Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Unit Studies

By Jessica Hulcy
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #6, 1994.

Pin It

Jessica Hulcy


As a young girl, my father took our family on month long trips across the United States. Since we traveled with 400 National Geographics in the back seat of our station wagon, these trips were both fun and educational.

Somehow, on these treks across America, my father showed me the "connectedness" of the world. Monticello wasn't just about the man Thomas Jefferson. Monticello embodied architecture in the buildings, botany in the gardens, history in Jefferson's political achievements, and a world view of how men should be treated in the written words of the Declaration of Independence.

I wanted to impart this same "connectedness" of the world to my children when I began homeschooling, so I chose unit studies as the "connector" of subjects. Under unit themes, subjects fit together, giving them meaning. If "trust" is the theme, our focus is on sheep trusting their shepherd for their every need. Children memorize the 23rd Psalm (Bible), examine similes, metaphors and analogies in the 23rd Psalm (English), study the habits and traits of sheep (science), research the actual responsibilities and duties of a shepherd (history), read the Newbery Award winner . . . and now Miguel which is the story of a shepherd boy's life (literature), and lastly, card, spin and weave sheep's wool (art). Units provide a multitude of topics connected by a theme.

The unit study method of home education has fringe benefits that go beyond teaching the "connectedness" of things. My children retain information and facts, because factual data hangs together in nice tidy packages. But the greatest bonus from doing units is the sense of learning, reading and doing together as a family. There is a sense of family connectedness in addition to the factual connectedness.

Academics are important, but relationships are even more important. Units help build those treasured relationships between family members that last a lifetime. This is what my father gave me, and this is what I now give my children.


Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

Time4Learning

Articles by Jessica Hulcy

How to Avoid Mindless Unit Studies

Make Drama Part of Your Unit Studies

Do Your Units End with a Bang or a Whimper

Costumes Add Color to Your Unit Studies

Safety First

Columnists Face Off - Unit Studies

Politics the Homeschool Way

What Are Unit Studies All About?

Multi-Culturalism Replaces History

High School Unit Studies Prepare Students for Adulthood Interaction

Picking Curriculum Carefully

How to Give Your Child a Theistic Worldview

To College or Not to College

Brotherhood Begins in the Heart

Education vs. Regurgitation

The Importance of Mentoring

One Word of Advice: Balance!

Teaching the Basics with Unit Studies

Study Units or Unit Studies?

Thanks for the Memories

99¢ Feather Duster or $90 Warbonnet?

Co-oping: The Very Best of Both Worlds

The Key to Exceptional Co-Op Days

Meeting True Heroes Face to Face

From Living Room to Front Lawn: Performances

Co-oping Younger and Older Students Together

Co-op Field Trips: True Three-Dimensional Learning

The Ultimate Field Trip... Europe

The Making of a Master Teacher

Laughter and Movement: Fertilizer for the Brain

Popular Articles

Shakespeare Camp

A Reason for Reading

I Was an Accelerated Child

Who Needs the Prom?

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Teaching Blends

How to Win the Geography Bee

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Teach Your Children to Work

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

The Charlotte Mason Method

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Narration Beats Tests

Getting Organized Part 3

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

Phonics the Montessori Way

The Benefits of Debate

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

The History of Public Education

Character Matters for Kids

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Critical Thinking and Logic

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

The Gift of a Mentor

Myth of the Teenager

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

Whole-Language Boondoggle

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

Combining Work and Homeschool

Start a Nature Notebook

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

AP Courses At Home

University Model Schools

Bears in the House

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Laptop Homeschool

Classical Education

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Montessori Math