Saturday, November 16, 2013

Homeschool Legacy Once-a-Week Unit Studies - Christmas Comes to America Review

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

Homeschool Legacy Once-a-Week-Unit Studies are Christian centered and designed for grades 2 - 12. They were created by a veteran homeschool mom of 16 yrs Sharon Gibson. The unit studies were designed with YOU in mind to help your children have fun learning and you have more fun teaching. There are currently thirteen Once-a-Week Unit Studies. Once-a-Week Unit Studies are designed so you can dive right in and get started. You can either complement your current science or history curriculum or you can replace it with your Once-a-Week Unit Study...the choice is up to you. They are also great for the ENTIRE family. If your child is in Boy Scouts of AmericaAmerica Heritage Girls, or in 4H, Homeschool Legacy's unit studies will also help your child earn merit badges. 

A moms review:
It's no secret that we love unit studies. Our homeschool days are centered around unit studies and topics that my children are interested in. Every November and December my children want to learn guessed it....Thanksgiving and Christmas! So I was super excited when Homeschool Legacy asked me if I would review their Christmas Comes to America Once-a-Week Unit Study!  If you are not familiar with what a unit study is click here to find out more and here to find out why you should use Homeschool Legacy Unit Studies. Be sure to also read our Birds of a Feather Once-a-Week unit study review here.

The Christmas Comes to America unit study is 52 pages and  designed for the ENTIRE family. As the name implies it is a once-a-week unit study spanning over 4 weeks. We reviewed a digital copy but the copies that are purchased from the website are hard copies that will be mailed to you. These unit studies are multi-sensory and great for both boys and girls.

Christmas Comes to America will get your children excited about the upcoming holiday by teaching them about the origins of our classic traditions and how they came to us by way of the early settlers! There are included devotionals, arts and crafts, field trips ideas and recommended book, music and movie selections and lots more. Children who are a Boy Scout or American Heritage Girl can also earn their, "Music Merit Badge" by completing the unit study!

It is important to note that this one of Homeschool Legacy's least laborious unit studies. This unit study is meant to be FUN for the entire family. It will help your family embrace Christmas and spend time together as a family, which is what the holidays are all about! We are not quite done with the unit study because I decided to actually expand on each section a little and we will be utilizing many of the recommended books, movies and activities throughout December. I used this unit with my 6 and 7 year old!

Breakdown Of Christmas Comes To America Unit Study:
The unit study begins with information on why you should do once-a-week unit studies. Then there is a table of contents, welcome letter, further information about the available unit studies and the Boy Scouts of America and America Heritage Girls badge worksheets (badge requirements are indicated by symbols throughout the unit study).

The next page discusses the sample schedule. Remember only one day will be your unit study day. The remaining days will be your regular daily studies along with your unit study reading and family read aloud. One day (recommended to be Friday) is reserved for your 3 R's, unit study reading and family read aloud, a field trip and family movie/game night. Again this is a suggested schedule and should be adjusted to best suit your families needs. If you are doing the unit study with younger children (or have a busy schedule) you may need to break up the unit study day and do an activity each day throughout the week (as was our case). Then there is a page with a beautiful Merry Christmas letter from the Gibsons!

Next there is a list with read-alouds for non-readers and optional books, videos and music to choose from. I really love when unit studies include book lists it makes it SO much easier to get the books from the library. Now we didn't use all the books on the list but we did use a several of them. Turns out our new library is a stickler for the, "only 2 holiday books checked out at a time rule"...but I convinced them to let me have out more because I was working on this review and promised to have the books back by December 1st!

The unit study is divided into 4 weeks covering the following topics:
  • The Dutch
  • The English
  • The Germans
  • An American Christmas
Each week follows a similar pattern:
Within each week you will first find a list of recommended books and videos (it is NOT intended you read all the books listed). Again this makes it super simple to find books before each week.
These books are ones that pertain to the particular topic for the week. Various activities are indicated in bold print and underlined throughout the week making them easier to find.

Each week follows a similar pattern:
  1. Information on the:  Focus: (ie Dutch, German, English or American Christmas), Gift Giver (ie Sinterklass, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christkindl) and how to say Merry Christmas in the native language. 
  2. Supply List - Many of the supplies we had around the house already, but there may be a few things you will need to pick up from the store or borrow from a friend or family member. 
  3. Daily Activities - which is independent reading and family read alouds.

Next are the Once-a-Week Activities (not all of these happen every week):
You can be flexible with these and adjust to fit your child's abilities. 
  • Family Devotional
  • History Topic
  • History and Geography Topic
  • Language Arts
  • Traditions/Culture
  • Life Skills/Gift Giving
  • Music and History (includes information for AHG and BSA)
  • Research/Field Trip
  • Fun/Science
  • Arts/Crafts
  • Family Movie Night

In the back of the unit study are several things you DON'T want to miss. First there is a great "Christmas Trivia Question List", even my 6 and 7 year old had fun answering these. Then there is a "More Fun Christmas Ideas" section, we are adding some of these to our advent calendar in December!  And lastly there is a section called "Getting The Most Out Of Your Once-a-Week Unit Study" which I highly suggest reading BEFORE you start. This is a very informational section covering more details about the Homeschool Legacy unit studies, merit badges, unit study learning, scheduling, lapbooking, research, writing assignments, reading and video choices, field trips, supply lists and more.

Breakdown Of How We Used The Unit Study:
First I made a trip to the library and checked out many of the recommended books...I also added a few that others that looked good. And we utilized some of the many Christmas books we already own.

Some of the books we've been using!

Next I made a list of supplies that we needed for some of the activities. Luckily we had almost everything on hand so I only  had to buy a few things. Some of the activities include: locating countries on a globe, making hot cocoa, listening to music, making instruments, watching holiday movies, making wassail, making Christmas cards, attending holiday concerts, decorating ginger bread houses, driving around to see Christmas lights, delivering goodie baskets to shut ins or widows, roasting marshmallows and more!

Some of activities we've been doing!

Many of the activities throughout the unit study include writing, labeling, drawing, etc in a journal. You can use virtually anything, a composition notebook, binder with notebook paper or you can even create your own lapbook. I got the nifty idea to make my own journal pages for my kids which I am sharing with you just click here to download your FREE copy (you can also click the photo below).

Because it is still November we haven't done many of the field trip recommendations but as I stated above we will definitely be adding them to our December calendar!

Here are some of the things you will learn for each of the topics:
Children will learn about the Dutch tradition of First Christmas and Second Christmas Day and have the opportunity to add some new traditions to your family's holiday celebration. I am actually going to buy the children some Dutch chocolate letters this year and put them in their shoes. Your family will also get to make some amazing hot coca using the Dutch patented the cocoa process which makes a fabulous gift item. And of course you can't forget about writing letters to Sinterklass.

Next you will hop across to England where children will learn the interesting history behind the tradition of caroling while planning a caroling party and providing their guests with homemade wassail. They will also learn about the origin of Christmas cards while designing their own and mailing them to family and friends.

Children will discover colonies where the Germans settled and locate relevant geography on a globe or atlas. In preparation for attending a holiday concert they will learn proper concert etiquette. They will discover the origin of gingerbread houses while making one of their own. This is something we do every year so it was lots of fun finding out where the tradition originated from. They will also learn it was the German settlers that brought us the Christmas tree. 

An American Christmas:
What Christmas was illegal? Yup in the 1600's. Learn all about this fascinating piece of history as well as the one truly American tradition...popcorn and cranberry garlands. You will even get to make your own and decorate the tree with them. They will play a Christmas trivia game to demonstrate all they have learned throughout the unit study. They will learn about Irving Berlin and watch Holiday Inn or White Christmas as they complete a simultaneous study of music that occurs throughout the entire study. Christmas winds down when the fragile ornaments are put away and you place the tree outside a window and decorate a tree for the birds with a variety of different treats. We decided to make some pine cone bird feeders a little early because the birds have been looking hungry!

Additional Resources:
Great videos on YouTube that go along great with the unit study, this is my personal Christmas channel that I created for our kids.

Wrap Up:
Overall I thought this was a fantastic unit study. I have used unit studies from other manufactures and this one is just as good and very thorough. I am looking forward to continuing to utilize all the ideas and recommended resources throughout December. The children and I learned so much while having fun. Like did you know Christmas was cancelled or that the first mass produced Christmas card was was created in 1843? I didn't!

As with any unit study you will need to use discretion on books and movies and may want to preview them before presenting them to your child. Sometimes books and movies may be geared towards older children. Personally the price for these unit studies is a little on the high end compared to others I have used, but for all the information offered the price is not unreasonable. The Homeschool Legacy Once-a-Week Unit Studies are great for experienced unit study users. There are no lapbooks, printouts or notebooking pages included with the unit study so newbie unit study users may feel a little overwhelmed by not having these items readily available (they can be easily added though by doing some web surfing). And as with any unit study they can be used again and again. I am sure the Christmas unit study is one we will use for years to come!

Gwyns review (7 yrs old):
Learning about Christmas was lots of fun. I really liked making bird feeders and having hot coco. Mommy says we are going to do lots more, yay! We are going to use some of the traditions we learned about this year for our Christmas!

Links to follow:
-Homeschool Legacy Website

Where to buy:
Homeschool Legacy currently offers 13 different Once-a-Week Unit Studies. There are 4 week unit studies which cost $17.95, 6 week unit studies which cost $19.95 and 7-8 week unit studies which cost $21.95.


brett said...

i need to send this to my friend emily- she's homeschooling her three boys :)

JadeLouise Designs said...

Wow, so many amazing things come in these homeschooling kits! My sister-in-law just started homeschooling. I know this would be great for her!

Virginia @thatbaldchick said...

What a fun unit study! Thanks for the journal page!

Jennifer B said...

These resources look really nice and jam packed with goodies!

Pam W said...

I loved doing unit studies when the kids were younger. They were fun and the entire family could join in.

malia p said...

THis sounds great. I don't homeschool my daughter, but I bet we could still use this!

homemakinghacks said...

What a fun way to teach kids about special holidays, they must love that. Thanks for sharing this!

Amy Desrosiers said...

I love Christian based homeschooling porgrams! Thanks for sharing with us!

Jessica@bkeepsushonest said...

This is awesome. I don't think I know all of the history behind some of the Christmas traditions we do each year.

Shauna Torres said...

This sounds like such a great unit to teach our little ones. I am with you, I would have been ultra excited about it and have to look into it for my little ones. Thank you

Danielle said...

What a great plan, this sounds like a great way to teach the kids. Love that it is Christian based.

Wendy Kaufman said...

I love posts like this. I'm really considering homeschooling and reading about what others are doing makes it seem really doable.

TheNewClassy said...

It's important to learn about the origins of Christmas.

Mama to 5 blessings said...

we are a homeschool family too, I love this sounds wonderful for children to learn about how other countries celebrate Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

Shannah at Just Us Four said...

Thanks for this information. My sister in law homeschools so I will be sharing this with her.

Janeane Davis said...

There are so many resources available to home schoolers. It is nice that they have a broad selection of materials from which to choose.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I think I'd enjoy learning about the traditions as much as the kids. I've always found that to be fascinating!

Shanna said...

I'd love to learn about the traditions, too! Sounds fun!

Carmen's Coupon Bog said...

I don't home school my kids... but I love the idea of given them other stuff to learn while on school vacation so that they have school activities to do instead of just watching tv all the time..

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! Please check the follow up box so you can receive my replies.

Designed By: Wacky Jacqui's Designs