Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Horse Unit - A New TOS Review!!

Our family has been using unit studies for quite some time.  We love them.  They are a fun way to break up the monotony and give some spark to the regular ins and outs of the homeschooling life. So when I heard that the Crew had the opportunity to review a company who does unit studies and I hadn't heard of them I was sure to try and get on the list.

The Product:
This 'new to me' company is called Homeschool Legacy and they have a series called Once-A-Week Unit Studies where you can complete a unit in just one day per week over four weeks and the units are created for grades 2 - 12 so that all your students can use them at the same time.  Each unit is between $15.95 and $19.95.

In each lesson the creator, Sharon, has broken it into pieces showing you exactly what is being covered - science, art, research, language, family devotional, life skills, history, music, drama, fun and games, family devotionals, family read alouds, family movie nights and even weekly field trips! The units have also been created so that if you are in the Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls that they can fulfill requirements to earn badges - that is pretty awesome (and we're hoping that sometime we will have the American Heritage Girls groups here.) You can also use them to help with your 4H Project Records if your children are in 4H too.  There's even an "Stump Your Dad Trivia" at the end of each 'weekly' unit so you can include dad even if he's been at work all day.

Sharon Gibson, the creator/author of these units and company, designed these units to help build a strong foundation of family togetherness all the while we continue with homeschooling.  Unit studies are wonderful because you can interact with them and get immersed in a subject and use all the senses with a more hands-on approach to learning.  She believes that the family time and all the fond memories will help build a legacy while you are homeschooling.

All of her units are multi-sensory and cover a wide variety of topics so you can use these as your main curriculum for history and science as long as you chose about 4 for either subject.  Sharon has even given a sample of how to schedule your week with your unit so you know exactly how to proceed. The  Once-A-Week Units are supposed to be done just as it says -- on one day of the week.  Then throughout the week your children will be working on their daily activities which would either be their own independent reading or the family read-aloud.  Then the field trips are to be done on a completely different day, say on Fridays or Saturdays when you all can be together as a family.

Each week also has all the books for the library reading and video choices spelled out for you at the beginning of that appropriate week.  And she includes the Dewey Decimal numbers so even if you can't find the exact book or video listed you will be able to look at the ones in the same area and find something similar.  Thankfully that wasn't much of an issue - with us being able to find the correct books - especially with our hold process (we can rent books from almost anywhere in the state).

Our Experience:
There were a slew of units to choose from including:
Early Settlers
Lewis & Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea
Forest for the Trees
Birds of a Feather
Horsing Around

My main reason for choosing our unit, Horsing Around ($15.95), was because I have one daughter who is totally in love with all things horses.  So I knew this would be something that would keep her really interested. And I was right.  When Audrie heard we'd be doing a unit on horses she was beside herself!!

As soon as the unit came I read through it and started to put books on hold - some were available immediately at the library and others I had to wait until they came in from a neighboring library.  Doing the unit once a week was a completely different approach then what we've done in the past and I think it fit us well.  We spent one full day fully engaged in all things horse and then continued on with our other studies throughout the week.  The family read-aloud kept us all in touch with the horse unit as well as the family movie night and field trip ideas.

Unfortunately we have not been able to complete any of the field trips.  My husband had just had a HUGE change in his work schedule so what that means for us is that he is gone most every day all day and he has our only mode of transportation.  However, we are fortunate to live right next to a small farm which has some horses so we were able to go and view those horses instead of doing one of the other field trips. However, I do plan on completing the suggested field trips as soon as we have a secondary car or I can plan it into the schedule.
Here are some pictures of the girls working on their unit.  One is them looking for a horse supply store in the yellow pages. Another is copying down a poem about a blacksmith - a necessary person to know when you own horses.

I was also happy to have already DVR'd one of the "family movies" Seabiscuit which we plan on watching this week as part of daddy's 'birthday celebration' week.

This unit also came at a great time.  We had watched a LOT of the equestrian events on the Olympics since I also had DVR'd all of them too.  They had already learned about eventing, dressage, and even driving - all new terms and ideas - and these same terms and ideas were in the unit!  Arianna and Audrie have really enjoyed this unit.  Since they are just in 2nd and 4th grades they have taken a little longer to get through the independent reading so we'll be continuing this unit a little more. They also want to set up the "Cowboy Fun Night" to celebrate the end of the unit where there will certainly be a lot of  "horsin' around". ;)

My Thoughts:
I will definitely be checking out some of the other titles that are offered by Homeschool Legacy.  I encourage you to take some time and read how other Crew members used their units into their homeschool by clicking on the banner below.  You can email them if you have any further questions.


*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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