We live in the middle of a pine tree forest. Given a choice from many of the unit studies by Homeschool Legacy, our first choice was Forest For The Trees. This Once-A-Week thirty-seven page unit study was download then accessed with Adobe Reader.
This study was all about botany with a primary focus on trees, but it included a lot more than science, too. This Forest For The Trees unit study combined nature study, art, literature, language arts, geography, history and even life skills, music, and Bible study.
We have delved into unit studies before, but this was set up to have everything we need with "no prep" required, which was one of the features that first grabbed my interest. I was indeed able to use much of it just by reading what was included to my kids then having them follow the directions. As it has been designed for grades 2-12 I was easily able to include all three of my children (currently grades 5, 9, and 11) in this unit study. A camera is used in several lessons, and a tree field guide is frequently referenced. We were easily able to find most other items around the house: magnifying glass, paper, glue... If you don't already have a nature journal, complete instructions are included for just how to make one from a 3-ring binder.
Tree identification was the main focus of week one. Along with pine trees and oak trees, we have a variety of fruit trees on our farm. "Go climb a tree" is actually an instruction in this unit study. My son eagerly followed that lesson plan. He also led us all on a nature hike. Here, he explored the upper branches of a mulberry tree. Bush? Tree? If a bush grows enough, is it considered a tree?
|"Go climb a tree."|
The study is set up to be completed over four weeks and covers the following:
- Tree Identification
- Tree Anatomy
- What Trees Provide
- Forests and Forestry
Field trips were even suggested such as visiting a place with old growth trees. Even the oldest trees on our farm are not considered old growth. Next time we go to the coast, we can see if our arms with all of our hands held are long enough to wrap around one of our favorite old growth trees: The Friendship Oak. A field trip checklist can be printed then filled out and gives some guided questions for students to answer in essay format.
My kids recognized the poem Trees from hearing it before on Superman.
I mentioned earlier how many subjects are included in this unit study. Now I'll show you just how that is done. Language is covered by having the kids write about what they learn. It is suggested that younger kids can even dictate theirs, though my children all did their own writing. Books and videos are suggested which complement each week's lesson. We will actually be extending this study as recommended videos come to the top of our Netflix queue. History is built into the lessons with information such as fool's gold and the California redwoods along with black and white photographs. Science included blanks to fill in different tree related information when read from the recommended books. Although our library visits had increased to once a week, we only visited our library once during this entire study, so we used some books not listed in addition to the ones that were on the list that we already had at home. My collection of Childcraft books also included several that fit our tree theme. Though the main lessons (even the family devotional) are done once a week, assigned independent readings and family read alouds are done daily. Look through my Virtual Refrigerator posts for two of our tree art watercolor pictures. At the end of each lesson, my son especially enjoyed the "Stump Your Dad Trivia." All of us are interested in trying to grow a bonsai tree.
American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts of America, and 4H project requirements can also be met using this and other unit studies from Homeschool Legacy. This unit study is written from a Christian worldview, and notations specify when recommended resources include evolutionary content.
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