Creating Your Own Unit Study: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Personalized Learning

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

creating unit study
Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity for parents to tailor their child’s education to suit their individual needs and interests. One effective approach to achieve this is through unit studies. A unit study is an in-depth exploration of a particular topic, encompassing various subjects like history, science, literature, and art. By designing your own unit study, you can foster a love for learning, encourage critical thinking, and create a more engaging educational experience for your homeschooled child. In this blog post, we’ll explore the step-by-step process of creating your own unit study.

1. Identify Your Child’s Interests:

The key to a successful unit study is to select a topic that sparks your child’s curiosity and passion.

Take the time to discuss their interests and listen to what excites them. It could be dinosaurs, space exploration, ancient civilizations, or even a favorite book series. For teens, even an AI unit study theme!

By choosing a theme that captivates your child, you lay the foundation for an enthusiastic and motivated learner.

2. Define Learning Objectives:

Once you’ve settled on a topic, outline the learning objectives you want to achieve through the unit study. Consider the core subjects you wish to incorporate and set specific goals for each subject.

For instance, if your chosen theme is “Oceans,” your learning objectives might include understanding marine ecosystems, exploring famous ocean expeditions in history, studying ocean currents in science, and creating ocean-inspired art projects.

3. Gather Resources:

Now it’s time to gather resources to support your unit study. Utilize books, documentaries, websites, educational apps, and even field trips to provide a well-rounded learning experience.

Libraries, online databases, and educational platforms are excellent sources for finding relevant and age-appropriate materials. Don’t forget to involve your child in the research process to encourage their independence and curiosity.

4. Create a Study Plan:

Organize the unit study by creating a study plan. Break the theme into smaller subtopics or units, and allocate time for each one. Determine how much time you’ll dedicate to the unit study each day or week and create a flexible schedule that accommodates your child’s learning pace and interests.

5. Integrate Subjects:

The beauty of a unit study lies in its ability to incorporate multiple subjects seamlessly. Look for opportunities to connect different disciplines within the chosen theme. For example, if the unit study revolves around “Inventors and Inventions,” you can explore the history of inventions, the science behind them, the art of innovation, and even the societal impact.

6. Hands-On Activities:

Enhance the learning experience with hands-on activities that bring the subject to life. Conduct science experiments, embark on nature walks, cook traditional meals from different cultures, or engage in artistic projects related to the theme. These activities not only reinforce learning but also make the unit study more enjoyable and memorable.

7. Encourage Independent Research:

Encourage your child to pursue independent research on specific aspects of the unit study that interest them the most.

Provide guidance and resources, but let them take the lead in exploring their curiosity. This autonomy fosters a sense of ownership over their learning and nurtures critical thinking skills.

Creating Your Own Study

Creating your own unit study for your homeschooled child is a rewarding way to personalize their education while fostering a lifelong love for learning.

By identifying their interests, defining clear learning objectives, gathering resources, integrating subjects, and incorporating hands-on activities, you can create a comprehensive and engaging learning experience. Remember that flexibility is key, allowing your child to explore and delve deeper into areas that intrigue them the most. Embrace the journey of learning together, and watch as your child’s passion for knowledge blooms in the comfort of your homeschool environment. Happy homeschooling!

Check Out These Podcasts from Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice Gerwitz for more Unit Study inspiration …

And for a Done-For-You Unit Study, check out this resource from Media Angels!

Creating A Unit Study

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Creating a Unit Study | Tools, schedules, and tips to make it a success in your homeschool. #homeschool #unitstudy

Creating Unit Study For Optimum Learning

As the co-author of a creation science unit study, I found that creating unit studies is the ultimate key for learning to stick. Unit studies may not be the flavor of the month in the current homeschool climate but for me, it is the epitome of what real homeschooling is all about. Why? Because it keeps the family together, engaged and excited about learning from the youngest to the oldest child.

A unit approach emphasizes the integration of various books related to a topic of study. Instead of grade-level textbooks, unit studies encourage learning on a different level, immersion. It also lends itself to discussion and research with children enthusiastically jumping in, which is the key — curiosity which is natural in children. This means more of the information is remembered and the overall experience of everyone is much more successful. This is ideal for parents with children of different ages. It keeps the family united and speaking from experience, it can be very enjoyable providing life-long memories.

How Long Do Unit Study Take?

The question I am most asked question is how long does a unit-study take? It can take several months broken up into six to eight-weeks of studying one main topic, or even six months to a year depending on your level of instruction. Ultimately, the choice is yours! I highly recommend the Media Angels Creation Study Guides as the main focus of your curriculum this year. It is truly life changing. Your kids will be armed with the information they need to combat evolutionary thought at every turn. You can not watch anything scientific without the spouting of “of course we know millions of years ago…” as if the commentator was an eye witness. Evolution at best is a hypothesis as is the study of creation. Your kids will spot out the lies and learn to think and discern the truth for themselves. The Media Angels study guides are made up of four books that may take you about one school year to complete. We purposely created the Creation studies to serve as a yearlong unit study, or to supplement your current curriculum for an in-depth study of creation with an apologetic focus.

How Do I Get Started with Designing A Unit Study?

It’s easier than you think. Do you have a book on unit studies or a topic you want ot study, let’s say Ancient History? This type of broad topic will naturally bring in other subjects.

  1. Decide on your broad topic of study. Will it be science, history, literature or art and music?
  2. Once you’ve decided on a topic the idea is to bring in as many subjects as you can.
  3. Creating a study surrounding history?
    • Pick a period of time
    • Study the people who lived during that time
    • What scientific advances or discoveries happened?
    • What historic events of significance happened?
    • Tie in fun assignments in art and music to round off your unit study.
    • Use books from the library to read
    • Little children can do copy work, older ones write reports with a research element
    • Children may create mini-books, journals, lapbooks, or timelines on the topics they’ve studied.

Is A Unit Study A Complete Curriculum?

Yes! Add a good language arts curriculum if you want and a math program and you are all set! While you can forgo the reading program in the older grades it is important to have a good phonics foundation in the younger. Checking for comprehensions is easy with a unit study because discussion abounds! As for math, our family uses textbooks. However look for ways to add math to your unit as it lends itself to the study. For example, you can study fractals or the Fibonacci sequence which is so much fun and brings in a wonderful element for those who love puzzles or challenges.

What About Unit Study Prep Time?

Unit studies take a good outline and typically one afternoon or roughly three to four hours or less to plan. Then a few days to gather the supplies you may need. If you have a complicated study it may take a few days longer, especially if you want specific books from the library – don’t forget inter-library loans. Now it is just a computer click away that you can do in your own home! Sign up for a public library card and ask how to access the library system at home on your own personal computer. You can order your books, the librarian gathers them, and alerts you when your titles are ready. One quick trip to the library to pick up your books and you are done! I often planned out my unit studies in the summer which made it easier to leisurely gather the supplies I needed beforehand.

What About Scheduling A Unit Study?

  1. Scheduling is the most time-consuming part of any unit study. Figuring out what day you want to teach each particular subject, or complete the activity.
  2. If you are creating your own study you will need to first create an outline. Be sure to add the main points you would like to study, the days you’d like to complete your activities, and if you are using one day for catch-up.
  3. I decide on the days:
    • You plan to do experiments or activities.
    • Three days per week or two days a week?
    • Days we will plan for reading, researching and gathering the information needed to perform the experiments?
    • What day will you complete the experiments or activities?
    • What other hands-on activities will you complete?
    • Will there be a culmination activity of the study? A family event? A final book or notebook?

Unit studies the core of my homeschool 25 out of the final  32 years of my homeschool journey. The only times I did not do a complete unit study was when my kids were in high school — those considering college. I’ve had three of my five children attend college. One graduated Magnum Cum Laude and the other two are currently in college with full academic scholarships. Unit studies teach your children to think, to figure out the answers and to delve in deeper, something that textbooks and workbooks fall far short of doing! As you can tell I am a major advocate of unit studies and I pray you will try one, I’m sure you’ll love it! Any questions or successes? Please share them with me, here!

About Felice Gerwitz

Felice Gerwitz has five children and graduated two. Along with her huband Jeff, Felice owns Media Angels, Inc. Felice is a mentor to homeschool moms and hosts several podcasts,, The, A Few Minutes With God and You can still access the former Ultimate Homeschool Expo in its entirety for a fraction of the original cost on the website.  To learn more about Felice, visit