Teaching Science | Unit Study or Single Subject?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

teaching science unit study or single subject | Whether you're teaching science as a single subject or unit study, the key would be to get out and do experiments and activities that tie in with the topic, no matter what the approach. Have fun!

Teaching Science | Unit Study or Single Subject?

“I like the ideas of using a scope and sequence, but how should I teach science as a single subject or as a unit study?” 

There are many ways to teach science, and you need to decide which is best for our family. Let’s look at some examples, starting with science as a single subject.

Teaching Science as a Single Subject

I could look at a scope and sequence and find that a single subject, say Astronomy, is one of the topics to be covered this year. Under this subject, I could choose a subtopic, such as astronomers, stars and constellations, galaxies, etc.

If I were to emphasize the single subject approach, the children would take turns reading the books containing the topic we were studying, discuss the book, and supplement with activities tied to the topic. Other subjects, such as history, would be done separately.

Teaching Science as a Unit Study

Emphasizing the unit study approach, we would read as many library books and do as many experiments dealing with the topic as we could find. We would tie as many subjects together as possible. We’d plan to spend four to eight weeks on the unit. It’s ideal to cover as many subjects as possible, and science easily fits with history.

You can study the history of the subject, people, places, and even science tools as part of your science unit study. This lets children see the bigger picture, rather than learning things in isolation from one another. I’ve found they really enjoy making the connections themselves and having those aha moments.

Teaching Science to Multiple Ages or Grade Levels

If you are teaching a variety of ages, having more subjects overlapping makes your job much easier. A Unit Study truly unites the family!

A unit study is taking a topic and incorporating as many of the following school subjects as possible:  science, history, math, reading, language arts, spelling, grammar, creative writing, art, and music. New skills can be taught as old skills are reinforced. While our family chose to do phonics and math as separate subjects, you can easily incorporate those as well.

Multiple Level Teaching Example

Let me give you an example. We studied a geology unit. It took eight weeks to complete. You can decide how you want to lay our your day- who you work with when, what grade-level to “teach to”, and which activities you’ll directly supervise.  Teaching to the oldest is a popular way of teaching a variety of ages.

Let’s pretend you’re teaching four grade levels. Ages 2, 5, 9, 13, and 16 years of age. Watch how many subjects can go together.

  • Bible – read the Bible selection aloud. Discuss difficult words.
  • Reading – assign separate reading for the readers, have a read aloud, and read books to the youngers—all on the same subject.
  • Spelling – create an age appropriate word list from the reading selections
  • Grammar- ages 5 and under could use simple copywork, nine year old can identify parts of speech, and the older can diagram sentences from the reading selection
  • Science- a group experiment plus the 5-9 year old could work on a hands-on project together, giving the toddler a “helper” role. The older can do topic specific research with parent approved research tools, such as the internet.
  • Creation camp- hold a creation camp at home. Get everyone involved!

Whether you’re teaching science as a single subject or unit study, the key would be to get out and do experiments and activities that tie in with the topic, no matter what the approach. Have fun!



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Activity Packs for each of the study guides which contain hands on activities you can photo copy for your family.

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Choosing Family Movies in an X-Rated World

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Choosing Family Movies in an X-Rated World

Meredith Curtis answers the question “In our world of sex, graphic violence, and trashy talk, can we find movies the whole family can enjoy together?” in Choosing Family Movies in an X-rated World. Many homeschooling families have a wide range of ages and interests. We each have our favorite genre. In spite of this, there are many wonderful movies out there you can enjoy together. Our sponsor today is Sony Pictures, featuring their new movie Smurfs, The Lost Village. You can can download a free Christian study guide for this film at affirmfilms.com/resources/ .

Thanks to our Network Sponsor

Sony Pictures: AffirmsFilms.com and the latest movie with great values and message – Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Finish Well Radio Sponsored by Sony Pictures' Smurfs: The Lost Village

Roadschooling Multiple Ages Simultaneously

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Think of homeschooling multiple ages as a branch in the household tree that grows a life with multiple kiddos! Unless you are a family with an only child or or a single set of multiples, there are already multiple aged activities going on in the house. From eating breakfast or navigating extracurriculars to sleep time routines, there are different seasons of your daily routines (the combination of babies, toddlers, tweens, or teens). This episode helps formulate a plan to keep your roadschool running smoothly and includes more than 10 ways to keep all ages of your kiddos on the road to a successful learning adventure.

The Road Trip Teacher talks about the things in her Ready! Set! Go! bag that is she always has on hand for learning at home or on the go. More details about this bag of tricks can be found over at Road Trip Teacher.

Join the Roadschool Moms in this episode as MB and KT share their time-tested tips for teaching across the ages in your RV (tips will also work for non-wheeled homes 😉


Rebroadcast – Multiple Ages – HIRL Episode 132

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Free homeschool podcast from Homeschooling In Real Life.Happy New Year! We are still enjoying our Christmas/New Year/Season Break hiatus and sharing our Top-5 Most Downloaded Shows from 2016.

This week we are sharing the 2nd most downloaded show from 2016. On Episode 108, we talked through the issue of how to homeschool multiple ages.


Recommended Resources:
Episode 108: Homeschooling Multiple Ages

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Are you ready to listen to Fletch and Kendra get real about homeschooling? Press the PLAY button below.

Join Fletch (from theMangoTimes) and Kendra (from Preschoolers and Peace and KendraFletcher.com) for the HomeschoolingIRL podcast every week as they interview guests and talk through some of the goofiness they have experienced in nearly two decades.

MBFLP – Homeschooling Several Ages

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

MBFLP - Summer Cover
If you have more than one child, then chances are the decision to start homeschooling carries the question, “How can I teach more than one grade level at a time?” This episode, we talk about practical lessons we learned along the way of homeschooling six grades at once … with a toddler in the mix, too!