Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homeschool Legacy

 I have always loved using unit studies to teach my children.  I love that when we unit study, we all learn together, that many subjects are geared around one theme, and that they most often include fun, hands-on learning.  But one thing I have always struggled with is how to fit unit studies into our curriculum.  Many times, we have abandoned all other school work for a week at a time to enjoy a unit study or unit studied on a holiday week or summer break.  Surely there was a better way?

Yes, in fact there is!  Homeschool Legacy has designed Once-A-Week Unit Studies providing the opportunity for homeschoolers to enjoy fun unit studies each and every week without having to forsake other planned core studies.  As their name implies, Once-A-Week Unit Studies are designed to only do one day a week.  They offer 4-6 week studies, each geared towards teaching your 2nd through 12th graders all together.  Once-A-Week Unit Studies are biblically centered.  The idea is that these studies will compliment your current curriculum, but Homeschool Legacy boasts that  "they are comprehensive enough to use as your main source of history and science". 
I received Forest For the Trees from Homeschool Legacy to review with my family.  My nature lovin' family is all about exploring the great outdoors so I figured this four week unit study would be right up our alley.

The actual text of the unit study is laid out nicely.  It includes a welcome letter, suggestions for scheduling, a pick and choose read aloud/book list for non-readers, and a 7 page section titled "Getting the Most Out of Your Once-A-Week Unit Study".

I appreciated the suggestions for how to schedule our unit study time.  It gives a sample week's schedule in which families would simply read aloud their unit study book selections each day of the week in addition to their regular studies.  They suggest setting all regular curriculum aside on Wednesday and completing the remainder of the Unit Study lessons for the week.  Optional field trips and movie nights are suggested for Fridays.  However, it is emphasized that this schedule is flexible.  From the text:

"This is merely a suggested schedule. Juggle it to best suit your family’s needs, keeping the idea the same by setting aside one day each week for unit study day.
If you have younger children with shorter attention spans, or an exceptionally busy week when there’s no time for a unit study day, feel free to break up the unit study into bite-sized pieces by including a unit study activity each afternoon."

Wednesdays are not a good unit study day for us, but we just choose a different day of the week.  Two of the weeks we opted to use a full day for our Unit Study days and the other two weeks we broke up lessons throughout our week.

Our favorite read aloud suggestions were:
 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
A Tale of Three Trees by Lark Carrier
and A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry

Each lesson included:
Independent Reading
Family Read-Aloud
Family Devotional
Language Lessons (including vocab and writing)
Physical Activities
Science experiments
Field Trip ideas
Stump Your Dad Trivia

The four weeks of the study cover the following themes:
Week 1: Tree Identification
Week 2: Tree Anatomy
Week 3: What Trees Give Me
Week 4: Forests and Forestry

Not surprisingly my kids totally got into to the physical activities and the Stump Your Dad Trivia.  (Does your dad know 'What is the largest living thing on Earth?'  Our dad didn't, but he does now!)
 But they also really loved making a nature journal during week one.  The kids collected leaves and made leaf and bark rubbings for their journal...

Of course the suggestion to walk through the woods was not a problem!  We already had that covered since we had planned to meet up with our new hiking club this month...

We collected leaves to add to our nature journal while on a walk at a local park...
We were told to climb a tree.  Yeah, we do that kind of stuff...
I felt like the included devotionals were well thought out.  They included Scripture reading and memory verses.  My favorite is the discussion of the Fruit of the Spirit during week 3.  It includes a chart to print out and keep track of when your children exhibit those fruits.

Truly, the lessons were jam packed with activities.  Most of them were very easy to just pick and do.  Some required gathering materials around the house or trips out to the backyard.  We did not complete every single activity from Forest in the Trees and quite frankly, one would have to be much more organized (and have less kids!) than I to do so in one day.  But that didn't bother me at all.  

One unique aspect to the Once-A-Week Unit Studies is that they also go along with merit badge requirements for both Boy Scouts of America and American Heritage Girls.  We are not currently participating in these programs, but because I have had children participate in them in the past, I appreciate this aspect of the study.  When completing Forest For the Trees, your Boy Scout will also complete the badge requirements for the BSA Forestry Merit Badge.

You can purchase Forest For the Trees Once-A-Week Unit Study from Homeschool Legacy for $15.95.  You can read more reviews of this product as well as other Homeschool Legacy unit studies (including Birds of a Feather, Horsing Around, Weather on the Move, Knights and Nobles, and more) at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
Pin It Now!

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails