For all you homeschooling parents, or for parents wanting to enrich your child’s education, Homeschool Legacy offers once-a-week unit studies which (wouldn’t you know it?) knock off Boy Scout Merit Badge requirements along the way.
I’m all about efficiency, so I thought that was a great idea. Sharon Gibson of Homeschool Legacy very kindly sent me the unit of my choice to review (I choose “We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution”). I’ve received no other compensation, coercive threats, bribes, or chocolate, and give you my honest opinion. Keep in mind, however, I am not a homeschooling parent.
I found the material well-organized and consistent. Each unit is divided by week. Each week has a list of library reading/video options which relate to that week’s subject matter along with an (often short) list of supplies needed for the week. The week’s study always includes “Daily Activities” (usually consisting of reading relevant material), and a weekly “Family Devotional” relating the week’s topic to Biblical themes.
These units were designed to be used just once a week, but sometimes the material/activities seemed an awful lot to cover in one day. That may just be my inexperience talking, though.
I liked the variety of the format from week to week. One week may have an art appreciation activity, another may have a drama activity, while another may have a “copy and cut” game like “Preamble Scramble.”
These units are designed to be user-friendly and prep free. A huge amount of planning and prep work has gone into these books. What you’ll find is a fully-designed series of lessons that even include instruction scripts and question prompts. Pretty cool.
I don’t think “no prep” means “go into it blind,” however. I would advise parents wanting to use these books to go over the instruction scripts ahead of time, before starting the unit. I would either delete or be prepared to explain items mentioned in the instruction (for example, there is passing mention made of things such as Cicero’s Principles of the Natural Law, and the Iroquois Confederacy). There may be certain things you want to cover in more depth, possibly before starting the unit.
You definitely want to pay attention to the “timeline” activities, as dates for events and/or people are not always provided. (This was the one oversight I saw, in terms of prep work being done for you.)
There are lots of cool extras sprinkled throughout the lessons, including “Stump Your Dad Trivia” and a link to see Howard Chandler Christy’s acclaimed painting, Signing of the Constitution. (Said link also provides a neat “scroll over” feature which names the signers shown in the painting, and gives more information about the signer if you click on his name.)
Being the art lover I am, I would flesh out her art appreciation activities a bit more, but I think her suggestions make for a great starting point. Flexibility in your own curriculum is one of the beauties of homeschooling. Given that, I think her units can be used however parents please, either as a framework for customizing their instruction, or as a “ready to go” unit parents can follow page by page and week by week.
I chose this particular unit to review because I wanted to see how she incorporated the requirements for the Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge, one which I’ve seen “milled out” in a rather disappointing way. This is an Eagle-required badge for a reason. When properly done, I think young men earning this badge gain a deeper respect for their country and feel an increased measure of responsibility toward their own country. When improperly done, it is a mind-numbing experience beginning with mindlessly filling out a workbook and ending with receiving a merit badge that means nothing to the recipient.
If you want your young man to experience the former, the We the People unit study is not a bad way to go.
Here are the merit badges you can earn via her unit studies, as of this writing:
Birds of a Feather unit fulfills requirements for the Bird Study merit badge.
Forest for the Trees unit fulfills requirements for the Forestry merit badge.
Horsing Around unit fulfills requirements for the Horsemanship merit badge.
Weather on the Move unit fulfills most of the requirements for the Weather merit badge.
Knights and Nobles unit fulfills requirements for the Art merit badge. (Interesting! Makes me wish I’d checked it out!)
Native America unit fulfills requirements for the Indian Lore merit badge.
Early Settlers unit fulfills requirements for the Reading merit badge.
Revolutionary Ideas: the Story of the American Revolution unit fulfills most of the requirements for the American Heritage merit badge.
We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution unit fulfills requirements for the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge.
Christmas Comes to America unit fulfills requirements for the Music merit badge.