A Review of Forest for the Trees from Homeschool Legacy

Sunday, May 17, 2015


I was happy to review Forest for the Trees, a 4-week unit study from Homeschool Legacy.

I'm sharing my review in combination with "Charlotte Mason Monday" because this unit study is such a lovely way to incorporate Nature Study into the home.




Layout

I found the layout for this study to be quite different from most unit studies I have tried.  These are called Once-a-Week Unit Studies.  Just as the title says, it is truly only one day of the week which is devoted completely to the unit study.  The other four days of the week you carry on with your normal studies and add in a few suggested reading titles from the unit if you choose to do so (for this one it included, Tree Eye Witness Book and My Side of the Mountain).  The age range is grade 2 to 12, depending on how you use the studies.  I found it a pretty good fit for my ages (6, 8, 10).

The four weeks were separated with the following topics: Week One - Tree Identification, Week Two - Tree Anatomy, Week Three - What Trees Provide, Week Four - Forests and Forestry.

Each week includes a study day (the guide suggested Wednesday, but you can use any day that works for your family) to focus on the unit.  This day includes Library Choices - read-alouds you may choose to read to your children, a Family Devotional, Science, Science Experiments, Nature Journaling, Language Arts, Art, some History, and Field Trip suggestions.  The unit also includes another list of suggested read-alouds that correspond to the study at the beginning of the unit.

Getting out in nature is a huge part of this study, which I loved because I'm always looking for interactive activities that get us outdoors and learning in God's creation.

We spent time strolling and looking at as many types of trees as we could in our area.  We live in a heavily wooded area, so it was easy to see thousands of trees - but not so easy to identify all of them!  We used a Tree Identification Guide to learn the names and characteristics of the trees in our area.


Some of the activities we enjoyed:

  • We used the suggested scripture Jeremiah 17:7-8 for copywork
  • We discussed and researched, 'what is a tree?' and 'what is a forest?' by looking up the words in dictionaries and copying/reciting the definitions
  • We read and enjoyed Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees
  • We discussed the parts of a tree and sketched and labeled a diagram for our Nature Journals
  • We measured the girth of various trees in our neighbourhood and predicted their ages based on the measurements
  • We went on several nature walks to identify various trees in our local neighbourhood and close-by nature sanctuaries and woodlands
  • We discussed the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees
  • We dissected beans to identify the parts inside a typical 'seed'
  • We grew beans in a mason jar to show how roots and shoots work
  • We discussed what uses trees have in our world and how we can help take care of trees
  • We did science activities for Osmosis, Transpiration, and Photosynthesis
  • We read several books about trees along with many poems!

We also enjoyed talking about the Fruits of the Spirit and singing the scripture song from Hide 'Em In Your Heart.

Some other suggested learning and activities include things like, finding and saving leaves, nuts, seeds, and bark from various trees, finding and identifying insect damage to trees, making applesauce (for a study of how we use trees/fruit), studying the history of the largest trees in North America, and logging.

I really enjoyed the variety of activities available and the flexibility to pick and choose what we wanted to do.  


Some snapshots:



A look at a page from the unit study guide.

Books and poems we enjoyed.

Taking a look at trees that are breaking down.

Checking out some 'remarkable trees'.

Looking at the root system of a tree that fell over many years ago.

Identifying trees.


Measuring and recording the girth and age of trees in our area using a soft tape measure and a rough calculation of 1 inch per year.

This beautiful Evergreen is estimated to be 43 years old...


Checking out a large tree that was cut down near our home.

Newly blossomed Maple Leaves... love the vivid color and beauty of our National Symbol!  (Yaye, Canada!)

Dissecting a bean and looking at the insides to identify various parts.

Sprouting a bean with damp paper towel and sunlight.

Day 1

Day 2 on left, Day 3 on right.

One of the suggested scripture verses for the study - we used it for copywork.

Learning the parts of a tree and a suggested poem from the study to the right.

Blow-paint tree art.

How do tree roots work?  We did this simple experiment with celery and red food coloring/water.

After a day...

Nature Journal page on trees.

Dictionary skills, looking up "forest" and "tree" and copying the definitions.









Thanks for reading.  Be sure to check out more crew reviews of many other unit studies offered from Homeschool Legacy right here.








2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful review! We reviewed this study, too.
    --Gena

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  2. Lovely! This was my 2nd choice and I think I need this one now! I loved tying Birds of a Feather in with our study of John Audubon and I think Forest for the Trees would be a perfect study to use for when we do Botany and One Small Square Woods. I also want to read My Side of the Mountain with the kids.

    Love all the pics! We visited the other day to see your Albert row and my kids loved that you had Playmobil in your apartment building. :)

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