Little Log Cottage School


thematic curriculm

I am in the process of revamping our daily homeschool routine.  What worked two years ago doesn’t always work the same way with different children.  Plus, I now have a second grader, a Kindergartener, and a Tot.  So our day is going to be modified somewhat.

Our focused learning time is 1 hour per day, 4 days a week.  You can see how that is working in future posts as I plan to continue blogging in detail through our school year.  One thing that will not change will be our curriculum.  We have been having so much fun the past two years without purchasing a single curriculum package!

How can you make sure that your child is learning everything and having fun without buying curriculum? Thematic units! These days younger students are required to learn at a quicker rate than ever before. The day can slip away from us before we have even taught social studies!  So before you commit to a curriculum package you might want to take a little time and plan a unit around subjects that your child needs to know. Here are some of the subjects that were taught through our TN unit last summer:

1. Reading- We read two different stories about TN and talked about what an author and illustrator do
2. Social Studies- We located TN on the map and learned the state symbols
3. Music- We sang one of our state’s songs every day and identified the different instruments being played (ex. banjo, mandolin, and guitar)
4. Science- We learned about the Mocking Bird (state bird)
5. Math-You could make up word problems focusing on TN, you could add the distance from one city to another in TN

6. Writing- Write a report on TN.  Learn how to address an envelope with the city, state, and zip code.

tennessee study1

tennessee study3

tennessee study2
All of these subjects can be taught in under an hour. That leaves plenty of time for playing!!! Stay tuned for more thematic units!


4 thoughts on “CURRICULUM OVERLOAD?- Try Thematic Units

  1. Less to More

    I’m interested in what you have to share about this. We’ve done it both ways, and I am convinced that thematic units are the best way for my kids to learn and have fun along the way. I have spent so much money on textbooks that were so dry and boring, and much of the information in there, my kids did not retain. Looking forward to some fresh ideas for the coming school year!

    1. Christa Brown Post author

      I learned to teach by thematic units and then was so disappointed when I started teaching to find that they required us to use a curriculum. I hated how limited I was in my creativity as a teacher. I agree that you can go so much more in depth and make it more fun when you do it yourself!

  2. Kim Teamer

    Thematic units are definitely a part of our program. I will always strive to work around this model to some degree. I do confess, however, this family has been able to benefit in many ways through the use of structured curriculum. In particular, we have done so with math. I did follow your lead on the Dr. Seuss word problems and themes for reading, writing, and art, and the kids responded very well. This year, I have a goal in mind related to thematic units; I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

    Map skills and geography rock! I love that the kids are getting into it. It’s never too early to learn about their world.

    And may I say that your daughter’s art is quite something. She’s got a lot of talent. Have you guys thought about enrolling her in a formal program? That bird with its shape, texture, and details is really good.

    Thanks, as always!

    1. Christa Brown Post author

      Hi, Kim! I had responded to you earlier but somehow my comment didn’t go through. Sorry about that!

      I agree that a structured curriculum works well for a lot of families. It does take a lot of prep time to plan out your own lessons but thankfully that is what I find enjoyable!

      I never studied about maps and geography much as a child so I am having so much fun with all of our geography units.

      Thank you for your kind comment regarding my daughter’s artwork. She really enjoys drawing and we were both very excited to have her enrolled in an art camp this summer. However, the art teacher got sick and had to cancel. I will be looking for more opportunities for her to learn her art. All in God’s timing. Thanks so much for your comments and God Bless!