Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Homeschool Legacy

I have found unit studies to be a welcome break from the sometimes monotonous daily grind of homeschooling. Typically, my children will express special interest in a certain subject, which will inspire me to put together some type of simple unit study for us to explore that subject deeper. Though this may sound lovely in theory, once I need to actually start pulling together materials from multiple sources to make that unit study meaningful, it becomes much less appealing. 

When I had the opportunity to review the once-a-week unit studies from Homeschool Legacy, I sensed that I just may have found the answer to this dilemma. We had the privilege to review Knights and Nobles, which is a four week unit study that is already assembled and ready to begin with extremely little preparation on the parent's part.

What is Homeschool Legacy? This is a company that was started and is run by a homeschooler! That experience is priceless when it comes to designing curriculum. The purpose of their unit studies has always been to bring families closer together, while helping the children thoroughly learn a certain topic utilizing all their senses, and applying it to all their subjects. 

What makes this unit study different?  This curriculum is extremely flexible, allowing us to take 4+ weeks to cover a topic, while incorporating it into our weekly routine and already established curriculum plan. It is meaty enough to really allow the children to dig deeply and learn, yet flexible enough that it fits into our routine and works for us. 

What grade level is this for? There are so many suggested reading materials, videos, activities, and games that nearly all age groups can find something to study, which is what makes this ideal for our family - we have grades 5-12, with a college kid as well. We found the material interesting enough that all of them could find something new to learn, and be able to participate on a level that was comfortable to them. This was neat because it meant the whole family could learn together and have meaningful discussions about the material.

How does the unit study correlate with current curriculum? In each week's lesson, there are ways to utilize math, reading, science, history, vocabulary words, writing, art, and even suggestions for field trips!   There is also a family devotion given for each week, which gives a spiritual application to that week's lessons.

What is covered in Knights and Nobles?

In Week One, students will learn about castles. Activities include learning how to play chess, building a castle, and learning/answering questions about medieval times.        

Week Two discusses Kings and Queens, and includes some really neat historical artwork.                                                                                                                                                
In Week Three, students really focus on Knights, and learn about the many things that made them special. The projects for this week are fascinating, including making their own catapult, 'shield', and 'stained glass'.  I love the family devotional about the armor of God this week.      

Week Four helps the student understand what "Life on a Manor" was like, complete with a great explanation of the socio-political structure of medieval times. 

There is an optional week five which teaches the family how to make a medieval feast. The recipes look great, and though we haven't had this feast yet, we are planning it for the very near future. 

A Bonus feature: Completing this unit study will fulfill a badge requirement for a Boy Scout or American Heritage Girl. It can also be used as a 4-H project. With completion of enough of the suggested materials, I feel this study could also be used as the sole history curriculum.

Why is it "once-a-week"? - The unit is designed to be pulled out and used by the entire family just like the title implies - once a week. There is a family devotion, several fun activities, and several 'learning' activities that don't really seem like work. It is designed this way to not be a burden to families. Like any good home school material though, there is definitely potential to expand it beyond once a week if the parent wishes to do so. With all the lists of suggested materials to read and view, there is plenty available to dip into it a little bit each day if the student and parent choose to do so.

What I liked best: There are several things I really like about this unit study. First is that everything (and I mean everything!) is laid out. There is absolutely NO prep work on the parent's part. Once I purchase the study, I can open it and start immediately if I wish. Even the lists of suggested reading materials have the correlating Dewey Decimal numbers to make the books easy to find at the library. Movies are listed along with the source to find them for viewing (typically NetFlix). 

I also love the flexibility of this program. If you can't find a certain book or movie, it is not a problem at all. There are plenty of alternatives listed. In fact, parents are encouraged to only pick a few of the resources, to not try to 'do it all', and there are plenty of substitute materials listed in case the parent can not find one of the titles. I love that there is no pressure to complete lists and lists of resources. The information contained in the unit study itself is very thorough, and the resources are just listed to make it easy for those who want to dig deeper.

How to purchase: The unit study can be purchased from the Homeschool Legacy Shop in either paperback or digital format. 

Check it out: The website has a sample week posted to get an idea what is included.

I like this program because I feel like I can successfully accomplish it! As a home school mom, I want to learn cool and awesome things together with my kids, and I feel like this unit study makes that possible. 

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The Crew reviewed these thirteen different historical and scientific unit studies from Homeschool Legacy, pictured above. To read how they were used in other home schools, click the banner below:

Homeschool Legacy Review
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