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How Do I Teach American History?
I’ve been asking myself this question. Going into the new school year, I knew that one thing I really needed to do was find some way to teach American History on a deeper level than what we’ve done already. As we continue to work through World History with the Mystery of History, we needed to find a way to study American History, too. How was I going to do this? And then at the Teach Them Diligently convention in Nashville, I discovered Homeschool Legacy’s Once-A-Week unit studies.
Eager to try the Once-A-Week unit studies for myself, Homeschool Legacy has provided me with one of their newest units, Westward Ho!, Volume 1. The most recent study–Westward Ho!, Volume 2–completes volume 1 before moving onto the Civil War (currently in production!)
What are the Homeschool Legacy Once-A-Week Unit Studies?
The unit studies put out by Homeschool Legacy are intended for intent focus one day a week, with related literature reading throughout the rest of the week. The unit studies are designed to be easily implemented and can be used along with other unit studies/curriculum but they are strong enough to stand on their own as the sole curriculum source.
Homeschool Legacy has a variety of Life Science units as well, but I’m particularly interested in the American History series. With a large emphasis on literature, incorporating a family Bible study, and encouraging a family movie night (in addition to mapping, Geography and Language Arts,) the unit studies are nicely structured.
Their American History series begins with Native America and progresses chronologically through the Civil War (coming soon.) More units will be added in the future. Each unit is a 4-8 week study, ranging in price from $15.95 to $19.95, that is prepared for you and requires very little extra effort on your part (and I really do love that part!)
Matching Methods With Homeschool Legacy
It goes without saying that if you are a unit study kind of homeschooler, you’re going to enjoy these once-a-week unit studies. Unit Study schoolers aren’t the only ones who will enjoy these. If you like literature based education, you will probably deeply appreciate the structure of these studies. Most likely these will appeal to many Charlotte Mason homeschoolers as well. As an eclectic homeschooler who enjoys incorporating a little bit of all of the above, we really quite enjoy this!
Great American Literature with Homeschool Legacy
For our first week of study, we came home with ten books from the library. . . ranging from fun tall tales, illustrated young biographies, and the well loved “The Courage of Sarah Noble,” (which none of us had read before.) My son, skeptical about all the read-alouds I brought home, was immediately drawn into the idea with the outlandish tall tale of Paul Bunyan. Several other tall tales and a writing assignment later, my kids have not only gained an insight into life at the time, but also grasped the elements and style of the American Tall Tale.
A variety of chapter and picture biographies about famous men such as Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and other Mountain Men served to set the stage for our Westward Ho! unit study. Rounding that out with a picture encyclopedia about life in the West and the Sarah Noble story, our literature choices did well to provide a good solid base for the study. Continuing into the second week, more books about pioneer life and favorites such as “Caddie Woodlawn” and “Little House in the Big Woods” continue guiding us on our literary journey through the American frontier.
Diving Into Maps and Other Things in the American History Unit Study
In addition to your literature spine for the study, the lesson plans do a splendid job of incorporating all subjects through a variety of activities and assigments. Additional activities range from making a timeline, mapping, writing assignments, vocabulary study, to arts and crafts and even some baking!
My kids thrive with hands on projects. Not only do the additional activities help us study the time period, but they also help me make school more fun. (I also have the added perk of sneaking in things like writing assignments and vocabulary in the name of “fun.”)
Working through these activities with your children might also help you learn about your children’s interests as well. As we sat down that first week to set up our timeline and make copies of the map for our notebooks, I learned that my oldest really loves mapping. She’s never complained, but she’s never said how much she enjoyed it. I’m thrilled to give her more of what she loves, but more so, I’m thrilled to now have that key piece of knowledge.
So Many Benefits
I’ve already mentioned many great things about these American History unit studies. Let’s recap, and add a few more:
- literature based
- suitable for group learning
- for grades 2-12
- makes learning fun
- matches our homeschool style
- good incorporation of other skills and subjects
- Bible study
- family movie night
- field trips
- periodical “Stump Your Dad” trivia questions
- earn merit badges for Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls
- no prep work
Once-A-Week Unit Studies For American History
We’re still working on our Westward Ho! Volume 1 unit study, but I already know that we will continue to use the Homeschool Legacy studies for all of our American History. It really is a great match for our homeschool and perfectly meets our needs. (This is just what I’ve been looking for.)
Because we do have a lot of other curriculum to get to, we divide the one day’s work across two days without any trouble at all. And as we add in lots of literature, and possibly documentaries as well, we may end up spending two weeks instead of one for some of the chapters. It’s very flexible.
When I looked through these at the Teach Them Diligently convention, I had a pretty good idea that we *would* like them, but I’m really thankful to have the chance to go through one with my kids to see how well they like it. And I’m really eager to share this with you today, and to give you an opportunity to win your own unit study at Thursday’s Mommy Time Party. Would you like to win one?
Win Your Own Once-A-Week Unit Study from Homeschool Legacy
Homeschool Legacy is giving away one unit study (of your choice) for the Mommy Time Facebook Party. The giveaway will go live at 8pm Eastern Time and be open for one week. Enter the giveaway in the widget below:
**Disclosure: I received a free copy of Westward Ho! Part 1 for review, as well as compensation for sponsor participation in the Mommy Time Party. But as always, compensation in any form will never sway my devotion to my readers and my commitment to providing a true and ethical review. I love you guys. I’m also now a big fan of Homeschool Legacy, and I hope you like them, too. Thanks!**