Unit study approach

Unit study, sometimes called delight-directed study, appears under different names and formats but can be recognized by the presence of a unifying theme. Rather than approaching each subject and topic as isolated things to be learned, information is integrated across subject areas, helping children better understand what they are studying. According to the theory behind the unit study approach, when children really understand what they are learning because of the integration of subjects, they remember it better. A unit study might focus on one primary subject area or many subjects. The major published unit studies generally encompass social studies, science, and the fine arts, with varying amounts of coverage of language arts and religion. Generally little to no math is included. Unit studies typically use real books rather than textbooks for learning material. Many unit studies incorporate Charlotte Mason’s ideas on the use of real books, nature study, and narration. Unit study is often, but not always, multi-sensory, using hands-on experiences or activities for more effective learning. Most unit studies are constructed so they can be used across a wide age span, with adaptations suggested for various levels. Unit studies for high school level tend to be more book-based than activity-oriented. While unit studies at elementary levels require heavy parental involvement, those for older students frequently require a good deal of independent work.

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