Unit Studies is an American name for what we in the UK would call ‘Themes’, ‘Projects’ or ‘Topics’, where instead of studying subjects individually, the whole curriculum is taught through the lens of a particular topic.
For example, using the topic of ‘homes’ you could incorporate the history of homes and houses, different houses around the world for geography, look at which structures and materials are the most stable and reliable for science and / or design and technology, look at different animal habitats for science, write on the topic of houses and homes for English, design maths topics around houses and so on. The only limit really is your imagination.
This method is widely used in UK state primary schools, and we actually came into contact with Theme study when we were in Sweden, as it’s the method commonly used in Swedish pre-schools.
There are also companies who produce pre-packaged theme or ideas packs for unit studies, such as Steward Ship, who produce a guide to unit studies:
More links and resources to come hopefully!
Unit Studies also work well with Lapbooking and Notebooking.
Heart of Wisdom
The Heart of Wisdom approach is a Christian variation on Unit Studies, which utilises some of the best features of many of the other teaching methods outlined above (including Charlotte Mason, unit-studies, lapbooking and more).
Take a look at the Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach.