Sunday, May 17, 2015

Our Review of Homeschool Legacy's Forest for the Trees

Our family was blessed to be selected by Homeschool Legacy to review their Forest for the Trees unit study!
Homeschool Legacy Review

Our family has been completing a Botany unit this spring and I wanted to add some information concerning trees and tree identification. We were very excited to be chosen by Homeschool Legacy
to review their 4 week Forest for the Trees unit study.  This 4 week unit study is appropriate for 2-12th grade and came as a digital download. I downloaded the PDF's and opened them using our Nitro Pro 8 software. I saved the PDFs onto my hard drive and then printed them out to place into a binder for easier use.

Once we put our binder together we were eager to start looking through the lessons. The unit study begins with information concerning how to earn a Forestry Merit badge through the Boy Scout program. Several of the other unit studies offered through Homeschool Legacy also have options to earn badges through the American Heritage Girl program as well.

The next section outlined how to schedule your week while using the Homschool Legacy unit studies. The author suggests having the children read through the required books 4 days a week with the fifth day dedicated entirely to completing the unit study program. This worked well into our existing school week schedule of four days of academics and the fifth day spent following our various interests. We added the unit study program to our Friday schedule and decided to spend the day with my father, an avid outdoors man. We traveled the 30min to his wooded lot each Friday to work on our unit study material. Our children were able to spend extra time with their grandfather and learn from his knowledge of trees and nature in general.

Each week we covered a different aspect of forestry.

Week 1: Tree Identification
Week 2: Tree Anatomy
Week 3: What Tree's Give Us
Week 4: Forests and Forestry

Each weekly study begins with a list of library books and video choices. The author has listed not only the title and author of the book but also the call numbers. There are several books listed for each week with an asterisk next to any books (or equivalent content) that are required  to complete for each weekly assignment. I don't know about you but this mama really appreciates that the call numbers are also listed. Having this information already researched for me made selecting the books at our local library very quick and simple. The children read through these books through out the week in small bursts and can then use them on the unit study day as reference materials if needed.

Next up is a list of supplies needed to complete the assignments within the unit study day. I also seriously appreciated having all of the supplies needed already outlined for me. There is nothing worse than being halfway through an assignment and realizing that we are missing a vital supply
item. We chose to corral all of our supplies into a plastic "project box" we found at Costco. We were able to easily bring the box with us to my parent's house each week as well as on our nature walks each week.

We then jumped into the weekly activities. These are broken down based on the subject area. There are areas such as Family Devotionals, Science experiments, Vocabulary, Research, Language, Art, Physical, History, Life Skills, and Field Trips. Under each subject area there are assignments to complete. These range from keeping a field journal and identifying 15 different types of trees, making applesauce, sprouting a seed, experimenting with osmosis and transpiration, planting your own tree, and much much more!  Each section was clearly broken down and easy to follow.

Our family thoroughly enjoyed completing each of these weekly assignments. Our favorite would have to be the nature journals.

We had a lot of fun wandering through the woods and identifying trees for our nature journals. For the nature journals themselves we found some bound notebooks, small storage bags for our specimen collections, and colored pencils. Our girls have inherited my love of school supplies so setting up the notebooks and filling them with our findings was very exciting. I  am sure we will continue to fill them as the spring and summer progresses.

I would have to say that the unit was a hit with our girls. We enjoyed all of the activities and I feel that the girls learned a great deal about trees uses and how to go about identifying various trees. I would very much like to explore the other unit studies offered by Homeschool Legacy. They offer a variety of unit studies covering several different subject areas. Homeschool Legacy was very generous and provided several of their other unit studies to the Schoolhouse Review Crew Members for review. These include:

Birds of a Feather
Forest for the Trees 
Horsing Around 
Weather on the Move  
Christmas Comes to America 
Knights & Nobles 
Native America 
Early Settlers 
Revolutionary Ideas: The Story of the American Revolution  
We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution (4th grade and up)
Lewis & Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea 
Westward Ho I
Westward Ho II 

If you would like to hear what the other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members thought about Homeschool Legacy's Forest for the Trees or any of the unit studies listed above click here, or on the banner below!

Homeschool Legacy Review
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