Unit Studies with Multiple Ages

Welcome back to Lasagna Learning: Teaching Multiple Ages. Don’t miss the link to a review of Harmony Fine Arts Plans below!
Unit studies are great for an age range because everyone is immersed in the same subject. Unit studies are often how we fit it all in! After the 3 Rs, we can mostly finish up the remainder of our subjects all together – all ages.

What is a unit study?

Both Amanda Bennett and Tapestry of Grace offer explanations of what a unit study is. A unit study, in my words, is a thorough investigation of one topic – using living books, hands on projects, notebooking and more. For us, it is a lasagna approach – layering the learning. A unit study often is a suggestion or jumping off place for more research. You can just do a search at your library on one subject you want to study and you will find books for every age. Readers and story books for young ones, chapter books for older ones, living books for the whole family. Following are several of the unit studies we’ve enjoyed as a family.

History and Literature

One way we accomplish the other subjects – everyone together – is with Tapestry of Grace. Let me share an example of how unit studies can work in layers and levels like lasagna. In our Tapestry of Grace studies we were learning about Renaissance Italy. So, over the course of a week we worked on a salt dough map of Italy. The afternoon we mixed up the dough, some stirred, some created. The youngest ones got out the rolling pin and just had fun.

With the leftovers, Middle Girl remembered that da Vinci sculpted. So she created mini pieces of art work and painted them. She then completed another Tapestry of Grace assignment – a self portrait. (Full review of Tapestry of Grace).

Five in a Row (FIAR) – this unit study is the resource we started homeschooling with! So, on another morning that week I remembered a Five in a Row book, Papa Piccolo is set in Venice, Italy. Yet another geographical spot we were studying. So we pulled it out and read it.

Math

I introduced you to Loving Living Math in last week’s 3 Rs with Multiple Ages. This ebook also opened my eyes to the fact that we were already enjoying many living math opportunities in board games, Snap Circuits, Saturday morning trips to the store and simply setting the table! Our favorite game, Blokus? Check! For my family, living math cued up the fun. (Full Loving Living Math review).

Science

Answers in Genesis: God’s Design for Science series – we’ve studied plants, animals, the human body, weather and water, the universe, our planet Earth and heat and energy – all together and around the table right after lunch 2-3 times a week. Gone are the days of buying separate science curriculum for various levels. Focusing on different topics in multiple grades. For me, as homeschool parent, I no longer have to set aside time to “do science” with each child. Everyone is learning together. (Full review of AiG Science)

Topical Unit Studies

Last time the Olympics rolled around, we took a month to learn all about the games! Everyone together – older children down to the younger ones. We completed our 3 Rs and then moved to the Olympics. Not only did we find out what it takes to be an athlete, we studied the events, the history of the Olympics and the city they were hosted in. We created flags from different countries, learned about famous American athletes.

For copywork, the children wrote famous quotes from Christian athletes. We added all kinds of vocabulary to our memory banks. We even held a closing ceremony for our studies while we watched the closing ceremonies on TV.

Nature Study

Nature study? It’s for all ages. No requirements. No prerequisites. Really, all we have to do is step outside. We don’t have to stop and analyze what is best for each age.

But, what is nice is that there are resources available for all ages – to enjoy all together, at the same time, same study. We’ve found this with Barb-Harmony Art Mom’s Handbook of Nature Study ebooks. Not only are there coloring pages for the youngest ones but advanced study for the older ones. Handy prompts. I share regularly the nature studies we enjoy with the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Nature Study is one of the pure joys of lasagna learning in our homeschool.

Artists and Composers

Our Harmony Fine Arts studies? Composers and artists from the Renaissance! Younger ones colored coloring pages of famous pieces of art, older ones completed notebook pages on composers and artists. Everyone listening to a composer together.

Are you like me? Do you long to enrich your homeschool with studies of composers and artists? Do you wish that someone would just do it all for you? You know, invest the time in research, find the online links, point you to the resources you need? All I really wanted to be able to do was open something up and teach. Have it all right there and not have to pull it all together myself. It’s done. Yes, really. It’s all done for you. Barb-Harmony Art Mom has created just what you need.

CC —-> You have the opportunity to enter to win a copy of Harmony Fine Arts Plans. The giveaway is part of my review of the Harmony Fine Arts plans we love so much! Just click over and visit me at The Curriculum Choice.

Meeting the needs of the styles of learning! Unit studies include read-alouds, hands on activities, independent reading, writing and more.

Topics in this series:

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These are examples from our lasagna learning. Do you have unit studies you’ve enjoyed that fit the needs of the age range? Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for a free art lesson for the whole family!

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children – preschoolers to high schoolers. The biggest lesson she’s learned? At the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short.

Comments

  1. I love this! We have enjoyed unit studies and FIAR for years.
    blessings,
    Dawn

  2. I love you.

    hahahaha! BUt seriously, between you and the dictation/copywork gal, I about can’t stand myself these two weeks! I feel like I h*have* to have read everything on this blog, and the new-inspiring-brilliant-simple ideas just keep popping up! I will say that I am more of a CM’er than a unit study girl, but there is still such a feast within this post (and all the others!) on how the children and I can share in our learning in science, Nature Study, and more.

    I am particularly interested in AiG. I have read the big-daddy review and it seems great, but my husband lovingly reminds me that I have admitted to being a curriculum junkie. I think I am the only CM’er who is so.incredibly.bored with Apologia. I poo-poo’ed AiG’s science after skimming over my friend’s books, labeling it “too textbooky” . But after working with AiG Answers for my adult SS class, I feel pulled towards this curriculm. I am currently seeking MORE Information about it and really just praying about what I should do, because that cost is nothing to sneeze at!

    Thank you for sharing so much!

    • Sally – we love AiG and I feel like it has a great deal of CM flair because of the gentle, hands on type studies that it suggests along with each lesson. As far as cost – you can buy individual units. That is what we did because the price of the whole set is scary. We started with the one unit of God’s Design for Life: Plants and fell in love. You can purchase it for $32.99 http://www.answersingenesis.org/PublicStore/product/The-World-of-Plants-Teacher-and-Student-Pack,6566,193.aspx Plus we can justify the cost since we have and will use it for many children :)

      Then – eldest son asked for more in the science curriculum series. So he actually received the Heaven and Earth series for Christmas one year and the Physical World set for Christmas another year!!

      Did you see that I linked to my review at Curriculum Choice? And I share about using AiG as one of our ‘One More Thing After Lunch’ how to fit it all in topics. Like you, we love AiG and use many, many of their resources. My husband has taught Bible studies and he and my son went to the Creation Museum last year for my son’s 12yo trip.
      Love you back! Thanks for your sweet comment!

      • I did read your review, the most thorough review of the program I have read. I may or may not have scoured the Internets for all possible reviews since it’s publication…cough,cough,cough.
        I love that your son got it for Christmas! We bought The Geology Book for my 11-year for Christmas (I don’t think it’s an AiG title, but we got it through them.) because of her keen interest in the topic and the vast non-Christian books in our library system.

        Again, thank you for your time and talents, that you give so freely to us all!

    • P.S. Our older two are also loving Exploring Creation with Biology (and the accompanying iPad app) They still join in our AiG studies as well though. I agree with AiG’s claim to be for grades 1-8. It works so well for us. Yep, I love to talk science and unit studies!

  3. So many great resources for Unit Study here, Tricia. Thank you. :-)

    WE LOVE learning with Unit Studies – sometimes they are quite spontaneous, too.

    Great post!

  4. I’m enjoying this series. Currently, I’m planning our history for next year and so this post was timely as we hope to do unit studies with children where there is a 6 year gap. At least, it will mean not having to research two time periods. The Olympic idea is rather fascinating too.

  5. I LOVE unit studies. My son is not joining in formally with school yet, but I can see the benefit of them learning together when he does join us. We do the 3 r’s and then use unit studies to work in art, science, and other subjects. Works great!

  6. Thanks for all the info on unit studies. I have been using a mixed of unit studies with a little of the traditional system, but really thinking using only unit studies for next year. This post has given me many ideas.

    Thanks again.
    Giselle recently posted..What Is The Difference Between Homeschooling And Unschooling?My Profile

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