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Choosing a Unit Studies or All-in-One Program for your Homeschool

Teaching ReadingIf you are new to homeschooling you may be unfamiliar with the terms "Unit Studies" and "All-in-One program" and what types of curriculum they cover. Both Unit Studies and an All in One Program have unique features that may appeal to you, your child, and your child's learning style and abilities. Both are a form of comprehensive curriculum. Both are a great way to do homeschooling with your child. As you learn the things that differentiate a Unit Studies Program from an All-in-One program you will be able to make a more educated decision about which if either of these comprehensive curriculum programs is right for you.

The All-In-One Program:
An All-in-One program is sometimes called a comprehensive curriculum in a box or school in a box. It contains all of the materials and information that you will need to teach your child in a homeschooling setting. It is usually grade based-meaning that it will match the things taught at that grade level in a public school and the All-in-One program often includes items such as standardized testing and even exams that will qualify students for a diploma from an accredited private school. It is generally one of the more expensive homeschooling options because it is such a complete and comprehensive curriculum package and it most closely resembles the traditional school model as far as curriculum.
If you plan for your child to go back to the public or traditional school at some point, or if you would like to follow the general curriculum guidelines for the traditional school, the All-in-One program may be exactly what you are looking for. People who live in remote areas without access to public schools also find the All-in-One program to be a very appealing option. Some people choose this option simply because their child does not thrive in a traditional school setting, but they want their child to have the comprehensive curriculum choices and materials that are available. With its comprehensive curriculum it can include everything from mathematics to music. You can find many of these types of homeschooling programs available for purchase online.

Unit Studies Homeschooling Program
The Unit Studies program is a comprehensive curriculum like the All-in-One program, but it uses a different theory and methodology. Students may learn about many, if not all, subjects through a thematic unit based program. A thematic unit is chosen or provided, and then through the activities chosen, math, language arts, science, art, social studies and even music can be explored. Although some Unit Studies programs do focus on one particular academic area, most offer a multi-subject approach to education.

For example, if you were to be using a Unit Studies comprehensive curriculum and you wanted to have a thematic unit about American Pioneers, you might look at maps to determine where they traveled for geography. For the math part of the Unit Studies you could look at how far they went and estimate their supply needs per person. Language arts would be covered in this thematic unit through looking at personal accounts, diaries, journals and other documents relating to the pioneer experience. They could learn about folk music and dancing and the role it played in the lives of early pioneers and Western civilization to add yet another layer to the comprehensive curriculum. For science, the students could study about the animal and plant life or even the climate in the areas where the pioneers traveled. The possibilities for this type of thematic unit are almost endless. Once you were done exploring this topic, you could choose another Unit Studies program to try.

One of the advantages of the Unit Studies program is that it is possible to use it for many ages at the same time because you can tailor activities to their educational level unlike the All-in-One program. It is also a comprehensive curriculum which can benefit children with many different learning styles. With a thematic unit, you can study things related to local or state standards if it is required, or you can choose your own themes for your Unit Studies program. However, there are disadvantages of the Unit Studies program. If you want to design your own thematic unit it will take some time. Tailoring lessons to your particular needs may also take some extra time. But, there are Unit Studies available for free and for purchase through some homeschooling groups and online.

Which Comprehensive Curriculum to Choose
If you want to consider either a Unit Studies program or the All-in-one Program for your homeschooling, there are many resources available to you. A quick search online will give you pages and pages of potential comprehensive curriculum packages exclusively designed for those who do homeschooling. You will need to consider the overall cost, the materials included, your time limitations, the age, interests, learning style and abilities of your child or children, and also the legal educational requirements in your area. You may decide that you would rather purchase materials for each subject separately, or purchase some materials, get some free plans, and design some of your own. This is just one choice, but it may be the one you are looking for.

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