How Unit Studies Can Still Be Used for High School Homeschooling

February 24, 2021

If you are new to homeschooling, you may have seen websites where you can purchase or get free unit studies for your homeschool.  

Maybe you aren't sure what unit studies are. Is it curriculum? Does it take the place of curriculum? Do you use it alongside the current curriculum? What ages can do use unit studies? 


What are Unit Studies? 

Unit studies are simply a different way of learning. It is the concentration on one topic, but still incorporating all other school subjects. They are adaptable to whatever type of homeschooling you are currently doing and can be as straightforward or detailed as desired. They can be as short or as long as you want -- a week or a month. In fact, if you are homeschooling different age groups, unit studies are beneficial. All the activities in a study can be scaled to any specific age group or level.

Here's an example. Suppose your fourth grader is crazy about space. He reads anything or watches anything about space. He's the ultimate Star Wars fan. He creates masterpieces with his Legos -- space ships and even aliens. 

A unit study on space will undoubtedly keep his attention because everything he would be learning will have to do with space. Incorporating school subjects is easier than you think. For instance: 

  • Science -- Explore everything about the planets and the universe.  
  • History --  Research the history of the space program. Include biographies of astronauts. Visit a space museum or planetarium.
  • Reading -- Assign one or two non-fiction, but also fictional books about space. 
  • Writing -- Write book reports, craft a fictional short story, research and write about a prominent person in the space program.
  • Math -- Find space-themed worksheets or math games online; research how knowing math is vital if you want to be involved in any occupation related to space.  
  • Geography -- Teach about the space race between Russia and the United States, along with the differences in government and economies. What have Russians accomplished in space? Learn about the cooperation between Russia and America with the International Space Station.

Get the idea? You know the level of your student and whether he is a visual or auditory learner. As a result, you know what media and resources will help him best. Start at the library -- use the benefit of their physical and online resources to help you start putting together ideas.

How Do Unit Studies Work for High School? 

Although homeschoolers use unit studies for elementary and middle school, this type of learning no longer seems relevant once in high school. I disagree. Unit studies for your teen often provide a needed break from regular textbook work and allow them to use different learning skills and methods on something new.  

My post yesterday was a high school unit study for Women’s History Month. Of course, the unit study doesn’t just cover women’s history. There are topics on STEM, politics, the arts, humanitarian or philanthropic efforts, leadership, and more. Safe links are provided throughout the unit study to save your homeschooler time in research.

While there are specific ideas in my unit studies, it opens up opportunities for you to adapt lessons to what you’re currently doing in homeschool. For instance, if your student is studying early 20th century American History, the activities can be focused on women’s history from that same period. 

There is always encouragement toward reading (not just research) and writing in my unit studies. (For college readiness, these are two areas in which to focus.) Family or group activities, especially in the areas of charity and volunteering, are also added.

While my blog is primarily faith-based, the unit studies are generic in scope. Ideas are provided for different subjects, and parents can adjust and supplement what works for them. 

What About Recording Unit Studies on Transcripts? 

You may be asking -- what about transcripts?? I can answer generally, but it depends of course on the requirements of your state.   

If your student enjoys learning by topic, then think about recording time spend on each unit study to develop it into their transcript. With approximately 75 hours as a one-semester class, combine unit studies and hours to create a "class" for the transcript. Suppose your student accumulated 75 hours studying Black History Month, Women's History Month, and National American Indian Heritage Month during the school year. Combine and call the class "Minority Studies." (For your records, write a description for the course and list the unit studies included.)

Unit studies will continually be added to this website. Will you incorporate unit studies into your high school homeschooling? Refer to my post from yesterday on Women's History Month -- I'd love to know what you think! 


  1. Sometimes I wish I had a highschooler doing home schooling. This Unit concept sounds very interesting.

  2. I love this. I homeschooled my 3 children and used Unit studies occasionally. They are great for certain topics the kids were interested in or if we were going on a specific trip. They were definitely a great change of pace for the kids.

  3. I agree with Martha! I did Waldorf homeschooling with my son, so we followed that curriculum, and I was happy with it. But it does mean that we sometimes missed out on other fun ways of doing things we also might have enjoyed. And this is one example. Great approach to following a child's interests!

  4. The unit studies sound great! Especially science topics-- always changing-- can be meaningful for high schoolers as well as the younger ones.


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