As regular readers of my blog know, hands-on learning is extremely important to me. Unfortunately, as the children have gotten older, we haven't been able to fit as much hands-on learning into our days as I would like, which means my youngest son Harold has not had the same benefits that his sisters did. This is why I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review one of the Unit Studies (K-6) from Homeschool Complete. Harold was so excited when we were given his first choice of studies to review: U.S. Symbols.
The Complete Unit Study: U.S. Symbols by Debra Arbuthnot is available as either a digital download or a physical copy. There is an additional two dollar charge for the physical copy. I appreciated that I was able to receive a physical copy for this review, so I didn't have to use my own ink. The unit study of just over 25 sheets arrived unbound in a plastic, sealed bag inside a large envelope. I chose to use a two-pocket folder with prongs to keep the unit study organized. I tend to purchase a lot of these folders at the beginning of the school year, because I really like them.
I glued the full-color cover sheet to the front of the folder. . .
. . . and stored the remainder of the sheets inside.
I kept the current day's lesson in the left pocket and the rest of the lesson pages and worksheets in the right pocket. The informational sheets, such as the introduction, teaching procedure, skills list, materials list , calendar page, hundred chart/number line page, and literature list, were attached to the middle with the prongs. After each lesson was complete I added those pages to the middle section.
In addition to the unit study pages, there were some materials that we needed to supply to complete this unit study. Most of these materials are normal school supplies, such as pencils, crayons, scissors, paper clips, and paper. Even the supplies that weren't traditional school supplies are easy to find, and probably in most homes, such as plastic drinking straws, yarn, and bean bags. There are also some simple food supplies needed.
You will also need to find some books to go along with the study. Fortunately we have a great library system. Even if our local library doesn't have a book, there is a good chance one of the other libraries in the system will have it. We can put it on hold through interlibrary loan and get it in a reasonable amount of time. The five scheduled books in the study were all available for us, as were six of the eight recommended, additional literature selections.
Let's take a closer look at the unit study.
In the informational pages you will find a Skills List which lists the seven different subjects (Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Fine Arts, Physical Fitness, adn Character Development/Bible) along with all the skills learned under each subject.
The Materials List lists out the weekly materials needed plus the materials needed for each of the four lessons.
There is a themed blank calendar which is decorated with an American flag, fireworks and stars. Harold filled in the dates and added a sticker each day we had lessons.
The Hundred Chart and Timeline are both on one page. Then there were Spelling Squares and blank Square Tiles that I cut out and stored in envelopes, which I also tucked into the pocket of the folder.
Each lesson had 4-5 lesson pages, and 3-4 worksheet pages. The lesson pages start out with a list of the skills learned plus the material needed for that lesson. Each day you are supposed to go through the established daily routine, which includes reciting three pledges (American Flag, Christian Flag, and Bible), plus doing calendar, weather, address, and a daily journal. Instructions for this routine are given the first day while on subsequent days it just states to continue the routine activities. Step-by-step scripted instructions are given for the remainder of the lesson. Both questions and answers are listed in the lessons too. It also tells you when a worksheet section is to be completed. Language Arts, Social Studies, Math and Science are worked on in each lesson. The other subjects are just worked on once or twice. There is a patriotic craft for art in lesson one, a gross motor activity for physical education in lesson two, music in lesson three, and physical education again in lesson four.
How did we use this Unit Study?
This U.S. Symbols Complete Unit Study is meant to be a week-long study, but I spread it out to take 2 1/2 weeks. I mainly used this with Harold during our one-on-one "mommy time" which is only half an hour a few times a week. We did the calendar routine and lesson activities during this time, but part of our normal routine (with his older sisters) is to recite the pledges and say our memory verses. Since I started home preschool with my oldest homeschooled daughter Tabitha, we have been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag and the Pledge to the Bible. We just added in the Pledge to the Christian flag, and I pulled up a image of it on the computer. In addition to our normal memory verses from our core curriculum, we added in the verse that went with this study, the verse found on the Liberty Bell: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."
I just worked down the lessons, sometimes taking them out of order to fit something in during the time I had, leaving a longer activity for the next day. There was a nice combination of worksheet work and hands-on work.
For Language Arts we worked on spelling words with the letters "ew," alphabetizing, compound words, syllables, suffixes and root words, synonyms, contractions, and conjunctions. Each lesson's worksheet began with words to read and break into syllables. These words were taken out of the reading selection which focused on the U.S. Symbol of the day. Next Harold needed to answer questions about the passage. I had him dictate the answers to me as he is not a fan of doing too much writing. The Language Arts worksheet concluded with practice of the topics discussed in the lesson.
In Math we worked on addition facts, fractions, lines of symmetry, dividing groups, finding the area, and rounding to the nearest ten.
The Social Studies was learning about the symbols, reciting the pledges, plus working on learning our address.
Science is included through talking about the weather during the routine time and talking about the effects of the sun, rain, and wind on copper.
Here is a closer look at Lesson 1.
In Lesson 1 Harold got to play with the Spelling Squares, which are just letter or letter combinations printed onto paper, which I cut out. We spelled different words with "ew."
The next day we took our lesson to the dentist office and he wrote down his spelling words on index cards while I dictated them to him. Then he alphabetized the words.
He learned to look at the second and even third letter of words to make sure they were alphabetized correctly.
Math is equally hands-on. We used the index cards I took with me, and he worked on folding it in half. Then he worked on the worksheet.
Due to the dentist appointment, Lesson 1 was stretched into a third day. We had to make sure all the language arts material was finished, plus we got to make a Star Mobile.
Here are a few more of his favorite activities from this unit study.
Breaking a graham cracker into quarters to feed his dinosaurs. Sadly, this brand of graham cracker did not have decent lines to break the halves into quarters. The dinos didn't mind though.
Alphabetizing the letters game
Fraction Race game
Reading the different books I found at the library to go with each symbol.
Making playdough to use to learn more about fractions.
Oh, and attempting to make a sculpture of the Statue of Liberty. Our playdough was a little too moist; she kept "melting."
United States Symbols Tic-Tac-Toe
I even included the girls by having them pick at least one book about each symbol to read. They even had to write a report about the Liberty Bell. And we read our chapter book as a family read aloud. I also had them write the memory verse and decorate it.
As you can see, we had a blast with this unit study. Harold really enjoyed learning about the different U.S. Symbols. We learned about the Liberty Bell, the American Flag, the Bald Eagle, and the Statue of Liberty.
We enjoyed all the aspects of the study, from the readings and the worksheets, to the hands-on activities and the book selections. Though I will admit, I had imagined that all the subjects would be a bit more integrated with the topic. Beyond the social studies, art, some of the language arts and the final physical education game of tic-tac-toe, the other subjects could fit with a unit study of any topic.
That said, it is a great unit study. It is well-rounded and includes all subjects. According to the website this study is recommended for children in first through third grade. Though it only says "Grade 2" on the cover sheet. Harold is in first grade, and he was able to do most of the activities. As I mentioned above, I did do the writing for him for answering the questions, and I didn't have him do the journal writing. I would say that the recommended grade levels are just right, though, you may find your younger student may need a bit more help.
I would definitely recommend the U.S. Symbols Unit Study from Homeschool Complete.
I also have a special deal for my readers. You can receive 10% off your order from now through March 31st, 2019. Just use the code: CREW2019.
Isn't that an awesome deal?!?
The unit study we reviewed is just one of 16 that Homeschool Complete offers. Plus, they offer complete curriculum for kindergarten through fourth grade. Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of the unit studies or complete curriculum that had the privilege of reviewing.