We are a family that loves unit studies! For those who don't know what a unit study is let me explain. In some teaching methods everything is separated and has nothing to do with anything else that is taught. You have a Math book, a Science book, a History book, an English book and so on. With a unit study approach you fit several subjects (History,Science,English,etc.) into/around a central theme.
Example: We could do a unit on Birds. For Science we will learn about types of birds, there habitats, breeding habits, what they eat and so forth. For English/Language I will have my son write a story about his favorite type of bird, going thru the writing process doing pre-writing, a rough draft and a final product. For Reading I would hit the library for some books on birds. For a preschooler maybe they would be sesame street books with Big Bird. History we might learn about birds that are extinct and how or why they became so.
One of the best things about doing units is that you can teach to several age levels at one time. For our unit on birds when my 2nd grader is writing his story about his favorite type of bird my kindergartner can be practicing tracing/writing/identifying the letter "B" and learning that "b" say b-b-bird.
While my 2nd grader is doing a worksheet identifying the parts of a birds wings (anatomy) my kindergartner can be coloring a picture of his favorite bird and talking about the birds beak and what he uses it for again anatomy just on his level.
This year we are using a curriculum called Five In A Row, FIAR for sort. It is a unit study curriculum. All the units are based off of classic children literature.
In the books we have read we have swam down the Yangtze river in China with a duck named Ping taking time to learn about rivers, China and ducks. We have played a Japanese weather telling game with a little girl named Mako and taken time to learn about Japan, islands and meteorologist. We have read about Madeline and learned about her home in Paris, France. Learning about Authors and Illustrators and writing our own poetry.
We are experiencing and learning so much this year and we are doing it all together!