How Unit Studies are Helping Me

This year I am using Weaver unit studies in my planning. I’m mostly using them for ideas and direction and not for the actually specific lessons. I usually like to make my own plans depending on where we as a family are at a given time, but this year, I felt like some loose direction would give me a mental break in that area. I struggled over the decision partly because I am cheap and I don’t like the idea of buying curriculum that I probably won’t use anyway, but I am ever so glad that I did. I don’t use it fully enough to justify the full cost of a new set, but definitely enough for the old used set I picked up for $60

We use natural learning here, mostly of the Charlotte Mason method. So how does a unit study fit? Loosely for sure. Charlotte Mason methods use a chronological world history basis for much of their studies, and this unit study uses a Biblical chronology and compares each Bible theme to other studies. When we studied David, a man of war, we studied the Civil War. When we studied Solomon’s wisdom, we learned about various topics in biology. When we cover the grand and glorious temple that Solomon built, we will learn about architecture, stewardship, trade, and budgeting.

While I love love love reading books with my kids, some of them don’t learn best by reading or listening, and I needed some new ideas. Unit studies have the capability of fitting a variety of learning styles, which is another reason I wanted to use this one this year. While many of the lessons are paper and pencil style, there are plenty of ideas for hands on learning as well. This current unit offers ideas like playing the game of Life, working out an actual family budget, writing checks, researching, drawing and building different styles of architecture. Of course these are my starting ideas. From them, I can add videos, living books, poetry, art, narrations, writing opportunities, etc. I’m not sure yet where the unit will take us. I only have a list of topics to cover, some starting ideas (take what you need, leave the rest), and the interests of my kids to guide where we will go. Delight directed, Charlotte Mason inspired, unit studies all in one   : )

I’m not married to my curriculum. I use what I need. We take weeks off of it to pursue our own delights, and when we need to get back to a structured track, we go back to the next unit in the book. Amazingly, it always seems to fit right when we need it. I just started planning our current unit that we will start near the end of this week.  I was undecided on which of the many topics to jump into first, and today my husband’s job hours took a cut. That’s going to make a notable change in our income, but we are prepared for it. As a bonus, since it will affect us all, I can use this as an opportunity to teach my kids stewardship and budgeting in a real life situation. That’s real learning. That’s God’s perfect timing for this given unit. That’s another confirmation that I am doing what I need to be doing school wise this year.

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