Monday, May 18, 2015

Homeschool Legacy Forest for the Trees Once-a-Week Unit Study Review

My children and I had the privilege of testing out Homeschool Legacy Forest for the Trees free for this review to use in conjunction with my own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

Forest for the Trees is a once a week unit study by Homeschool Legacy. This is a 4 week study that is geared towards second through twelfth graders. It has an option to use this to help your child earn a badge in Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls or a project record in 4H, if your child is involved with any of those. I was given the option to get this in digital or physical format. I chose the physical format.

Fig Tree that we recently replanted.

Unit studies provide us with an in depth view of a certain focused theme and has us do many different subjects surrounding it. For example; with this Forest for the Trees unit study we were doing science projects, math, history, reading, etc. As a homeschooling family we love unit studies!  It gets us away from some of the more mundane work we sometimes have to do in our schooling at home and gives us a chance to dive into some hands on studies. A lot of time unit studies also let us get out in the field to learn.

Measuring trees and tree stumps & counting rings.

Now that the weather is getting nicer my family can partake of all of God's glorious creations even more. We love nature unit studies because it means going outside, exploring, discovering, learning, and breathing in the fresh outdoor air. We try to do nature studies a lot because they are a great break from being cooped up indoors, bookwork and online work. Trees are certainly a very important part of God's creations and with Forest for the Trees Once-a-Week Unit Study we got to learn a lot more about them. Forest for the Trees definitely gave us the motivation to get outside and learn about the surrounding local trees that we have here in Oregon, Washington, and right in our own backyard!

Forest for the Trees art project: tree bark rubbings.

Forest for the Trees is a fun, creative, hands-on study about trees. It has a total of 4 weeks of study: Week 1 is Tree Identification, Week 2 is Tree Anatomy, Week 3 is What Trees Give Us, and Week 4 is Forests and Forestry. In every section this unit study has a list of reading and video choices along with some required reading that helped with the unit. These are listed by their Dewey Decimal number as well so the can be easily found in the library. Daily activities include independent reading and family read-aloud from required books. Forest for the Trees also has once-a-week activities that include: family devotionals, science experiments, outdoor nature studies, reading assignments, art, field trips, history, life skills, language, vocabulary, research assignments, math, physical, etc. I liked that the unit studies from Homeschool Legacy are Christian based and have scripture devotionals in them too. At the end of each weekly lesson there is a section called Stump Your Dad Trivia with a interesting question and answer fact.

My boys and firewood from local trees they stacked into a fort.

This particular study of the trees had us save and document what we found in a notebook, a tree nature journal of sorts. We were told to gather specimens and/or sketch or photograph different parts of multiple trees around us. With the tree identification guide books they listed for us to use we could identify the particular tree we were looking at by the characteristics of the specimens and information we gathered. All the art, history, math, research, language, vocabulary and science experiment findings were also put in the notebook. We had fun adding to it little by little and piecing it all together.

Teela helping with the Transpiration science experiment to show that tree leaves breathe.

We did a lot of fun stuff while we learned about trees. My kids loved the science experiments the best! The science experiments were all very easy to set up and do. We learned about deciduous, coniferous, botany, dendrology, osmosis, transpiration, condensation, photosynthesis, chlorophyll, symbiosis, germination, etc. For art we drew a tree and parts of trees, did tree bark rubbings, and took photographs to document trees and yummy apple recipes we made. We also measured the girth of trees and learned about counting tree rings to see how old they are. We climbed trees too. In the first week we learned all about tree identification and used the field guide quite a lot to try and identify trees in our area taking a lot of samples and specimens home to add to our notebook. The second week we learned all about parts of the tree and did a lot of art and science experiments. In the third week we learned about the many things trees give us like food, paper, rubber, and wood. In the last week we learned about deforestation in the forests and the Giant Sequoia Redwoods.

We are in love with the Homeschool Legacy's Once-a-Week Unit Studies now that we have tried Forest for the Trees out for ourselves. We learned so much and had a lot of fun doing it. We hope to be able to try more of them out in the future for our homeschooling with unit studies.

Forest for the Trees is available for $14 using the Grab-and-Go (PDF) option or $18.95 for the paperback copy.

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