6 Types of Unit Studies

Many homeschoolers enjoy the benefits of using dynamic unit studies to maintain a high interest level in their course of study.   Here are the common types of unit studies you may wish to consider.

Integrated Unit Studies

Integrated unit studies organize the content of multiple subjects (such as English, Science, Social Studies) around one theme.  For instance, if the unit was "Russia", the study might include stories from Russia (Reading), Animals in Siberia (science), Geography of Russia, history of the Cold War (Social Studies).  Multiple academic subjects can be pursued with this type of study: art, music, dance, theology, philosophy, poetry, etc.   It takes multiple resources and either a lot of planning or the purchase of a curriculum that includes the different resources.

Literature Based Unit Studies

This type of homeschool unit study is great for children and families who love books.  Often the unit is developed around a historical period or around a theme.  Quality books and classical literature are read throughout the unit.  Families using this type of unit study often construct time lines to display the big picture.

Hands-On Unit Studies

Hands on unit studies provide students with plenty of hands on projects.  This is great the kinesthetic learners or young learners particularly.  They can build models, write poems, create posters, and develop games and puzzles to reflect what they have learned.  The completion of their unit study often includes a scrap book or unit study book which reflects their projects.

Learning Tree Unit Studies

This unit study uses a tree as its model.  The student diagrams a tree with its roots as the resources used to study the topic (the trunk of the tree).  The branches are the main objectives to be accomplished.  The leaves are the books read; and the fruit are projects completed.  Before the unit starts, parents set a minimum number of resources and projects that the student must complete.  They are rewarded for doing more work than the minimum.

Interest Focused Unit Studies

This is a method of motivating a particular student in their study of difficult subjects by allowing them to focus on a favorite topic.  For example, you have a student who struggles with reading and writing but is fascinated by dinosaurs.  What kind of books do you want to get from the library?  As you introduce any topic: geography, writing, science - tie it to dinosaurs.  Students will be more interested in completing the writing assignments, learning geography, or studying the digestive system if it is tied to their interest.  A topic of interest is often studied anywhere between 3 and 9 months.

Advanced Unit Studies

The advanced unit study takes the interest focused unit study to a deeper level.  If a student has a long term interest in a particular topic, they can combine that topic with another topic to produce an in-depth study.  For instance, a student who continued a fascination of ballet for years, might do a study on dance during the Renaissance, including costumes and music for different periods and nations.  This type of unit study takes a lot of time and energy to pursue, but is a great way to culminate a long-term interest.


Karen Newell is the author of Write On: The Kid Friendly, Mother Pleasing, Gentle Way to Learn to Write.  Read more about the Learning Tree Unit Studies at Kid-Friendly-Homeschool-Curriculum.com.

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