Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lewis & Clark by Homeschool Legacy - A Review

"Lewis & Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea" Once-a-Week Unit Study


by Homeschool Legacy



Grades 2 - 12

Several other topics, in both history and science, are also available.

More details from the website:

"Get on board! Join Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery as they explore Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana purchase and expand America's borders from sea to shining sea.

Lewis & Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea is a fascinating 7-week unit study that will take you back in time and introduce you to the explorers of New France, Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as Thomas Jefferson and his Louisiana Purchase, before setting off on an adventure of a lifetime!

(Boy Scouts earn their Nature merit badge/American Heritage Girls earn their Nature & Wildlife badge.)

*Biblically Centered
*Easy No Prep Unit Study
*BSA Nature Merit Badge
*AHG Nature & Wildlife Badge

Our Thoughts:

Wow, I feel like I am saying this a lot lately.  But it just keeps coming up.  And it is a subject near and dear to me.  I don't like textbooks for history.  They tend to be dry and boring, and quickly pass from one subject to another without delving into any topic for long.

I prefer to use living books, unit studies, documentaries, etc.  So, Homeschool Legacy's products are "right up my alley."  I love history and I love living books and I love unit studies.  So what is there for me not to like about this program?  I think this program is awesome.

I chose the Lewis and Clark unit study because my 13 year old daughter was in a play last year called, "The Westward Movement" and it had a scene about Lewis and Clark.  So I figured we would spend some time learning more about it.  It was a great choice.  This is such an amazing story, full of adventure and hardship, perseverance and God's guiding hand through it all.

Sharon Gibson has done all the prep work for you.  You simply read it and use it.  It truly is that simple.  Your whole family can come together for the unit study, targeting grades 2 - 12.  Lists of reading books to choose from are included for each week's topic, ranging from pre-readers to advanced readers.  And if you choose to make it more challenging for older students, Sharon suggests using the included Dewey Decimal location to find suitable books in the adult section.  Only specially marked books on the list are required reading.  The rest are up to you, as the parent, to pick and choose, which also makes it easier to find a suitable substitute if your library doesn't have an exact title. If you decide to substitute, keep in mind that the choices listed in the unit study have already been carefully screened.  She even mentions "need-to-knows" like the movie selection of "Bears" having one reference to tens of thousands of years.

This program makes it easy to improvise and adjust to what works for you.  But the suggested schedule is to assign the independent and group readings on your "regular" school days.  Then work on the "once-a-week" activities on Wednesdays, leaving time on Fridays or Saturdays for Family Game/Movie night and field trips.  Ms. Gibson includes a movie each week to go along with the studies, readily available from NetFlix (and possibly your library).  This is  a very do-able schedule.  Wednesday gives a nice break from the text books, while still learning plenty and Fridays give the children something special to look forward to, which is still related to the weekly study.

I love that character training is built into the program.  For example, the Corps "persevered" through some very trying times, things that would have sent many of us running.  So the family devotion for Week 5 will focus on perseverance.  Of course, with the mention of the Fruit of the Spirit in Week 6, my daughters broke into song.  They memorized a song about the Fruit of the Spirit several years ago.  So any time the Fruit comes up, they burst into song.

Geography studies flow naturally throughout the unit.  Seeing an outlined map of how the United States doubled in size over night with the Louisiana Purchase was mind-blowing.  Can you imagine?  A country doubling in size without a single gun being fired?  Without a single life being lost?  I kept emphasizing this to my daughters, wanting to make sure they really got it.  This is just unheard of.  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the President jumped on it.

I also appreciate how Ms. Gibson ties in other events going on at the same time, to help put things into perspective and to help us see how these events were just a small part of the big scheme.  Did you realize that Napoleon Bonaparte was ruling during the same time as the Louisiana Purchase?  Or that he had intentions of landing at the Port of New Orleans, before incurring a major setback?  Did you know that the Corps gave a slave equal voting rights when deciding where to camp for the winter?  This was 65 years before slaves had the "official" right to vote in the United States.  After learning that Native Americans weren't allowed to vote until 1924, my 13 year old commented that "we" haven't always been very nice.  She is so right.  We should celebrate our triumphs, like the major feat of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  But also should learn from the mistakes of the past, like prejudice.  And that we don't always have to go with the "flow".  Lewis and Clark definitely went against the norm of the time by allowing both Sacagawea and Clark's slave an equal vote.

Fort Clatsop - Winter Quarters

Art projects, science experiments, composition assignments, and more.  This unit study truly is well rounded and thorough.  This unit study covers a variety of subjects, using a variety of learning styles.

Each lesson ends with a "Stump Your Dad" trivia.  I haven't met a child yet who isn't thrilled to show up a parent, to proudly know a fact that mom or dad doesn't know.  One of my sensitive little girls melted my heart though.  She said that she thought the name should be changed to something else, like "Stump an Adult".  Because if a child didn't have a dad, she would be sad every time she read the title.  Sweet girl.

If you would like to know more about how it all works and how to put it to use, here is a detailed suggested schedule.

I highly recommend this series.  It is so easy to use.  It uses the Living Book and Unit Study approach which I love.  It makes it easy to incorporate my whole family.  The books and movies are already selected and pre-screened for me.  Art projects and science activities are planned out for me.  Research and composition assignments are great for the older children.  Younger children can share what they have learned verbally or write just a few lines, depending on their age. 

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge, as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.


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