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I was there when the first Gather Round Homeschool unit was launched. It was a mama with a dream and a passion and a lot of hustle. In ways, it pushed me to go after my own dreams with this space on the internet!
Nevertheless, as Gather Round Homeschool has grown over the last couple of years, our family has enjoyed adding a unit study perspective into our homeschool day! And Rebecca makes her unit studies come to life – there’s no doubt about that!
Before I get into our thoughts and experiences with Gather Round Homeschool, let me answer a few questions you might have.
What is a homeschool unit study?
Simply put, a homeschool unit study is not a curriculum, rather it’s an outline of similar things you want your children to learn. For example, a unit study about space would cover any and all information + data pertaining to space. You could go down rabbit trails about astronaut suits, rockets, the moon. Anything and everything you would want to know about space would be your outline for learning in a set amount of time in your homeschool year.
How do you plan a unit study?
Planning is the FUN part! You simply brainstorm a topic, research information, and gather activities to make it STICK!
💕📝 I’ve created a five-day challenge to help you build a unit study from the ground up. It’s FREE to join and I send you all of the steps I take to create our own unit studies – straight to your inbox! Click here to learn more + sign up!
How long should a unit study last?
I share this in the unit study building challenge as well, but a unit study can be as long or as short as you want! For our family, we’re ready to move on to the next topic around weeks three or four. But you could create a mini study (1-3 weeks) or a full study (I recommend no more than 7 weeks) for your family, it just depends on the amount of information you can gather to keep the kids engaged and learning!
Our Gather Round Homeschool Experience
Our Gather Round Homeschool experience looks a little different than the “Gather Round Lifers”. We’re definitely an eclectic homeschooling family – Just to give you an idea… We’re currently using Gather Round, Masterbooks, and Classical Conversations in our homeschool 😅 So, we do not live and breathe Gather Round Homeschool the same way other Gather Round mamas do.
However, I’m a firm believer in creating a homeschool you love, not trying to fit someone else’s homeschool into your space.
So, I will simply share some of our likes + dislikes and then a few ideas for how you can use Gather Round Homeschool in your homeschool, the way you want to use it.
Here’s what we love about Gather Round Homeschool
- The layout, artwork, and style is beautiful
- There are a lot of great topics to choose from
- The worksheets + note booking pages are included in the student books
- You can purchase digitally
- You can basically purchase the teacher’s guide (and make your own worksheets!)
- There are lists for activities, what to read, what to watch, and some even have recipes
Here’s what we do not like as much
- There’s a LOT to read – Our oldest usually just takes the teacher’s guide and reads it for herself because I will skim through the fluff and share high-level things to keep our Kindergartener engaged
- Doing a month-long unit study is hard for us because the lessons can feel repetitive even though they have a different topic each time
- The worksheets aren’t as challenging for older kids, in our opinion
- You have to purchase a lot of “extras” to make it a full curriculum – including a completely separate math curriculum as that subject is not currently taught in the studies
Overall, we love Gather Round Homeschool! And we will continue to use it when I see a topic we really want to dive into, like inventions + oceans! But mostly, we will stick to creating a homeschool we love and not just a cookie cutter experience for our family.
With that being said, here are a few ways you can use Gather Round Homeschool as a catalyst for creating a homeschool YOU love:
| Related: 25 Quotes about homeschooling
- I mentioned before that you can basically just purchase the teacher’s guide and create your own worksheets. I said “basically” because you can’t purchase JUST the guide, however, when you purchase a single student notebook in digital format, you get the teacher’s guide included. The little bundle is less than $20. Absolutely worth it – even if you choose not to use the student book.
However, you could use the student book for yourself, by grabbing the high school level – which will give you more ideas to share and talk through with your younger kids as you go through each lesson. Or you could simply allow the student book to be used by your kids by grabbing a level that could fit all of them, print as many copies as you need, and then take it further with extra activities for older ones.
I have new video tutorials coming out soon on our YouTube channel to teach you how to create your own homeschool resources – click here to subscribe so that you don’t miss those and will be ready to truly create a homeschool you love!
- We have been using the pre-reader units for our boys (pre-k + kindergarten / first) – but I do not use the full unit for each lesson. Because we are including other things to make our homeschool ours, I feel that the full unit is too much for them to work through.
So, instead of getting frustrated that my boys won’t sit still for an entire lesson and feeling like a failure because other moms are making it look simple, I’ve chosen to nix the unit study portion of the workbooks and simply use the worksheets + mini stories / activities on their own.
And before you ask… YES! I can choose to recreate / manipulate any curriculum I purchase because it’s my homeschool. And you have the right to do that too (as long as you do not resell anything, ha!)
- Gather Round Homeschool is not our main curriculum. We use it alongside the other things we use (Masterbooks, Classical Conversations, + other printables).
There are many other mamas who use it on its own. And that’s what they love about their homeschool! But for us, we love all the different elements and styles of learning, so we do not choose one thing and do it forever. #beentheredonethat
So, if you’re looking to add in a fun element to your homeschool, consider doing a SLOWER version of Gather Round units! Instead of doing a lesson a day, you can do a new lesson every other day or spread it out for the week and learn a new topic each week!
It’s all about creating the homeschool YOU love – so don’t be afraid to manipulate the resources you’ve decided to include in your family’s learning!
Don’t forget to sign up for the FREE 5-day challenge where I teach you how to create your own unit study for your homeschool!