I LOVE unit studies! I mean, I really, really love them. In fact, next year, I am thinking about doing our entire year based on unit studies, so I am always on the lookout for good ones. Therefore, I was really excited to get to try the We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution unit study from Homeschool Legacy for this review. Homeschool Legacy unit studies are unique in that the bulk of their studies are offered as once-a-week studies, although you could certainly tweak that (and we did). This particular study is for grades 4-12 and I used it with my son who is in the 8th grade.
I chose this particular study because learning about how the government works is something we are passionate about in our family. The We the People study comes as a PDF eBook and is designed to last eight weeks, although Homeschool Legacy offers a variety of studies that last for different periods of time. One of the things I liked about this unit study in particular is the variety of resources it provided. There was a very long book list available for most weeks, meaning you were pretty likely to find books available to use at your library. The most needed resources are marked with a star, but even those give you the flexibility of finding similar content if necessary. There are books for family read alouds as well as books for kids to read on their own.
For the first week, we read about Daniel Shay’s rebellion as well as reading some Washington Irving books and my son read a couple of biographies of Ben Franklin and George Washington. In the subsequent weeks we read about what it was like for the Founding Fathers during the time they were writing the Constitution, the different branches of government, what it takes to run for President, and a lot of other topics. We also read the Bill of Rights and the Constitution more than once. The unit study also includes a lot of links to videos (with an average run time of about 10 minutes), virtual field trips, suggestions for family movie nights (National Treasure was one of our favorites) and other resources.
Each week, you do daily readings from the family read alouds and read alone books, then you dedicate one day per week to doing the activities. These start with a family devotional that both my hubby and I loved (yes, as I predicted, he “overheard” this study and couldn’t resist taking part because he loves the government). These devotions focus on the faith of our Founding Fathers and how they used it in forming our government. From there you get into the history readings and discussion. One of the first things students do is set up their notebook with their timeline. It’s a hand drawn timeline that students add to each week as they work when they see the timeline symbol.
While activities vary from week to week typically there is reading, discussion, and some type of student activities. These might be a word scramble, matching, fill in the blank, or something else. These are usually pretty fun and very effective. For example, my son really enjoyed the Preamble Scramble and by the end of the week, he had learned the Preamble to the Constitution (I was impressed!)
My husband and I really liked the videos that were linked as well. The first ones we watched were focused on how the government was designed to be limited (something we agree with) and how it has strayed from that vision. In fact, the whole spirit of this study is to focus on the true spirit of the Constitution, and it encourages students to really dig deep into what the Founding Fathers intended and look at where we are today and draw their own conclusions about what is working and is not. I feel like it gave a very thorough look at this important document and we were really excited by the entire study (and the fact that we got to see the actual document during our trip to DC last year made it even better). I would absolutely recommend this study to anyone looking to investigate this topic with their child. The e-Book copy of We the People costs $17.00. After using this unit study, I am very interested in using more of the studies from Homeschool Legacy and am going to be looking at what else they have to offer for next year!
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To see what other members of the crew had to say about this and the other unit studies my fellow crew members got to check out click here: