Considering Unit Studies?
One of the most remarkable quotes that I have heard many times from my mom has to be “You’ll never know until you try.” She was right. When we began our homeschooling journey with textbooks, I kept her saying in mind when we were disgusted with the boredom and lack of retention. I could see firsthand that the children looked at learning as a negative experience, instead of a challenge and an adventure. They had no thirst for knowledge, they just wanted to be done.
Realizing that their disenchantment with textbook learning would impact their motivation to learn in the future, I had to find a good alternative to textbooks that was thorough and yet simple to use, something that would help them become self-motivated learners. I did some research to explore alternative education options, and discovered the concept of unit studies. After researching the model thoroughly, I knew that it was time to go ahead and try it. After eighteen years of homeschooling and three college graduates later, I can say that learning via unit studies teaches students to think and understand things completely, instead of learning bits and pieces over twelve years of textbooks.
For those of you that are wondering about using unit studies, consider this. Was your textbook education so exciting and memorable that you want your child to repeat the same mind-numbing waste of time?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember much of my textbook education. The things that I remember most are the science experiments that didn’t work ;) , field trips, library time, and the “extra” things that we got to do occasionally. When I chose to use unit studies, I realized that I would be able to personalize our children’s education to their particular interests and gifts.
I wanted them to remember what they learned and build a solid tree of knowledge, instead of having a million disconnected bits and bytes rattling around in their minds. As I began to write unit studies, the children learned about topics as they occurred naturally, not taken apart into seven or eight “standard textbook” subjects. For example, they learned about sharks when we explored the topic of oceans, dissected a shark, collected seashells, fished, watched the tides change, reading every DK Eyewitness book that I could find on oceans & ocean explorers. We read classics like The Swiss Family Robinson together. They have remembered much more than I would have thought possible.
Take the leap and try just one USAB unit study. Try it now, as summer is still going strong and there’s no pressure to “do school”. Simply let them romp through a study, watch the videos, explore, and wonder. You’ll never know until you try one. Head over to the Weekly Specials page to find one that sounds like a good time. NOT like “school”. Go ahead – you’ll never know until you try.