Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Homeschool Legacy- Schoolhouse Crew Review

Homeschool Legacy Review

There are many ways to homeschool.  It's not that one is better than the other, it's just that some styles fit some people better than others.  Unit Studies are just one of the many styles out there but I see more homeschoolers using it lately than ever before.  Homeschool Legacy has created a plethora of unit studies to meet the demands. These "once a week" studies, in digital or hard copy form, devote 4-9 weeks to a particular history or science topic.  Examples include Horses, Weather, Early Settlers, and even Holidays.  While concentrating on one particular theme, unit studies provide a breadth of subject ideas, often including Bible, Art, Literature, and Field Trips.

Homeschool Legacy Review

We were recently blessed to be able to use and review the digital versions of Forest For the Trees Once-A-Month Unit Study.  Forest For the Trees is a 4 week unit study that emphasizes the study of trees, appropriate for grades 2-12.  Week One is about Tree Identification, Week Two - Tree Anatomy, Week Three -What Trees Provide and Week Four - Forests and Forestry.

While I often prefer hard copies of our curriculum, one of the advantages of the digital download version is that it has embedded links your student can go to for additional information.

How we used this program -

Science - Each week has at least one science experiment. We learned things from how trees get their nutrients to leaf transpiration and photosynthesis.  Of course, anything that involves water is a favorite here, so add food coloring and yes, that famous celery experiment was Colby's favorite, of course.

Art - Projects included various ideas from taking pictures of the things you cooked to sketching trees you see.  Bark rubbings were our favorite.  We just happened to have a cross section from a tree that was recently taken down in our yard that we used for art as well.

Bible - Each week a different family devotional is presented.  Though they are related to the theme you are studying (in our case, trees), each week is a little different.  A quick paragraph is used as an opening to get you ready to tie in the Bible, then a passage is given for you to read and discuss on your own.  We were able to talk about God's creation, Jesus being living water, fruits of the Spirit, and the tree of knowledge and the tree of life.   This is just one of the fun ways Homeschool Legacy gets the whole family involved and requires no prep work on your part.

Field Trips - This is one area we opted out of for now because of our busy summer schedule. However, activities such as visiting an old growth forest, a nursery, or an apple orchard to pick apples were suggested.  I will say that after discussing the Great Sequoia Redwoods, we would now like to visit California!

Literature - At the beginning of the study is a literature resource list of books you can gather for non-readers.  Additionally, at the beginning of each week there is a list of books and/or videos to be used at your discretion.  All books and videos listed have been screened for objectionable content, but always be sure to check them out for yourself to be safe.  A quick trip to your local library or even your own bookshelf can fill your days and nights with reading.  There are also read-alouds listed so the whole family can be engaged.

Other areas of study included Science/Research, Language, and Physical/Fun/Life Skills. Yes, that is a lot to do.  But remember, you can do as much or as little as you want or are able to do.  That is the glory of unit studies and of homeschooling.  The publishers encourage you use these studies to fit the needs of your family.

What did we think?
There is a lot to like about these unit studies!  While Homeschool Legacy does have a suggested schedule you can use in which you concentrate on the biggest part of the week's information on one particular day, they also encourage you to be flexible and make things fit for your family.  There is so much offered to do that even if you decide to use this daily, you will not run out of ideas, trust me.

Another fun way that these unit studies seek to engage a whole family is their Stump Your Dad trivia. Each week has a fun trivia fact for the kids to try to stump dad, or another important person in their life with to help a child in sharing their new  knowledge learned.

A bonus to Homeschool Legacy's Unit Studies is that they have closely matched many of them to requirements for Boy Scouts and American Heritage Girl Badges. Each activity in the study is clearly marked with a separate symbol for each to designate what activities fulfill those organizations' specific badge requirements.  On the website you can also print out a list of the studies that meet the requirements for quick reference.  Because homeschooling can take up a lot of time, it is a huge blessing to be able to also fulfill Scout badge requirements at the same time.  I am all about killing two birds with one stone and look forward to doing additional units because of that alone!

Another HUGE advantage I see to using the Once-A-Week Unit Studies is that they cover a wide breadth of ages in their information and activities.  While I kept Salem, age 13, busy with research and leaf identification, Colby enjoyed the art and science projects more.  As with any time we use living books in our homeschooling, there is often reading that they can do together.

Quite honestly, the biggest reason I have steered away from the unit study model in the past was the great deal of time it typically takes to plan them on your own.  It often requires a lot of research and energy to match all of your subjects up with one theme.  With a company like Homeschool Legacy doing all the leg work for you and putting it into their well organized, easy to use studies, your prep time has just been cut down to almost zero!  Sounds like a great deal to me!

Fellow crew members reviewed different units on the series so I encourage you to read all about their experiences by clicking on the banner below.

Homeschool Legacy Review
Crew Disclaimer

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