We’ve been homeschooling for a long time, but sometimes it takes me a long time to catch on to things.  It took me a while to let go of the syllabus and figure out that my kids learn the most about history and science when we work in unit studies.  I was always afraid that the linear timeline was going to keep moving and we’d be stuck on Vikings for weeks getting behind the timeline’s pace.  Not true.  When you teach with unit studies, it all seems to unfold itself beautifully, but let me back up a little bit.

This month we’re talking about simplifying.  I found that a huge way to simplify our homeschool history and science was to teach them to our whole little group at once and to teach in unit studies.  It’s really easy to tailor units to fit the needs of different ages and learning styles.  With unit studies, you’re able to tie in art, music, home ec, literature, and pretty much anything you want to if you want to.

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For us, we usually start with a main book on the subject, or our spine book.  Sometimes this is even a textbook and I use the table of contents to give me a general direction to go for our study on a certain subject.  From here, I spend some time researching.  I look for interesting books, videos, Netflix shows, documentaries, music, projects, food, and whatever else I can find on this subject.  I will look at how much stuff we have to go over and I’ll set an estimated timeline for our study.  Sometimes we go quickly and finish ahead of time, but sometimes the kids are really into what we’re studying and we hang out there a little longer. 

I love teaching this way for so many reasons, but here are just a few:

  • I can teach to my kids’ strengths and weaknesses
  • we can thoroughly study a subject from front to back
  • I can teach in ways that will make the subject matter really stick
  • each child gets to learn in all different ways; visually, kinesthetically, and audibly
  • we can read rich literature
  • we can do great hands-on projects
  • I can “test” them through end-of-the-unit projects where they can show what they know

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Get the 6 Secrets to a Simpler Mom Life

A few months ago, I contributed to a fantastic resource that every homeschooler should have: The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.  This book is an amazing reference book that I have love referring to over and over again just since August!  It covers anything and everything you’d want to know about homeschooling.  It’s like having 50+ seasoned homeschool mamas at your disposal to talk to you about what they are most passionate about.  It’s a pretty amazing book and this month, it’s on sale! Yay! Until November 1, you can order the Big Book of Homeschool Ideas for only $8.99.

BUT there’s another deal for October too: for a limited time, you can get The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas PLUS 23 MP3s from the iHomeschool Studio for only $15.  Thanks over half off and those audio files are such a great tool to add to your arsenal.  I love to listen to them while I’m cooking or folding laundry.  

And just for fun to get you excited about the bundle, I’m giving away a copy of my book Mrs. Hutchinson’s Homeschool Guide: Homeschool Basics! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

    For the whole month of October, the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas is sharing about subjects they wrote about in the book.  You are going to love their topics too.  The schedule for the tour is below.  Make sure to go check out some of their pages too!

  • October 1 – Heather Woodie from Blog, She Wrote. Author of the chapters Teaching Geography with Geography Quests, Teaching Sewing in Homeschool, and Being a Homeschooling Mentor Rather Than an Instructor.
  • October 2 – Stephanie Harrington from Harrington Harmonies. Author of the chapters Everything You Need to Know About Gardening and You CAN Teach Art. Stephanie will be giving away a Teaching Art Basketful of Goodies.
  • October 3 – Joan Otto from Unschool Rules. Author of the chapter Learning from Video Games. Joan will be giving away a $20 GameStop gift card.
  • October 4 – Mary Prather from Homegrown Learners. Author of the chapter How to Teach with LEGO. Mary will be giving away free LEGO scripture copywork.
  • October 5 – Amy Stults from Milk and Cookies. Author of the chapters Learning with Maps and Genealogy for Kids. Amy will be giving away a copy of WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press.
  • October 6 – Eva Varga from EvaVarga.net. Author of the chapters How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning and Inquiry Science with Middle School Students. Eva will be giving away Getting Started with Inquiry Science.
  • October 7 – Colleen Kessler from Raising Lifelong Learners . Author of the chapter Hands-on Science. Colleen will be giving away Science for Smart Kids: Electricity.
  • October 8 – Sallie Borrink from SallieBorrink.com. Author of the chapters Allowing Play to be Your Child’s Preschool, Parenting a Spirited or Highly-Sensitive Child, and Parenting an Only Child. Sallie will be giving away a $25 shopping spree at Sallie Borrink Learning.
  • October 9 – Karyn Tripp from Teach Beside Me. Author of the chapter Homeschooling with Games. Karyn will be giving away a printable Build a House – Math Bingo Game.
  • October 10 – Selena Robinson from Look, We’re Learning. Author of the chapters Teaching Foreign Language, Active Learning Ideas for Kinesthetic Learners, Using Movies for Learning, How to Add PE to Your Homeschool Day, and Homeschooling Through the Summer. Selena will be giving away We Got Jazz.
  • October 11 – Janine LaTulippe from True Aim Education. Author of the chapters How to Encourage Math Haters, How to Answer the Critics of Homeschooling, and Character Development. Janine will be giving away a Character eBook Set and a Free Character Building Activities printable.
  • October 12 – Marci Goodwin from The Homeschool Scientist. Author of the chapter Nature Study. Marci will be giving away a field guide.
  • October 13 – Jennifer Dunlap from Forever, For Always, No Matter What. Author of the chapters Homeschooling in a Large Family and Homeschooling through a Move. Jennifer will be giving away a couple of Florida learning resources.
  • October 14 – Ticia Messing from Adventures in Mommydom. Author of the chapters Tools to Teach the Bible to Your Kids and Hands-on Learning. Ticia will be giving away an Old Testament Bible study.
  • October 15 – Alicia Hutchinson from Investing Love. Author of the chapters Children’s Literature, Homeschool Conferences, and Unit Studies. Alicia will be giving away Mrs. Hutchinson’s Classroom Guide: Homeschool Basics.
  • October 16 – Michelle Cannon from Heart of Michelle. Author of the chapters Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School, Homeschooling the Child with Bipolar Disorder, and Navigating from High School to College with a Dyslexic Child. Michelle will be giving away a one-hour homeschool consultation.
  • October 17 – Jennifer Janes from Jennifer A. Janes. Author of the chapters Special Needs Homeschooling and 25 Ideas for Ministry and Volunteering in the Community with Kids.
  • October 18 – Renee Brown from Great Peace Academy. Author of the chapters How to Find Resources for Gifted Child Homeschooling, How to Homeschool During Job Loss, and Prioritizing your Marriage While Homeschooling. Renee will be giving away a $25 Amazon card.
  • October 19 – Adelien Tandian from Blessed Learners. Author of the chapters How to Start Research With Your Logic Stage Kids. Adelien will be giving away Basic Science Notebooking Pages and Graphic Organizers.
  • October 20 – Heidi Ciravola from Starts at Eight. Author of the chapters Making Tweens and Teens More Independent Learners and High School Literature. Heidi will be giving away The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Teens from Apologia.
  • October 21 – Dianna Kennedy from The Kennedy Adventures. Author of the chapters Keeping Babies and Toddlers Occupied While Homeschooling, Managing Extra Curricular Activities and Homeschooling, and Homeschooling While Pregnant. Dianna will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card.
  • October 22 – LaToya Edwards from Learning to Let Him Lead. Author of the chapters Homeschooling Elementary Aged Boys, and Single Parent Homeschooling.
  • October 23 – Carisa Hinson from 1+1+1=1. Author of the chapter Homeschooling Tots. Carisa will be giving away Animal ABCs Bundle.
  • October 24 – Shannen Espelien from Middle Way Mom. Author of the chapters Getting Started with Credit-by-exam, Where to Buy and Sell Used Curriculum, and Transitioning to a Virtual School from Public School.
  • October 25 – Marianne Sunderland from Adundant Life. Author of the chapters Homeschooling Teen Girls, The Power of Interest-led Learning, and Raising Kids With Vision. Marianne will be giving away a DVD/study guide bundle of Intrepid: The Zac Sunderland Story – Part 1, Part 2 and Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story.
  • October 26 – Kyle Suzanne McVay from Aspired Living. Author of the chapter Classical Homeschooling. Kyle will be giving away A Home Educators Guide to Living Math.
  • October 27 – Mama Jenn from Mama Jenn. Author of the chapter Homeschooling Twins. Jenn will be giving away an Education Cubes Set (membership AND cubes/photo blocks).
  • October 28 – Amy Matkovich from A Journey of Purpose. Author of the chapters Making the First Day of Homeschool Special, and How to Make a Homeschool Budget and Stick to it. Amy will be giving away Dave Ramsey?s Total Money Makeover book and The Graduate?s Survival Guide (book and DVD).
  • October 29 – Amy Maze from Living and Learning at Home. Author of the chapter Free eBooks and Audiobooks.

This post is part of a 31-day series on simplifying our homes and schools. 
To read from the beginning of this series, click here:
N E V E R   M I S S   A   P O S T–


  1. I've never set up a unit study, but I'm using a curriculum that's mostly set up that way. 🙂 you're a wealth of info these days girly! wish that book was in paperback! Is this the same one that you advertised in August?

  2. We have done a lot of unit studies at the preschool level. I'm looking forward to including them throughout our homeschooling journey because my daughter loves them and learns so much from them. She easily picks up on related topics so I don't have to spend time teaching them specifically (like math concepts)

  3. I was intrigued by unit studies the first time that I ever learned that such a thing existed. I am planning on incorporating some this year with holiday themes.

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