect and organize materials and supplies needed for each unit. At the beginning of the year, or unit, we collect all the items we will need. We put them in a clear storage box and label each container.

Schedule Regular Library Visits

Go to the library once a week or to save time, go once at the beginning of the unit to get all the materials you will need. Most libraries allow you to borrow books for several weeks at a time.

We like to go at least every other week, if not weekly, depending on how busy we are. I always spend some time planning for the next unit study a couple weeks in advance, so books that need to be inner-loaned will arrive when needed.

Lately my older children have been helping with getting our materials ready for our school. Through the library’s online database, they are able to search for, place holds and inner-loan books for their lessons as well as for my younger one’s home school unit study.

Relax and Have Fun!

Finally, have fun learning together. A home school unit study provides a wonderful way to school together, strengthen your family's personal relationships, develop character and enjoy education.

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Read what works for other homeschool families and share your tips too!

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