Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Unit Studies – A Great Way to Learn: A Review of Homeschool Complete Unit Studies

Our two younger children are so excited to learn about history, science, and folk heroes using the Unit Studies (K-6) from Homeschool Complete. We spent the past several weeks studying about U.S. Symbols, the Seasons, and Johnny Appleseed. What I really love about the unit studies from Homeschool Complete is that each one is set up in a similar manner making it very easy to teach our two children.

What Do You Get with a Unit Study?

At the start of each unit there are many suggestions for setting up a daily routine under the heading of "Calendar." Ideas for a daily routine include reciting the pledge to the American Flag, the Christian Flag, and to the Bible; going over the days of the week to discuss the concept of today, yesterday, and tomorrow; learning or reviewing street address, and reading the weekly chapter book.

Each Unit Study incorporates activities from a variety of subject areas including:

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies 
  • Physical Education
  • Fine Arts
  • Bible 
  • Character Development 
If you purchase the digital download (like we received), you gain access to your files immediately and can get started on your homeschooling journey using unit studies. You may need to purchase books or request them from your library, as there are several recommended books for each Unit Study and additional literature you could incorporate. As we have a smaller town library, I borrowed what our library had on hand and then looked for other books that would fit the topic to supplement.

After the listing of skills, material, and calendar activities, each lesson goes through different activities within the language arts, math, and other areas. For example, in Johnny Appleseed Unit Study, Lesson 1 has discussion questions for the read aloud (Get Ready for Second Grade, Amber Brown), a worksheet to help work on short vowel sounds, a review of punctuation marks, suggestions to practice skip counting, a math worksheet to fill in missing numbers, and a sponge painting art activity. One could complete all these activities in one day or spread them out over more than one day.

How We Used the Unit Studies

I printed out the Unit Studies so I could put them in a binder. This made it easy for me to highlight ideas and topics. I also made notations for which activities we did not do – so we could go back and complete them when our children are older. We mainly focused upon the U.S. Symbols Unit Study but also worked a bit on the Seasons Unit Study and the one on Johnny Appleseed.

Each day we completed several of the calendar suggestions, including reviewing the day of the week if we had not switched our calendar yet and learning our street address.

Filling out the calendar for the month.

In the U.S. Symbols Unit Study (which is geared for first through third grades) there are four lesson plans covering the Liberty Bell, the American Flag, the Bald Eagle, and the Statue of Liberty. It is written for a five-day school week with one day open for completing activities of your choice. As our children are younger, I spread it out over two weeks (and there are so many great ideas you could take your time working through the unit if you like). In addition to spreading out the unit because our children are younger, I also added lots of books from the library (including many of those on their reading lists).

I went through the lesson plan every evening and decided what activities we would complete the next day. For example, in Lesson 1 of the U.S. Symbols Unit Study, we went over "ew" words, read the vocabulary words, read about the Liberty Bell from the worksheet, reviewed the concept of one-half using the worksheet, and then completed the addition problems on a different piece of paper. We then created the star mobile by painting stars that I had cut out for the kids. In addition to the activities we completed, there were several others that we skipped, such as ones that reviewed alphabetical order, Roman numerals, and an addition game.

We modified the way in which we introduced the "ew" words.

In the U.S. Symbols Unit Study, each lesson was accompanied with a brief reading about the symbol for that day. We were able to read through the facts, read the questions, find and highlight the answers in the reading, and then write the answers on the lines.

There were also art projects including the creation of a star mobile and the making of the Statue of Liberty out of homemade play dough (recipe included).

Our star mobile from the U.S. Symbols Unit Study.

What We Liked

Our family really appreciates the flexibility of the Unit Studies from Homeschool Complete. There are so many great ideas, that we could use the unit studies multiple times as our children get older – working on new skills each time we work through the unit study. For example, we could do the apple experiment from Johnny Appleseed again with different apples or even write up a more formal science report (when our son and daughter are older), rather than just using the observation chart provided.

We also like the fact that each lesson incorporates multiple subject areas. It is so nice to know that we don't have to pull from a variety of resources to teach language arts, math, social studies, and science each day that we are using the unit study. While studying the seasons we were able to go talk about poetry, discuss odd and even numbers, and even get outside for some physical education.

In addition to the three lessons we worked through during the review period, we also received Parks (Grades 1-3) and Pilgrims (Grades K-2). The Parks Unit Study will provide us with the chance to study the geography of the United States while the Pilgrim Unit Study will enable us to study about the founding citizens of the United States in more detail.

The inclusion of the answers keys directly within the lesson plan is also an added bonus. There is no need to flip to the end of a teacher's guide to find the information you need to correct your child while working on the worksheets.

Answer key for one of the lessons in the Pilgrims Unit Study located within the lesson plan.

The worksheet that goes along with the answer page shared above.

The adaptability of the unit studies also appeals to me. For example, in Lesson 4 of U.S. Symbols Unit Study, it says to "dictate the following words and sentence to your child." So, one could use them for a spelling and punctuation lesson. Since our five-year-old son is not ready for a spelling lesson like this, I wrote the words out on paper for him to trace. In this way, we are still discussing the "-ew" words and he is practicing his handwriting.

I think my favorite day of the all of the Unit Studies was that of Lesson 2 from the U.S. Symbols Unit Study. We were able to complete the two worksheets almost in their entirety (saving two of the fractions parts for later), but so many skills were reviewed from counting syllables and discussing synonyms to finding the area of rectangles.

I also loved all of the books that were suggested as part of the U.S. Symbols Unit Study and the others that I was able to incorporate that I found in our library. This is part of the reason why we spent so much time on what is written as a one-week unit study. We had so many great books to read!

Our five-year-old son's favorite part was studying about the Bald Eagle which is not actually bald. And our three-year-old daughter loved reviewing the seasons and months of the year with us during the Seasons Unit Study.

I highly recommend the Unit Studies (K-6) from Homeschool Complete. They have been a joy to use in our homeschool each day. 

Completing the different activities

Looking for more information? 

Check out Homeschool Complete online!

Homeschool Complete offers more than just great Unit Studies. There are several years' worth of all-inclusive curriculum for your family, Reading Curriculum, and resources like manipulatives, journals, and more.

Do you want to try Homeschool Complete? 

Through March 31, 2019 you can save 10% with the code CREW2019 on your orders at Homeschool Complete! 

Don't forget that other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed different products from Homeschool Complete – including semester one of the kindergarten through fourth grade curricula and a variety of the unit studies. Be sure to click the image below to check out more reviews.

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