Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Homeschool Legacy's We the People


The Boy Scout is about 15 months away from earning his Eagle Scout.  That's really phenomenal considering he's only 13.  My brother challenged him to earn his wings before wheels and he's been working hard to do just that.  One of the Eagle-required merit badges -- Citizenship in the Nation -- is also one of the hardest merit badges to earn..  We've spent the past 6 weeks working on it during our school day and studying different components of it as a family.   I really like when we can double-dip and meet scout requirements as we study and pray together and Homeschool Legacy is giving us just that opportunity.

Born from a passion to help homeschooling families build a strong, GODly family legacy, Homeschool Legacy provides fun unit studies that you work on a minimum of once a week.  (Although you are welcome to work on it more, if you like, working just once a week will give you loads of materials to cover AND give you a break from your traditional texts.)  With over 10 different studies to choose from, there is something perfect for every family.  We've been using an 8-week study called We the People:  Getting to Know Your Constitution and we are ALL learning quite a bit.  As a Political Science graduate, this makes my heart proud.  {We are 6 weeks into We the People -- so almost done.  Now, I get to choose which one to order next.}  

PhotobucketA really neat thing for us is the fact that while we are studying and playing games and watching movies that complement the unit study, my Boy Scout is meeting the requirements for his Citizenship in the Nation merit badge.  I LOVE that Sharon Gibson (veteran homeschool mom and author of these studies) has designed the Once-a-Week Unit Studies to coincide with different Boy Scout requirements for many of the available merit badges.  That is quite the bonus for us.  (They also provide the necessary requirements for American Heritage Girls' badges if your daughters are a part of that.  Neat, huh?)

The Unit Studies all range from 4 - 8 weeks long and most are totally appropriate for students in grades 2 - 12.  (The one exception to this grade range is We the People and it is designed for students in grades 4 - 12.)  The studies are simply perfect for homeschool families (and you can TELL that they were written by someone who has been in our shoes) because there is absolutely NO prep work to be done.  Yes, you read that correctly.  NO PREP WORK.  Isn't that wonderful?  You can simply open your book and begin teaching and learning together.  And did I mention that there is a BIBLE study devotion to go with each week's lessons?  These unit studies are just PERFECT.  Other subject areas covered in each unit study are literature, language arts, history, science, geography, art, music, and life skills.  Areas of research are also included, as well as field trip ideas.

Each study comes with a list of library books that will deepen your study.  We had quite a few of the books on the list and found the rest at our local library.  But, what would you do if your library system didn't have the books listed in the unit study?  Could you still use the study and would your children gain anything from it?  YES and YES and YES.  That's one of the great things about these studies.  Not only does Sharon Gibson tell you which books would be wonderful to study each week, but she also gives you the Dewey decimal numbers for each book.  If for some reason YOUR library doesn't have the suggested books, you can simply find the numbers close to those suggested and substitute with similar titles.  Again, the Once-a-Week Unit Studies are PERFECT for homeschoolers.

I've been using We the People with both the Princess and the Boy Scout (6th and 8th grades) and it has become one of their favorite parts of the week.  Because we have been studying about the birth of our Nation this year, We the People came at the perfect time for us.  There's really nothing like being able to add fun and excitement to history and helping it to come alive for your children.  Any time I can add hands-on activities, movies, games and taste-testing to a lesson, I know I have a winner.  My kids LOVE doing it and they retain so much more than they do if we are simply reading.

There are a ton of benefits to once-a-week unit studies (and you can see a comprehensive list here). Some of our favorite parts of the study were that it was biblically centered {okay, so that's MY favorite part}, it includes games that we can play as a family, and it also includes family-friendly movies that complement the study.  All of those things really do help you build relationships while making family memories.

The pictures below are from the Preamble Scramble game.  Whew, do we need to work on our cutting skills . . . BUT they have had a GREAT time seeing who can put the Preamble together the quickest.


Okay, so here are the nuts and bolts of We the People.  The 8-week study focuses on a different aspect of the Constitution each week.  Week 1 begins with The State of the New Nation and Week 8 ends with a study of Your National Symbols.  A suggested schedule is included or you can work the activities around your own schedule -- which is how it worked best for us.  Week 1 found us dissecting the 23rd Psalm during our family devotion time, adding figures to our history timeline, discussing what the world would be like if the Declaration of Independence had never been written, eating George Washington hoecakes (yummy pancakes with a twist), and taking an online virtual tour of Mount Vernon.

Week 4 found us studying the Legislative Branch of government.  In our Family Devotional time, we took an in-depth look at the Ten Commandments.  We were able to meet with our State Representative and talk to him about homeschooling.  He shared with us that he thinks homeschooling is a wonderful thing.  Neat stuff.  We sang along with Schoolhouse Rock's How a Bill Becomes a Law and watched that classic movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  In Week 5 we covered the Executive Branch of government and had frank discussions about the current presidential administration.  I enjoy hearing my children express their opinions about our country -- and I'm pleased that their opinions are knowledge-based.  We spent time listening to speeches and were able to dissect them for fact vs. conjecture.  I even had them give their own speeches of introduction so they'd realize that it's not so easy to stand in front of others and talk out loud.

We are thoroughly enjoying our time studying the Constitution and I believe I'm growing good citizens in the process.  Everyone should know exactly what our country was founded for -- the ideals and beliefs that went into its making.  Only through reading the Constitution and learning about our history can we make things better for our future.

Available to purchase for only $19.95, We the People:  Getting to Know Your Constitution is a great unit study to engage your family in during this election season.  My children have learned much through their weekly lessons and activities and are actually understanding the entire election process.  The "red state/blue state" makes sense to them now and they are showing interest in the political process.  That's really fun for this political science major turned mom.  :)  Order your copy today -- and start having fun as you learn.

We're Studying the Constitution because WE really ARE THE PEOPLE.


~Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to use and review Once-A-Week Unit Studies by Homeschool Legacy as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I received a copy of We the People in exchange for my honest review.  You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Crew thought of Homeschool Legacy's Once-a-Week Unit Studies.~

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