The United States of America is a nation like no other. Why? Because we are a free people. America stands for liberty, equality, justice, opportunity, determinism, and so much more. But how did America become such a unique nation? Where does our American exceptionalism come from? How were our Founding Fathers able to create a nation of freedom, equality, and justice for all; and one that could stand the test of time? We found these answers and much more in a fantastic unit study, We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution, by Homeschool Legacy.
I am passionate about passing on my love for America to my children. In today’s age when the American youth are stomping on and disrespecting the American flag, it’s essential we teach our children what the flag stands for, why it deserves honor and respect, and why we treasure this amazing country. Freedom isn’t free. If we fail to pass on our American values to the next generation, the freedom that so many people gave their lives for will be lost.
What better way to teach our children about the precious price of freedom and uniqueness of our American heritage than with a study of the U.S. Constitution. I was thrilled to be able to review the unit study, We the People, by Homeschool Legacy. My son has learned, and continues to learn, so much through this study and…so have I. It’s been a super fun learning experience for the both of us!
We the People: Getting to Know Your Constitution
Homeschool Legacy offers a number of once-a-week unit studies for download (Grab-N-Go) or physical copy (paperback). Unit study topics include weather, horses, early settlers, the Revolutionary War, Lewis and Clark, and more. All of the unit studies are Biblically based, require no preparation, are easy to work into your current school schedule, and even accommodate Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls badge requirements.
We the People is a super fun unit study for children, grades 4-12. My son is in the 4th grade and, although he’s on the younger end of the spectrum, he’s been exposed to a topic many adults know very little about. My son now knows a lot about the U.S. Constitution and what makes America great. And he’s had fun doing it!
We received the digital version of We the People to review. (If preferred, a hard copy is available for purchase as well.) It’s a unique study in that it is meant to be used just once a week. The unit study extends over a period of 8 weeks.
As with most unit studies, We the People incorporates many different subjects while studying one topic. Subjects covered in We the People included Bible, history, vocabulary, language, art, government, and geography.
The 8 week course covers the following:
- Week 1: The Sate of the New Nation
- Week 2: The Constitutional Convention
- Week 3: Your Bill of Rights
- Week 4: The Legislative Branch
- Week 5: The Executive Branch
- Week 6: The Judicial Branch
- Week 7: Amending the Constitution
- Week 8: Your National Symbols
Each week contains a list of library books to gather as well as a video or two to watch. You do not have to read all of the books listed. The books that are required to complete an assignment are noted with an asterisk. In this photo you can see that only the highlighted books are the ones needed to complete assignments for the first week. You get to read one book of your choosing from the rest of the list.
We closely followed the schedule given at the beginning of the unit study but changed the day of our unit study to Thursday instead of Wednesday. Monday through Wednesday we read the from the family read-aloud as well as from the independent reading for the week. Thursday was our unit study day, completely devoted to unit study activities. No regular textbook work on Thursday. On Friday we read again from our weekly book selections and we also got to have a fun family movie night. I usually incorporated any documentaries into our Thursday unit study days but if it was a fun movie, like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or National Treasure, we saved it for Friday night.
Each week has a fun “Stump Your Dad Trivia”. It’s a question that the kids can ask Dad when he gets home from work in hopes of stumping him. It give kids a great feeling when they discover that they know something their dad doesn’t know! Last week, my son asked Dad which two delegates to the Constitutional Convention became presidents of the United States, and squealed in delight when he answered, “George Washington and Thomas Jefferson?” (It was actually Washington and Madison.)
Each week usually begins with some reading time and family devotions. As you move into the activities of the day you may work on your history outline, research new vocabulary, compare and contrast different forms of government, play games, watch a documentary, write a short paper, perform a skit, or even do some baking. All of the activities vary.
Throughout the unit study the student keeps a 3 ring binder notebook. All of the reports and activities are kept neatly together in the binder. An outline is kept throughout the entire study. In the unit study the letters TL, for timeline, indicate an event that should be recorded on the timeline. The student is encouraged to doodle and color their timeline to make it more memorable.
Thoughts and Usage
We have never used a unit study before so this was a first for us and we had, and are still having, a lot of fun with it! The once-a-week set up worked great for me as we have textbooks we need to get through. However, we were able to slip this unit study into our schedule and it was such a refreshing breather from our normal day.
I liked that these studies did not require any preparation on my part. As long as I had gathered up the necessary books and videos listed at the beginning of each week, I was ready to go!
Some of the documentaries were a little over my son’s head. I think that’s to be expected since he is on the younger end of the age spectrum. Some of the assignments were a little more than he could handle, too. But the great thing about this unit study is that you can adapt it to fit the age and learning ability of your student. If a documentary was getting to be too much, we just watched the most pertinent parts. If an activity was too difficult we either skipped it or made it easier, for example, writing a short paragraph instead of an entire report.
One thing that would have been helpful is if the timeline codes (TL) also came with the corresponding date. For example, Shay’s Rebellion (TL) could be written, Shay’s Rebellion (TL) 1786-1787. It’s not a big deal, but having the date right there would’ve made my life easier. As it was, I had to keep looking up the dates for my son to record on his outline, which just slowed us down a bit.
There is a lot of reading in this unit study. All the reading is well worth it but I did get a bit hoarse at the end of the day.
I didn’t have to ask what my son thought about this unit study. He would ask me almost every day if it was unit study day. When unit study day did come around, he was a very happy camper. It was his favorite day of the week.
We both really enjoyed this unit study. We aren’t quite finished yet but when we are, I already have plans to purchase more unit studies. I’d definitely recommend these studies to anyone who needs a break from boring textbooks and wants to enjoy some fun learning time together with family.