We have not done many unit studies in our homeschool. However in the last few months I have been trying to “breathe some life” into our homeschool. My boys recently saw The Lone Ranger (the new movie, to the old sitcom) and really took an interest in the Old West so when I saw that there as an opportunity to review Westward Ho I (5 week) & Westward Ho II (4 week) from Homeschool Legacy, I jumped on the opportunity.
The Bible/Family Devotional
- Fine Arts
- Life Skills
There are even suggestions within for family movies and fun nights. 🙂
And if you are new to unit studies (like I am) she includes a page that helps you see how you should use this: “Getting the Most Out of Your Once-a-Week Unit Study”, in the back of the book. 🙂
In Westward Ho I – for 5 weeks we got to study:
- Frontiersmen and Pioneer Life
- Lone Star Republic
- James K. Polk
- The Oregon Trail
It’s so simple, she even includes a page that shows you how to schedule your time in the unit study. And these are super flexible; we just added this to our current programming, but truly there is so much packed into this, it could stand alone!
These include an amazing list of great read aloud’s, movies and field trips even, for you to include as you go along in your study. Plus there are lots of fun activities built in, like writing your own tall tale; churning butter, making a stew and johnnycakes (yummy). And did you know that the word telegraph is of Greek origin? Tele means far and grapho means write. Put them together, and you have a word that means far writer. The telegraph, for the first time in history, enabled messages to be sent electronically over long distances.
Then in Westward Ho II for 4-weeks we continue our adventure westward exploring:
- Gold Rush – Sutter’s Mill, California and Levi Strauss; you even make your own business plan learning and planning based upon the l
- Life on the Prairie – My son is fascinated with Abraham Lincoln. This summer we will even visit the Little House on the Prairie; its so neat to know that Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Wisconsin’s “Big Woods” and this is lots of fun—with an interactive storytelling experience, shared from the perspective of Waukesha County, Wisconsin (Old World Wisconsin’s neighboring county!) native, Caroline Ingalls. What a day it is, experiencing the same games and chores as they did so long ago.
- The Great American Railroad Race – My five year old LOVES trains – this was his favorite part I think. He has quite the train collection himself, lots of track too that he builds all about the house. He really loved watching and learning how the steam locomotive works and they cannot wait for this summer when we can go up north to ride a train too!
- Cowboys and Cattle Drives – My oldest son thought this was pretty cool – eager for State Fair now! YEE HAW! We also learned, as copywork and memory work, a great saying of Annie Oakley: “Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, nor the second, and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you’ll hit the bull’s eye of success.” Great motto right? 😀
So now we are waiting, eagerly, for the chance to see a rodeo, for The Little House experience we can enjoy at Old World Wisconsin (an amazing outdoor museum (?) where you can experience what it was like back then, for yourself. And I have a little reporter now, ever since the assignment was given in this study to write an article about a rodeo that has just arrived in town, including photos, summarizing the event in a way that is fun and informative. This is great for my oldest son who is a very reluctant writer – what a way to encourage creative writing!
And ten there was “Stump Your Dad” These are trivia questions at the end of each week. He loves being able to show what he knows at the end of the day, when daddy gets home. Some of these even stumped me, like this one:
Q: What entertainment device was introduced at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair?
A: The Ferris wheel.
Invented by W. Gale Ferris, the 1893 World’s Fair featured the largest Ferris wheel ever. At a whopping 250′ in diameter, each of its 36 cars could carry up to 60 people! Today’s
standard Ferris wheels have only 12 to 16 two-person seats.
Katharine Lee Bates had the pleasure of stopping at the 1893 World’s Fair and riding the newly introduced Ferris wheel on her train trip across America.
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