DIY Curriculum and Homeschool Unit Study Failure

by Catherine
(Nashville, TN, USA)

Create-your-own Curriculum Chaos

Create-your-own Curriculum Chaos

Been there, done this? Sometimes we try to save a buck, only to waste hours of precious time. Learn how this mom went from curriculum-creating chaos to hassle-free homeschooling...

I gathered the materials from here, there and everywhere. I read what the state required and thought, "I can do this easy." WRONG! I was miserable trying to make sure we covered enough in each subject. I lost money, time and gained a ton of grey hair.

I would not recommend this method, as it obviously is hit or miss. My best cost cutting tip? Buy an already put together curriculum! Saves time, saves those messy "what do I do now" moments, and makes life smoother and easier for all. I am shopping now for a set curriculum for our next year of homeschooling. I will never wing it on my own again!

Yikes! I think most of us have experienced those stressful homeschooling situations. Sometimes we try to do it ourselves to save a buck, only to waste hours of precious time! Finding affordable, all-encompassing curriculum is a life-saver for those of us who have been there, never do that again! Thanks for sharing. :)

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Homeschool Unit Studies Defined

by Lisa Doyle
(Minooka Il )

Learn more about homeschool unit studies from this creative, homeschooling mom!

We use a lot of different books, dvds, etc. in our home school; we like to use unit studies. Basically, a unit study is a study of a main topic like rocks, flowers, a time period in history, or any other topic your children are interested in.

We just completed a unit study on horses. We learned how to draw horses (art) and studied the history of horses (history). We drew a diagram of a horse's anatomy (science) and learned about each part. We read many different books on horses as well as some fun horse stories/novels (literature). We found out where different types of horses live (geography) as well as learned how to spell the parts of a horse (vocabulary/spelling). At the end of our study, our children presented a report on all that they learned (writing/public speaking).

Thanks for giving such a clear picture of what homeschool unit studies are! Blessings, Heather :)

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Feb 25, 2012
unit studies
by: Leah

Thanks for the visual and description of how unit studies are meant to be used in homeschool. I am trying to find my way as a new homeschooler and was trying to use the curriculum from the school that I pulled my son out of so I wouldn't have to buy a new one after school had already started, but it just seems not to be working well so I have started pulling a little of these types of lessons together unofficially with the books from the library and some packs that I have found in my research online. This seems to be working much better than the traditional bookwork although I still use some of that material periodically.

Feb 29, 2012
Re: Unit Studies
by: Heather

Hi Leah,
I am so glad you found Lisa's comments helpful! It sounds like you have discovered what works with you and your son. I find unit studies make homeschooling fun and allow you to enjoy some great benefits of home education = customizing your child's education and increased flexibility. I have found that what works in a large classroom, doesn't always work at home or one-on-one.
Thanks for sharing and wishing you many blessings as your homeschool your son!

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Affordable Eclectic Homeschooling Curriculum

by Wendy M. Nicholson
(Brooklyn, NY)

Fun-filled Eclectic Homeschooling

Fun-filled Eclectic Homeschooling

Eclectic homeschooling information and advice from a very wise, frugal and clever homeschooling mama!

I am constantly paying attention to anything that maybe used as a learning tool or source of information. I am not bound by only the things that are identified as educational. Life is educational. Games are educational and the more fun things are perceived to be, the easier learning becomes.

We have been homeschooling for a year and almost all of our curriculum info has come from a myriad of sources. We are a one person income family and being able to homeschool and maintain a budget is a MUST! Hence, we gather lots of information from the internet, the library, and other media sources.

It takes a bit of work but is well worth it. We decide on a theme for the year and all subjects will incorporate that theme. Then, it becomes an adventure to gather information to fit into the theme. We frequent museums, talk to people who may be from a certain country or area that we are studying, plays, etc. This way, we are not bound by one focus or perception from a standard curriculum. There is a plethora of information just waiting to be found and utilized. Our child is much freer because he is not stifled by limitations. He can learn as much as he wants about any subject or he can learn as many subjects as he wants.

Sometimes, as parents we feel that we are not qualified to put together a curriculum on our own. In fact, we are. With a bit of confidence and a sense of adventure we can teach our kids many things, and perhaps learn some ourselves!

What encouragement you provide! You are absolutely correct; thanks for adding such helpful information to my website. Wishing you a fun-filled eclectic homeschooling year!
Blessings, Heather
P.S. My husband used to live in Brooklyn. :)

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Aug 13, 2010
It doesn't take a lot of money to do it right!
by: Laurie

Bravo, Wendy! When I started homeschooling I barely had enough change for bus fare, but we found tons of stuff we could do for free. I fully agree that the library, the internet, and what you can walk to or find open for free, can provide a family with endless educational material. After many years of doing this in NYC I created a list called "What's free or cheap in NYC" with hundreds of world-class educational activities for all ages (

I also applaud your thematic approach, taking advantage of the child's interests and making the learning experience full of meaningful connections. Way to go!


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DIY Animal Homeschool Unit Study

by Judith Hafner
(Spotsylvania, VA USA)

Creative homeschooling mom shares a hands-on, DIY animal homeschool unit study idea...

We did sort of a scavenger hunt for the week. We located all the animals in the neighborhood and surrounding areas to do several different math and science activities. After we gathered all the data, we made charts, graphs, and counting activities. I had the kids suggest many different ways to compile all the data they gathered. The beginning data was kinds of animals, color feet, how they moved, what they ate, male, female, young, old where they lived. Also asked several questions for each animal, how long they were, how tall, color of eyes, indoor or outdoor, and what they ate. I made sure we visited the local animal store to make sure we had a wide variety. We did luck out - the circus was in town too!

We cut out pictures of the animals and made puzzles and matching games about the life cycles for each, as well as their habitats. We also had several books on each animal and the kids got to make up questions about their favorite animal to challenge the others to see how much they knew about the animals. We also made cookies in the shape of each animal and talked about body parts. We developed another batch of cookies to discuss about size and family units. At bath time, we also sculpted shaving foam animals in the tub and sorted them in several different categories. Outside in the sandbox, we made dioramas with animals in different habitats using many items from the yard and garage.

Wow, Judith, what a great DIY animal homeschool study! I love the many ideas and activities you shared; not only are you learning, but you are creating wonderful memories. Memories your family will cherish for the rest of their lives! Thanks for taking the time to help other parent learn how to easily create their own unit study based on their children's interests. Simple and affordable! Blessings, Heather :)

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