What’s A Homeschool Unit Study?

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What is a unit study?

A unit study is a focused topical study of high child interest that connects multiple subjects all relating back to the main topic.

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Since kids LOVE studying the ocean, I will use a homeschool ocean unit study sample with a seashore focus.

Answer Specific Questions Your Child Has in the Ocean Unit Study 

Suppose your child, who's fascinated with the sea, has certain scientific questions about it.

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For example, your child might ask:

How are shorelines formed?

how is the seashore formed

For the subject of science being covered, you and your child can dive into ocean unit study research mode and answer that question by searching YouTube, library books, or consulting Google

Ocean Unit Study Literature Example

ocean unit study literature

Living books about the seashore such as DK Eyewitness' book, Seashore can bring the sea alive for your family. The Eyewitness books are extraordinary rich, engaging, and stimulating resources that can help you cover literary skills while you read with or aloud to your child. The Eyewitness books not only make connections WITH science, but with history, literature, and art.

Aquire storybooks either about the seashore or with a seashore setting.

Ocean Unit Study Language Arts Examples 

Ocean Unit Study Language Arts

Covering language arts in an ocean unit study can include reading aloud from beautiful living books about the seashore to your kids. Reading from beautifully illustrated living books inspire kids to WANT to write about topics of their interest. Often children will be prompted to create illustrated stories about their topic of choice. They can also write and recite poetry.

The more exposure kids have to rich literature focused around their favorite topics of interest, the more inspired they'll often become to create their own written projects. You may be surprised at how self-motived and self-directed they become in their literary creations.

How to Make Homeschool Math Fun? Through Unit Studies!

Math is typically not covered in most homeschool unit studies. Alternatively, parents might only cover a surface level of math within a unit study. They might feel they're not "qualified" to cover math or feel too intimidated to cover it. However, finding math in whatever topic your child is interested in can prove to be a rich, enlightening experience, similar to looking for buried treasure.

The hidden false belief is that math is it's own scary beast that must be taught in the typical painful incremental, step-by-step manner, only in a certain order. If a parent deviates from their math checklist, their child might miss out and be unprepared for higher maths and therefore college.

These are real fears and phobias from the global mainstream view of mathematics and how it's "expected" to be taught. You don't have to buy into this anymore, even if you don't feel confident teaching math.

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Math is like found treasure within any homeschool unit study

Math is best brought alive when it's connected with the real world: nature, technology, music, and especially in the sciences.


A famous quote from Galileo Galilei is "Mathematics is the language by which God wrote the Universe."

In other words, math is the language of everything. Science is a beautiful, stimulating and engaging way to present math to kids.

Ocean Unit Study Math Examples

Ocean Unit Study Math Example


Ocean math can be a real blast! Kids naturally gravitate to collecting treasures on the seashore by beachcombing. Why not look for the beauty and wonder of math all around you from the patterns found in the sand, seashells, to the curves found in the crashing waves. Can't go to the seashore? Admire the seashores treasures from your local seashore field guide and DK Eyewitness's Seashore book.

Covering Higher Math: Geometry, Algebra, Calculus, and Trigonometry in an Ocean Unit Study

seashore higher maths

Covering your middle and high schooler's higher maths isn't an impossibility either. After all, we're in the information age! Any seashore interest your child could have can also be described using higher maths along with a good Google search, and browsing your local university library. With these two resources alone, you can find mathematical tables for just about any sea related phenomena on the planet.

Ocean Unit Study History Example

Did you know there's a book out there entitled, The Human Shore by John R. Gillis? It shares the history of humanity's relationship with the sea. This is just one clever history connection with the sea. Granted, this book would be more suited to a middle or high school reading level.

history of humanity and the sea

Geography Examples Found in an Ocean Unit Study

You can use an online tool such as Google Maps helping you and your kids locate favorite seashore locations. Drop the little yellow person down onto the shoreline and have a look around. You can follow up this experience using a world map wall poster using pushpins to locate favorite seashores or seashores of interest.

Ocean unit study geography example

Ocean Unit Study Projects, Experiments, and Field Trip Examples

Seashore projects are always best when you can do them hands-on and in-person at the seashore. Going on a seashore field trip affords you teh opportunity to combine projects, such as arts and crafts and experiments.

Projects can include beachcombing for seashells to create arts and crafts such as jewelry and shell ornamented picture frames with. Getting special instruments to measure the salinity in the sea water is a great experiment.

My Top Unit Study Tips:

1. Choose your child's top learning interests, which could literally be ANYTHING.

2. Intentionally connect multiple subjects, including math and Language arts, the two typically left out of unit studies.

3. Replace unwanted curriculum with unit studies.

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The definition of a unit study is a focused topical study of high child interest that connects multiple subjects all relating back to the main topic.the video about this post.

From the examples in this post, you can see that creating a unit study and including most or all of the core academic subjects doesn't have to be hard. I can attest that it does take practice. The rewards are that you and your family can be completely liberated from using any unwanted curriculum and replace it by creating your own family tailored "uncurriculum" using unit studies.

Stay tuned, as I'll be sharing about how to create a homeschool unit study in my next few posts.

If this post is inspiring you to create your next unit study, let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear all about it!

See you soon!

Gloria aka NatureGlo