I know many people use unit studies in their homeschool, especially if they teach multiple children. However, up until this review, I had had no experience using unit studies. Boy, was I missing out!
The kids and I recently had the opportunity to review Homeschool Legacy‘s Westward Ho! Part II. I chose this curriculum out of 12 other unit studies including Knights and Nobles and Weather on the Move in particular because Bookworm just finished a history curriculum that ended in the 1840s, so this unit study seemed to be a natural fit. Even though the unit study is for children in grades 2-12, I was able to use it with my Kindergarten, 1st and 6th grader with some modification.
More about Homeschool Legacy’s Once-A-Week Unit Studies
Homeschool Legacy’s once-a-week unit studies are set up to be used primarily one day a week. The author, Sharon Gibson, suggests that you read one of the suggested books throughout the week but that you do the bulk of your unit study work on one day of the week when you put the rest of your regular curriculum aside. The author’s family does this on Wednesdays.
Homeschool Legacy’s once-a-week unit studies can also be used for Boy Scouts and American Heritage Girls to earn their merit badges. Westward Ho! Parts I and II can be used for Boy Scouts’ Journalism Badge and for American Heritage Girls’ Our Heritage Badge.
This program is Biblically centered and includes suggestions for books to read, movies to watch, and activities to do throughout the unit study.
They are available in physical book format (which we received) or digitally.
More about Westward Ho! Part II
As the name implies, this unit study is the second part of a two part unit study. The first one is Westward Ho! Part I. Even though we didn’t use the first one, the second one stood independently, so we had no trouble using it. There were some references to Westward Ho! Part I, but nothing that affected our understanding.
This unit study is 4 weeks long, and each week has a specific theme:
- Week 1: Gold Rush!
- Week 2: Life on the Prairie
- Week 3: The Great American Railroad Race
- Week 4: Cowboys and Cattle Drives
Our Experience Using Westward Ho! Part II
Simply put, we loved this unit study!!
Since two of my kids are on the young side for this unit study, we didn’t use it as Sharon Gibson suggested. Instead, for four weeks we set aside our regular history and reading work and used the materials suggested in Westward Ho! Part II instead.
As it happened, each week of the unit study had natural breaks. For instance, week 1 had the following subsections:
- Family Devotional
- History/Economics/Language/Life Skills
We simply tackled one of these sections each day of the week. For the sections that required research, I asked Bookworm to do that for his work and the girls skipped it.
For the read alouds, I chose a book that would be easy enough for the girls to read. (Homeschool Legacy offers many book suggestions for each week and also recommends the book based on three different reading levels–young reader, mid-level reader, and older reader.) The books for family read alouds always came from the young reader suggestions. I then also assigned Bookworm to read one book during the week for a mid-level reader.
During this four week unit study, we read together:
- Gold Fever! Tales from the California Gold Rush
- Riding with the Mail: The Story of the Pony Express
- Railroad Fever: Building the Transcontinental Railroad 1830-1870
- Read about Annie Oakley
The girls and I also read Sarah, Plain and Tall.
Independently, Bookworm read:
- Seeds of Hope: The Gold Rush Diary of Susanna Fairchild
- Mr. Blue Jeans: A Story about Levi Strauss
- Ghost Towns of the American West
- Shooting for the Moon: The Amazing Life and Times of Annie Oakley
The unit study also had suggestions for family movie night, so we watched a PBS documentary on Annie Oakley and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Simply put, we loved this unit study and learned a lot!
If you enjoy unit studies, or, if, like me, you haven’t tried them yet, I highly recommend Homeschool Legacy.
I was one of 100 reviewers reviewing a variety of different unit study titles by Homeschool Legacy. Click on the icon below to read more reviews.