Wednesday, November 2, 2016

REVIEW: Many Nations Once-A-Week Micro-Studies by Homeschool Legacy

Having used another unit study from Homeschool Legacy in the past, I was really excited to get to review the Once-a-Week Micro-Studies Many Nations this time around!

 

WHAT IS IT?:

The Many Nations Once-a-Week Micro-Study is intended to give children in grades 1-8 a thorough understanding of the Northeast Woodland, Southeast, Southwest, and Plains nations in just 4 weeks.

Parents can read the suggested novel or another related novel of your choosing on the topic during the week and then have students work on three weekly assignments that only take approximately 30 minutes each.  You have the freedom do those assignments individually throughout the week, or if you wish, you can do the three assignments in one sitting in approximately an hour and a half.  It’s up to you!

The beauty of the micro-study is that there’s less printing to do since the assignment materials are found in the embedded links in your digital file.  You can print the file if you prefer and then use the links on your computer, or just open and use the whole thing on your device.  You do need access to a printer for the activities at the links, as many of them are hands-on crafts.

This micro-study is available for just $12.00.  Be sure to check out a sample week of this study.

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

My 8-year old son, Holden, is spending this whole first year of our American history studies learning about the American Indian people and their interactions with the explorers and the subsequent colonies.  So we thought this was the perfect time to add in the Many Nations micro-study for additional learning and hands-on activities.

We have recently read some wonderful books like Sign of the Beaver, Walk the World’s Rim, North American Indians, and The Arrow Over the Door, so we chose not to use the suggested novel, which we’re scheduled to read down the road.  We just focused our attention of all of the exciting activities in this study!

I have to admit that I do like to hold a printed copy iDSCF4746n my hands, so my first step was to print out the 20-page digital file for Many Nations.  I laminated the cover and back page, and I punched and bound it with a spiral comb to make a lovely guide I could refer to without sitting at my computer.  That’s just me!  It helped me to sit comfortably and read and plan for our weekly lessons, but I did still need to go to the digital file for the links to the additional materials and printables.DSCF4747

In week 1, the study focused on the Northeast Woodland Nations.  We worked on geography by coloring that region on a blank map of the U.S., and then we searched online to find out where each of the listed nations resided within the region.  Then we cut out the names from the printable materials and glued the labels in place on the map.

Next, we used the included link to print out the design for a model longhouse.  There were instDSCF4733ructions for a two-fire longhouse and a three-fire longhouse.  Of course, we went for the big one!  We colored it, cut it out, and glued the tabs together to form a 3-D model.  It was even complete with chimney holes you could open on top to let out the smoke from the fires inside.  Holden thought that was very cool!  It even stood up on its own on the table, and it was much larger than we expected.  I have to admit that it was pretty fun to make!  I kept thinking it would be fun to order some of those little action figures of American Indians and turn these cool crafts into action scenes!  I must have been a parent of boys for too long, but that’s another story.  Smile  We read all about the role of the longhouses among this people group and how they were used to house as many as dozens of families.  Living with your extended family is definitely different from the culture in which we live.DSCF4735

We also used the included link to print out and create a paper doll of a young Indian boy (there was a girl included, as well).  To make it easier to handle the flimsy pieces, we decided to just glue on the clothes so we could see the completed paper doll.  If you were actually going to use it as a reusable toy, I would suggest printing it on more durable cardstock.  We colored the clothing and put it together, and it stood up on is little stand.  It was pretty cute!

DSCF4737

Our next activity was to make a tomahawk using the included link.  Unfortunately, the link within the study was no longer valid.  That was a little bit of a disappointment because I knew this was going to be a hit with my son, so after a bit of quick thinking, I searched online for a printable tomahawk.  We printed it on regular paper, colored it, and cut it out.  Holden was pretty happy with that as-is, but I told him we could even mount it on some cardboard or cardstock to make it even more durable.  Then we went on to read in the study about the meaning of the phrase “bury the hatchet” and its origins and some related history information surrounding that idea.

Next, there was a little bit of bible study about forgiveness from Ephesians, and the guide led us to discuss how that relates to the concept of burying the hatchet.  It suggested that if we had someone we needed to forgive, perhaps we could write their name on the feather of our tomahawk and bury it under a tree as a symbol of our decision to forgive, just as the Iroquois people had done.  The guide also discussed the idea that our founding fathers may have used the Iroquois Confederacy as a basis for drafting our own United States Constitution.  We found that fascinating!

In week 2, we learned about the Southeast Nations.  For geography, we again colored that region of the map, researched the location of the listed nations, and placed their labels on the map. 

Next, we focused on the Cherokee language.  There was an excelCherokee Languagelent explanation given for the creation of the Cherokee alphabet and the history behind it.  There was an image of what the characters looked like.  It definitely looked foreign to us!  But we learned about how it enabled the Cherokee people to have their very own bi-lingual Native American newspaper called the Cherokee Phoenix.  There was a link to it in the guide so we could check it out for ourselves, but unfortunately, this link was no longer working.

Our first activity for this was to create some sentences in Cherokee.  We did this orally, which was very entertaining to say the least!  There was a pronunciation guide provided, and we had a blast taking turns trying to pronounce our simple sentences.  I guess we did sound pretty funny to each other!  That was a lot of fun.  We both realized that English seems much simpler, as there are a lot less syllables in our language to say the same things!  I also used the included link to print out a coloring page of Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, and Holden got to color that.

Next, we moved on to some history study about the Five Civilized Nations and the actions of President Jackson that led to the Cherokee’s Trail of Tears.  That was very sad, but it’s a piece of history that teaches important lessons to us today.

Next, we created a simple timeline using the included link to some printable blank timeline sheets to get DSCF4749us started.  We added the Trail of Tears, Hiawatha and the Iroquois Confederacy, and Sequoya and the Cherokee alphabet to our timeline using simple images we found online.  The guide suggested we make it so it would fit in a 3-ring binder, but we trimmed ours and pasted the pages together so we could place it on the wall as we study if we choose, or we can fold it and keep it in a pocket in our notebook.  I really liked the idea of using images along with labels to make the timeline more interesting and visually appealing!

In week 3, we learned about the Plains Nations.  We did the same geography activity, focusing on labeling the tribes in their region.  We read about them in the guide, and then we used the included link to an online activity that helped us figure out some Indian sign language.  That was pretty fun!  If you guessed wrong, the game would let you try again until you got it right.  When it was all done, it revealed a picture and name of the Plains Indian who was a sign language expert.  It was even fun to play the game again and see if we could do a better job of matching the symbols and words on the next round!

In our next activity, we were challenged with making a Plains Indian diorama.  Now my son is not the crafty tyDSCF4748pe, but his big sister jumped in volunteered to help with this one!  She’s the artist in the family.  So we took some shortcuts by running to the local hobby store and picking up a basic diorama display box (because I didn’t have a show box), as well as a tube of Indian figurines.  Then we searched online for a background image we could print and place in the diorama box as a backdrop.  We found one with tepees, so that was perfect because we didn’t have to make our own teepees with the included link!  Then my daughter and husband had fun creating the foreground and setting up the figurines in a cute little scene.  Holden was just happy that he would get to play with it when it was all done!  (Typical boy, of course.)

Next, we read about the buffalo round-up.  There was a link in this section to scenes of a buffalo kill from the movie Dances with Wolves, but that video, hosted on YouTube, was blocked for copyright reasons.  I was a bit disappointed again by another link to invalid content.  There was also a link to video from the Custer State Park Buffalo Round-up.  It was about 16 minutes long, so just skimmed through it to get an idea of how the gather up the buffalo. 

The final week of this micro-study will cover the Southwest Nations.  We’ll be getting to this part of the study next week.  It includes the geography map activity, some anthropology of the Navajo people, and some crafts like sand painting and art appreciation of Navajo jewelry, textiles, pottery, and baskets with the included links.

All in all, this micro-study was pretty fun!  The only downside for us was the invalid links we encountered.  I think it would be important for the vendor to keep the links updated as necessary since they provide a good portion of the interactive nature of the study.  But we enjoyed the reasonably-sized chunks of learning in the guide with plenty of hands-on activities interspersed throughout the study, which definitely makes it more appealing to elementary aged students, and I believe my middle school aged daughter would have enjoyed doing this study with us, as well, since there were so many hands-on crafts to keep her interest level up.  It was definitely worth our time, and it was a great supplement to our American Indian history studies! 

With the holidays just around the corner, you might consider checking out the Once-a-Week Micro-Studies Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims or the Once-a-Week Unit Study Christmas Comes to America, as well.

Take a look at what other Crew members have to say about this and other unit studies from Homeschool Legacy by clicking the banner below.