Unit Studies: Multi-Age, Multi-Subject Approach to Learning

I love unit studies. We used them for several years until one of my children’s learning disabilities made it impossible to continue with our program. If you aren’t familiar with unit studies they are a multi-age, multi-subject approach to learning. Today’s unit studies have changed from the original concept, but for the purposes of this article we are going to talk about the programs that allow you to teach all your children using one curriculum and and covering most subjects.

Typically a comprehensive unit study covers; bible, history, science, language, art, and music. You will usually need to supplement for math and grammar, but unit studies do a good job of covering the other subjects.

The benefit of unit studies is that you only buy one curriculum for your whole family. The curriculum is usually supplemented with books that can be checked out from the library. While each curriculum is different most of them take a more hands-on approach to learning either with projects, timelines, drama, art, or field trips.

It is easy to look at the price of a unit study curriculum and get sticker shock, but if you are using it for several children you will probably save money in the long run.

Two of the oldest unit study currriculums are Konos and Weaver. We actually used the Weaver curriculum and my kids still remember many of our projects. Other popular choices are My Father’s World, Tapestry of Grace, Five in a Row, and Trisms. There are many more great unit studies available, just google “Unit Study” and you will be overwhelmed!

The downside of unit studies is that may involve more teacher preparation than something like Bob Jones or Abeka, but if your children are hands-on learners and you want to save some money consider going the unit study route. You’ll probably learn something too!

Are you a unit study mom? I’d love to hear what you are using.

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  1. Hi,
    I’m a unit-study mom. This year we are using Learning Adventures and loving it! My oldest 2 get the “bulk” of the study but my younger ones can listen in to the stories and watch the movies that I add to it and it’s a great way to introduce them to things. I absolutely love learning adventures.

  2. We use A LOT of Unit Studies, and the more I homeschool, the more I just make up my own. Currently we are doing a Unit Study about Trumpeter Swans, using The Trumpet of the Swan. We use Five in a Row faithfully (http://www.homegrownlearners.com/p/fiar.html) and I have the first KONOS manual and would like to do things from there as well. I think it’s great to let my kids take the lead with a subject and then I help design a unit study, too. Thanks for a great post! I always love reading your thoughts.

  3. Love unit studies! Started out putting together my own- in 1988 there weren’t a lot of choices. I have used Konos and ATI through the years and am now using Sonlight with my one remaining student.
    I love the way unit studies enable the entire family to learn together. Meal times and car time turn into discussion times, just because everyone is studying the same interesting things. Field trips are a breeze, as well!

  4. I’m a unit study mama too. We are currently using Prairie Primer and when we finish that up we will move back to Konos or Christian Cottage or a combination of both (or maybe something else!). I have boys and wondered if they would like the Little house books but they love them! There is lots of adventure in them.. wild animals, guns, fishing, farming.. its wonderful and when we stopped using the Primer for a month they asked when we were going to start using it again. I also use Mystery of History which, to me seems to be a unit study type of approach for history.. lots of hands on for my boys.

  5. This year we started using Tapestry of Grace and love it! My daughter is challenged and we are both learning so much. Love your blog!

  6. I’m a unit study mom. We are using Konos and a combination of self-made units. Next year, I’m thinking about using Further Up and Further In (Narnia unit study). It looks really awesome.

  7. We homeschool classically and we love Tapestry of Grace!

  8. Cinda Alspaugh says:

    We are going to start home schooling and from everything that I have read I am sold on using unit studies. As a newbie I’m not ready to create my own units. We have two boys, ages seven and ten and really want to teach them together. I have purchased Further Up Further In, but I am also looking at Konos. If anyone who has used either of these, I’d love some input!

  9. We used Konos for about 8 years, and those years were the ones that we have the best homeschooling memories. We had an activity day on Fridays that gave us more time to do activities together. We really looked forward to Fridays; the children were glad to have a day off of the usual assignments and most of what we did on Fridays was great fun for the kids.

    All those building projects paid off. Lane and Nathan, our two oldest sons, went on to get engineering degrees at Mississippi State.


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