I love unit studies. When I was a teacher, I designed my whole year around unit studies. I’ve been hearing about Homeschool Legacy‘s Once a Week Unit studies for quite some time now. It just so happens that company was founded by a family in our local homeschool community. When I was presented with the opportunity through the Schoolhouse Review Crew to Review the Westward Ho I (5 weeks) and Westward Ho II (4 weeks) unit studies from Homeschool Legacy, I was so excited.
My children have been on the prairie for about two years now… What I mean by that is … my children discovered the Little House on the Prairie books about two years ago. They fell in love and have been obsessed ever since. We read the books… often! The kids check out the books on cd every time we go to the library and listen to them every night. I finally convinced them to watch the TV series. I decided to embrace the prairie life for the last half of our school year. Westward Ho I and II were seriously the perfect companion to the kids’ prairie love!
A unit study is an all encompassing way of doing school. You start with a topic (in our case- Western Expansion) and build your curriculum around it. All the history, language arts, science, art, etc. is focused on the topic. Unit studies allow a great way to teach multiple ages and abilities.
Homeschool Legacy was created by a homeschool mom of two boys. She created these unit studies to use with her own family and was able to turn it into a business to share with the greater homeschool community. I, for one, am very thankful for creative and organized minds who are gifted in pulling together things like this.
Westward Ho I and Westward Ho II
We received the digital version of Westward Ho I (5 weeks) and Westward Ho II (4 Weeks). The two eBooks are full of information, hands on activities, reading lists, maps, and more. If you are part of Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls, you can work towards merit badges and such with these studies. We are not part of either of those organizations … so I didn’t really dive into this aspect.
The Unit studies require no prep. All the information you need and student worksheets are included in the study. Because it is in digital form, links are available to take you to different sites, including YouTube, that are helpful in increasing the experience. Homeschool Legacy Units are Biblically based and include family devotions each week. This study is appropriate for grades 2- 12 (although my kindergartner was hanging in there with us as well).
The Westward Ho studies cover the time of the American Pioneers. We followed the wagon train across the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone and followed the words of Horace Greeley- “Go West Young Man!” The unit covers the time in American when we were rapidly moving west, forging paths, building canals and railroads, and meeting adventurous pioneers and fontiersmen.
How We Used Homeschool Legacy
As I said, we have been on the prairie for some time now. I decided to embrace it and fully jump in with the Westward Ho Unit Studies. We take time each day to explore the frontier with Homeschool Legacy. Each week has a suggested reading list with classic family read alouds. To start our school day, I spend time reading from books off the suggested list. We read Little House in the Big Woods (of course), Caddie Woodlawn, and the Sign of the Beaver. We have not completed the unit studies yet, but are looking forward to what other fun books we can discover.
After I read, the kids gather around the computer and we read a little of the historical information. We might watch a video or look at pictures from back in the day. We learn about the men who led the way to the west. The study encourages keeping a timeline. We did that as a whole group instead of having them do it individually. Most of the time, we talk about how something happened “Before Laura and Mary” or “After Laura and Mary” (Ingalls that is).
The kids have really enjoyed the extra activities like playing period games, making butter, writing their own tall tales, throwing a prairie party, and “Stump Your Dad” trivia. Each week has a fun fact. The kids learn the trivia question and answer and then get to ask their dad fun questions like “where did the term ‘turnpike’ come from?” or “In 1850, the US Army transported freight from Texas to California by what means?”
And if that’s not enough, each study includes and introduction to using unit studies, how to manage your time, and suggested family movie nights and field trips.
What Did We Think
If you haven’t figured it out, we really like the Westward Ho Unit Studies from Homeschool Legacy. I would HIGHLY recommend any of the Once a Week studies. I am particularly fond of the time of the pioneers and have thoroughly enjoyed the Westward Ho studies right alongside my children.
Our homeschool association hosts enrichment classes each semester. I know of times when these Once a Week studies have been used as the curriculum for some of the classes.