How to Create a Unit Study


By Lynn W, eHow member

User-Submitted Article

Unit studies are a popular way to learn in both homeschools and in classrooms. The unit study approach is taking a central theme like “horses” or “Civil War” and links all or most of the subjects (literature, history, ect.) back to that central theme. For example you have a unit on horses. A unit study on horses could include the book Black Beauty for literature, a study of how horses were brought to the New World and how they influenced changes in the New World for history, where different breeds of horses originated from for geography, have words like “hoof”, “stirrup”, and “main” on the spelling list, and make either a lapbook or notebook to go along with it. Unit Studies add interest to learning and many times children learn the subject more in depth as a result. Unit studies can be found on the internet for free or bought from curriculum resources, but many times you just can’t find what you are looking for in a unit study. So, you decide to write your own unit study. Here is a guide to help you get started.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:

  • Books
  • Internet
  • pencil
  • materials for unit study (these will vary for each study)
  • Unit Study Planner
  • Unit Study Map


  1. Figure out what type of unit study you want to do. Unit studies seem to work really well if you base them on history, science or literature subjects, but they don’t have to be. They could also be based on stuff like a certain country or could even have a math theme, such as Pi. Pi- who originated it and read a story about that person, where was it originated at and study about that country, when was it originated, study the time period, ect. Obviously, subjects like Pi are a little harder to make into a unit study than say studying about frogs, but it is doable if you really want to study it.
  2. After you decide upon a theme, it’s time to brainstorm. I highly recommend using a unit study map that is listed in my article How to Use a Unit Study Map, which I have included in the resources below. During this stage, focus on broad details, not the finer points. You do not have to fill in every subject, but try to think of all the things that could go along with your study. Example: Your doing a study on the Civil War, well the history part is obvious, but what do you do about, say science? Think of all the science subjects that could go along with the Civil War. Well, there is ballistics (canon balls, fire arms, ect.), horses (Calvary), epidemics, and probably more that I’m not thinking of. Write them down on the Unit Study Map. Other subjects like art and music, you can study the art and music of the time period or with art, you can focus on those painters that painted Civil Wars scenes. Go through each subject and try to add something that will round out the study, but don’t add nonsense stuff that doesn’t relate just to include that subject. As I said in the beginning, not every theme will include every subject, every time
  3. Now comes the planning stage. First, go through and weed out your ideas. For most studies you will want to limit it to 1 or 2 science/ history themes per unit, a couple books, 10-20 spelling/ vocabulary words and ect. I have also included a unit study planner in the resources below to help you in this stage or you can write down each subject on paper and leave spaces to write the resources. Go through your resources you own and see if you have resources that would go along with your theme. Add the resources that you want to use in the appropriate places. Next, go to the library and borrow books for the various subjects that you came up with during your brainstorming stage. Add these resources to the appropriate subjects. Look on the Internet for worksheets, crafts, projects and recipes that would go along with your unit study. You can also find these in teacher resource books. Add the title (and where to find it) of the worksheets, crafts, projects and recipes to where they need to be on the unit study planner. Also, add any materials that you will need. You can download my Unit Study Planner and get more details about this stage in my How to Use a Unit Study Planner article.
  4. Now that you have the plan together, just gather your books and materials into a place that you easily find them and begin the unit study. Be prepared to get side tracked at times as you and your student(s) discover new and exciting aspects of your chosen study.
  5. Don’t forget to look in the resources for directions, the Unit Study Map, the Unit Study Planner and other resources on unit studies. You may also want to look on the sides of the article for related articles.

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About Rika

Bunda 3 anak yang mudah-mudahan selalu bersemangat belajar. Sedang hobi memasak, terutama memasak kue. Suka membaca dan menulis. Saat ini, sedang berusaha bergulat menyeimbangkan antara pekerjaan rumah sehari-hari tanpa asisten rumah tangga dan meng-home education-kan ketiga anaknya, Abdan Syakuro, Aisha Ain Al Saba dan Aqilla Ibtihal Imani.

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