Monday, September 24, 2012

Homeschool Legacy ~ Schoolhouse Review


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Unit studies. I love them. And I use them as my primary teaching tool. It typically involves delight-directed learning, literature, and hands-on activities. In my book, that's a recipe for superb learning! We are doing a unit study at all times, a portion of it every day.

I read a book this summer that really inspired me to spend one entire day per week in nature with my children. So, on Fridays we devote our whole day to nature, and also do Bible and art. One of the things that I really wanted to make sure we covered this year was a study on the local flora of our state and community.

So, when we had the opportunity to review Homeschool Legacy's Once-a-Week Unit Study unit called "Forest for the Trees", I was very excited! This would give the kids and I a framework for learning about the trees indigenous to our area.

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Although you can go to the Homeschool Legacy website for their Scheduling Tips, the unit study is easily adaptable to any schedule. Like I said, we do unit studies each day of the week. But, in using this one as a Nature study, as well, I was able to dedicate it to Fridays.

What I liked:
  • Each week's lessons start with the Library Reading/Video Choices. And the best part ... the Call Numbers are included!! No more going to the library to look up the books to get the call numbers for the great book search. If our library didn't have the exact book (we have a small library), I was, at least, in the right area to find a comparable one.
  • Each week the Supply List is provided at the beginning of the lesson.
  • The lessons meet some merit badge requirements for Boy Scouts and American Heritage Girls. All you have to do is look for the fleur-de-lis. or AHG hexagon symbol.
  • There are lots of daily activities!
    • Independent Reading
    • Family Read-Aloud
    • Family Devotional
    • Nature Journal Activities
    • Vocabulary/Language
    • Research/Language
    • Art
    • Physical Education Activities
    • Science and/or Field Trips
    • Fun "Stump your Dad Trivia"

What I didn't Like:

It's not really anything I didn't like, just an observation. Although our entire Friday is dedicated to Nature, there was no way we were able to complete all of the activities for that week in one day. It might just be the ages of my kids (7 and 8), or that we get distracted easily and stick to one thing too long. The reason why this isn't a big deal is because you can use all of the activities on your own schedule. We actually used Week 1 over the course of four different Fridays. For that reason, we didn't get very far. But, we have learned a lot so far and it's been very enjoyable! And we still have three weeks worth of activities to do. So, this has turned into a long-term and exhaustive study.


A favorite activity was going to our local park to identify the trees that are there. On just one side of the pond, we found in excess of 15 different kinds trees! We took pictures of each, closeups of the leaves and other specimens from the tree.



We brought home a leaf and specimen and used our Tree Identification Guide to identify the trees. In our nature journals we included the leaf and specimens (if there were any), wrote down our identification of the tree, and then determined if it was Coniferous or Deciduous.

Next we will be tackling Tree Anatomy. It really is great fun! And, it's all for the price of $15.95. You can also receive free shipping on orders of $50 or more. The product is in a physical format purchased from the website.

This is a great product! Other members of the Schoolhouse Crew had the opportunity to review the other Once-a-Week units, including:
  • Horsing Around
  • Knights and Nobles
  • Birds of a Feather
  • Native America
  • Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea
  • Early Settlers in America
  • Revolutionary Ideas
  • We the People: Getting to Know your Constitution
  • Weather on the Move
You can see what the Crew thought of the other units by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew site.

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{Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was provided this product free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.}

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