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How to plan a unit study?? I get this question a lot. I won’t beat around the bush. The planning part of a unit study does take some effort on the mama. But with the right materials, it’s not bad at all.

We love doing unit studies in our homeschool. The wide range of kids we have is the perfect audience for unit studies and we do several per year because they work so well for us.  But it’s so worth it in the end. The amount of planning depends on the depth and length of your study and that can vary greatly.

If planning unit studies has been stressing you out, don’t let it. I’m going to show you how we plan–both the deep and detailed studies and the not-so-deep, but still really awesome ones too.

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Grab a notebook, do the planning up front, and when it’s time to start the study you just need to follow the plan and adjust as needed. That’s it!

Let’s go.

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How to plan a unit study is a common questions for homeschool mamas. There is a lot of planning that goes into unit studies, but it's not too bad with the right tools. This post is all about how to plan a unit study the simple way.


How to Plan a Unit Study: Gathering the Goods

We recently completed a unit study on Colonial Life using Homeschool in the Woods’ resource as our guide. The video below shows how I


get ready for a unit study using Homeschool in the Woods. You can read my full review on how these unit studies work as well.


Besides setting up the Homeschool in the Woods planner like I’m doing in the video, I love to pull out ALL the books, movies, games, project kits–anything that goes along with the theme of the study we’re doing. It really helps to have it all out so I don’t forget use anything.



What’s the ‘Spine’ of a Unit Study?

One of the most common questions I get when I talk about unit studies is, “what do you mean by the spine of your unit study?”

For me, the spine of the unit study is basically the main resource that I use to follow and plan our study around it. I’ve used the table of contents from a textbook, an autobiography, an atlas…whatever will provide a good guide for me through the study.

Homeschool in the Woods’ studies provide an awesome spine for your unit studies because all the work is basically done for you. You just have to pick and choose which parts of the study you want to complete.

You might not be into hands-on projects or making lapbooks. Just skip those parts. But Homeschool in the Woods provides the text for the topic through all the lessons, book recommendations to add, recipes, projects, writing projects, notebooking and more. The planning is done! 

Planning a Unit Study for all the Senses

When I plan our unit studies, I try and make sure we have activities to cover all our senses; sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.

Here’s some things that help cover all those senses:

  • movies
  • cooking projects
  • hands-on projects
  • building repicas
  • picture books
  • read alouds
  • individual reading for each kid
  • writing projects
  • timelines
  • music from the time period
  • recipes
  • reinactments
  • movies
  • TV shows
  • audiobooks
  • costumes

How to Plan the Simplest Unit Study

It’s completely understandable that planning a big unit study like this might seem really daunting. I SO get that! For those in-between times where I really want to do a unit study, but don’t have the energy to plan something with glue and recipes and costumes, I have a simple solution.

The simplest unit study solution.

Here’s the secret: just pick some great books and focus on a theme for a week or so. Add in some great movies if they’re available. 

We love Amazon Prime Movies for their great selection of movies and TV shows. There’s almost always something that fits our studies.

That’s it. Books and movies can create a really meaningful unit study.

Unit studies have given us some of our most satisfying homeschool memories so far. We’ve done many of them and not all have gone without a hitch, but they’ve all been memorable. I encourage you to try one out, especially if you feel like your homeschool has felt dry or ‘blah’ lately.

So how about it? Have you done a unit study before? If so, what are your tips? Let us know below!


How to plan a unit study is a common questions for homeschool mamas. There is a lot of planning that goes into unit studies, but it's not too bad with the right tools. This post is all about how to plan a unit study the simple way.




  1. Thanks for the FB Live Video! Very informative on what Homeschool In the Woods offers and looks like!

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