What is the thematic approach to learning?
It is when you combine many different areas of the curriculum as a theme. You are not separating history, geography, social studies, science, English, etc. etc.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO INCLUDE THE THEMATIC APPROACH IN YOUR HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM?
This is something I love to do. Why? Because I don’t really believe in separating subjects. It is so much more fun when you see how it ties together.
Here are my favorite reasons to include it:
- It is flexible. You can take as little or as long as you need on the topic. Go as in depth as your children will like.
- You are using the skills of learning, rather than just learning content.
- It is interest based.
- It helps instill a love of learning.
- You don’t have to be a curriculum writer – it really is easy.
- They can be very hands on
HOW HARD IS IT TO INCLUDE?
It is not.
If you are using a set curriculum already, you can easily add thematic units as an addition. Maybe you want extra projects for them. Or they could be expressing interest in a topic and you want to explore it with them.
If you are not using a curriculum (like me) you are simply incorporating these on a day to day basis. They are the curriculum as it were.
If you have children of different ages, you can use the one thematic unit for all, and have activities that might be based on age and/or ability.
There are many great thematic resources out there. You can try teachers pay teachers. I have started writing my own and these are available as Pocket Packs. You don’t have to create your own. I know that it can be overwhelming if this is new to you. It doesn’t have to be. Start with a written unit and then, when you feel comfortable, tweak to suit you, and then, if /when you feel comfortable, you can create your own.
HOW TO CREATE A THEMATIC UNIT
When it comes to preschool and kindergarten and adding the thematic approach, the units are really easy. Pick a letter and run with it…….animals, colors, plants, foods that start with the letter. Make meals that have foods that start with the letter. Crafts are amazing. Read books that focus on the letter.
Or you can pick a book and then create activities around the central theme of the book.
For older children:
- Brainstorm what they would like to learn about
- Pick a theme
- Look for books, videos, places to visit
- Do you want to add crafts or hands-on activities? Find some that work with the theme. I like to add cooking as much as possible.
- What can you incorporate into it? Science or technology, history or culture? Draw from many different aspects of the theme you can draw from.
- Do you want to have a final project to complete? A writing task or verbal presentation? You don’t have to. Sometimes it can be good to do this. But it is never necessary.
SOME POSSIBLE THEMATIC UNIT TOPICS
Here are just a few to get your ideas flowing:
- The Seasons
- Countries – Japan, Bolivia, wherever you want to go!
- The Ocean
- Bread and Butter
- Knights and Castles
- Music from Around the World
Really, the list can go on and on. The limit is your child’s interest and imagination.