Friday, November 4, 2016

Learn about Our Country's First People wih a Fun, Flexble Mini-Unit Study

Earlier this year my daughter voiced an interest in learning more about native people, thus I was happy to receive a downloadable copy of  the Once-a-Week Micro-Study Many Nations by Homeschool Legacy.

Have You Heard of Homeschool Legacy Before?

If you are a regular reader here, you have likely heard of Homeschool Legacy before, since our family was blessed to have reviewed their Westward Ho I  and Westward Ho II unit studies last year.  If you have not heard of Homeschool Legacy before though, let me explain.

Homeschool Legacy is a Christian company that offers families a huge selection of full-length and "mini" unit studies centered on a variety of topics, such as birds, horses, Early American Settlers, forests, holidays, weather, and more. Their unit studies are geared for children in grades one through twelve and, as such, can work for families that like to combine studies to work across age levels. 

Now, I don' know about you, but I love when my children can study the same thing at the same time, so the family-study nature of
Homeschool Legacy unit studies appeals to me!

What is a Once-a-Week Micro-Study?

A Once-a-Week Micro-Study is a miniature digital unit study geared for children in grades one through eight.  It is similar to a Once-a-Week Studies unit study in that it covers a topic using engaging information, hands-on activities, and, often, a classic family read-aloud.  However, it differs in that it packs all the learning and fun into a much shorter time frame.  In fact, Once-a-Week Micros-Studies topics can be fully explored in just three 30-minute lessons a week over four weeks (or one week of focused exploration if you prefer.)

Weekly lesson assignments can be completed all in one day or spread throughout the week and can be used as an integral part of a unit study curriculum or as a hands-on change of pace to supplement other studies.  Fun, flexible, and filled with both solid information and hands-on learning,  Once-a-Week Micro-Studies can help form or flesh out your home learning pursuits.

Once-a-Week Micro Studies offer convenience, too, since they are super-simple to download and open in pdf format, and, also, include general library call numbers for read alouds and other resources and embedded links for hands-on assignments. 

What is Many Nations?

Many Nations is a Once-a-Week Micro-Study which covers information about native peoples in the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Great Plains of North America while diving into history, literature, language study, Bible study, arts and crafts, geography, anthropology.

Within the 20-page pdf the study comes as, you will find:

  • a brief overview for the week
  • lists of tribes within each nation
  • questions to establish goals/objectives
  • a list of supplies needed
  • a note about what portion of the family read aloud (Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell or an alternate) you might be reading
  • mapwork on an included map to help you see the borders of each nation
  • vocabulary/definitions
  • Bible readings/discussion points
  • fun facts
  • hands-on arts and crafts
  • pronunciation guides for native language
  • timeline work
  • video links
  • interdisciplinary activities
  • art activities

Yep!  There's a substantial amount of learning and fun contained in a short study.  Better still, it comes in bite-sized, well-organized pieces, making it truly an almost open-and-go resource, as you can see in this FREE SAMPLE.

The only reasons I'd say the study is not completely open-and-go are because you sometimes need to click over through a link to view or print something and also will need to gather some basic supplies should you want to complete each of the activities in the study (which, in y opinion, is not necessary, but sure can lead to fun.)  Materials needed are:

  • a computer and printer
  • a copy of Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell, or an alternate title
  • colored pencils or crayons
  • craft glue and glue sicks
  • printer paper
  • construction paper
  • card stock
  • ribbon or string
  • a 3-ring binder
  • a hole punch
  • bamboo skewers
  • tape
  • cardboard
  • natural materials such as dirt, sticks, pebbles, sand, and grass
  • colored sand
  • small containers
  • a brush
  • a plastic spoon
  • newspaper
  • a spray bottle
Our Experience

We rarely do things conventionally in our home, so our approach to Many Nations was not a orderly do-the-lessons-as-written one.  Instead, we capitalized on their flexibility to make the study fit both our schedule and my children's interests.

Because I do not own the suggested read aloud, Sing Down the Moon, I ordered it in both paperback and audio CD format from our local library system.  It must be a popular book at this time of year, because the CD-set came in before the book did, thus, we began listening to it together and my children got hooked.  Within two days they had eagerly played through the entire story.

Their appetite whetted from the story, I then brought the unit study materials up on my computer, printed out included maps, grabbed some color sticks, and sat down with my children during a morning Together Time to begin the unit.  Because none of my children are that into cutting and past in anymore, instead of cutting out tribe names and gluing them onto colored portions of the map as directed, I had my children write the names on their maps.

Then, I began reading them the information in the study, some of which was review of past learning about native peoples for us and some of which was new - such as the expression "bury the hatchet" and its origin.

As we came to activity portions within the study, I'd ask my children if they wanted to pause to complete them, wanted to do them later, or wanted to skip them.  At one point or another, they chose each of these options.  For example, they decided to play around with the Cherokee alphabet and language on-spot, opted to make long-houses and paper dolls during an evening choice time, and decided not to make a hatchet at all since the ink to directions was broken and they have made hatchet-like weapons before.

Our semi-child-directed buffet approach to the Micro-Study worked well for us since my children were able to make connections to past learning, listen and chat about readings which led to new learning, and dive deeper into the activities that most interested them to keep them engaged and to bring their learning "alive".  The straightforward organization of the study, succinct and informative text, handy links, and clear activity directions made it easy for us to bite into the "meat" of the learning while deciding which "condiments" of activities would best suit us. 

I so appreciated that flexibility since it allowed my children and me to add to our knowledge of the native people of our land without any pain or tooth-pulling at all.

Truly, the
Many Nations mini-unit proved an inviting, engaging study for us that allowed both mama-direction and self-direction and offered us some new and interesting learning - such as when we discovered he fun fact below, which seemed especially appropriate during this political season:

Who Might Enjoy and Learn from Many Nations?

I would recommend Many Nations to others who wish to review or gain some basic knowledge and interesting tid bits about native people in an easy, fun, and flexible way.  Whether taking the unit buffet style as my family did or using it with a dot every "i" and cross every "t" approach, the micro-unit can work equally well, I believe.  Concisely written, organized into a clear lesson-by-lesson/week-by-week format, and replete with links (albeit one currently broken), the unit can be used in full as is or can be easily adapted or taken a la carte depending on what individual families want and need.  Further, I think the micro-study could work beautifully in a co-op setting since bite-size pieces could easily be portioned out between co-op sessions providing engaging leanring for a multi-age group.   (Just be sure to contact Homeschool Legacy if you wish to use Many Nations so you can get volume discount pricing to purchase copies for each of your students since permissions are granted for copying only for family/personal use.)

Learn More

We've also enjoyed
Westward Ho I  and Westward Ho II by Homeschool Legacy in the past.  Read our review by clicking through the image below.

One hundred Schoolhouse Review Crew families reviewed either
Christmas Comes to America (one of the Homeschool Legacy Once-a-Week Studies)...

...or one of the following Once-a-Week Micro-Studies:


Read all our our reviews by clicking through the banner below.

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

You can also find Homeschool Legacy on Facebook.


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