Birds of a Feather {a review}

Homeschool Legacy Review
If you're a regular reader of our little blog you might know by now that we love the unit study teaching method.  Unit studies are typically done with all ages, thereby making it affordable and easy on mom - just one curriculum!  There is great flexibility in a unit study because you can use a wide variety of what is called "living books" as well as plenty of hands-on learning with science, history, art and math.  My kids love books and they love a hands-on type of learning.  I love flexibility and the ease of just one curriculum we all can learn together from.
I have felt right at home using, and reviewing, a "Once a Week" unit study, Birds of a Feather, created by Homeschool Legacy.  Homeschool Legacy is a company that offers biblically centered unit studies on a variety of topics for grades 1 up to grade 12.  These Once a Week studies are designed to work around any curriculum you are currently using, requiring no prep work (other than collecting your books from the library).  Some of the fun topics are: "Victoria and Her World" (which would be fun with Victoria Day today!), Knights and Nobles, Forest for the Trees, and Birds of a Feather - just to name a few.  The units are offered in paperback or a convenient downloadable (and printable) digital form.
While focusing on your topic of choice your student will learn from a variety of subjects, centered on the one topic, including:
  • Bible
  • arts and crafts
  • science
  • research
  • hands on activities
  • field trips
  • literature
  • music and art appreciation
  • history
  • and more 

If you have children in Boy Scouts of America or American Heritage Girls, Homeschool Legacy will help them earn their merit badges while learning along side any non-scout siblings.  This is something I thought was especially neat and I was very curious if that would work with our Scouts  Canada, however we are one year shy of entering Scouts so I have no answers on that.
Homeschool Legacy Review
The unit we chose to review was Birds of a Feather, a 4 week study of birds intended for grades 2 through 12, because my eldest loves eagles and was eager to learn all he could about birds.  I used the digital version with my children, who are grades 2 and Kindergarten (and of course the 2 year old tagged along as well). 
Within this 34 page bundle you'll find, in addition to the bird study: 
  • suggestions on how to schedule your week
  • information on how to be a good steward of birds
  • really handy guide "Getting the Most Out of Your Once-a-Week Unit Study"
    • really helpful additional information on things such as writing, high school credits, research, reading choices and more
  • Boy Scout/American Heritage Girls badge information
  • list of library books for read-alouds and non-readers, organized by call number
  • handy clickable links (for those with the digital copy)

The clickable links within the PDF file were well received and appreciated, and I also enjoyed being able to print out the file to make notes on the book list and take it with me to the library or just to our living room for quick reference while we learned. 

The suggested scheduling is to take one day and focus just on the various activities, but as it is a suggestion we chose to do a little bit every day, in the following weeks, because we were on a break from our regular curriculum and because my kids are younger (shorter attention span).

Week One:  Bird Basics and Your Backyard Habitat

The first week of Birds of a Feather starts you out on bird basics and setting up your very own backyard habitat.  (This first week is also offered as a sample week.)  The read-aloud books and family movie nights are all well thought out and match each week's activities.  For example, in the first week as you set up your own backyard habitat you are also reading a book where school age children are attempting to create a habitat for storks.

There are so many suggestions for setting up your backyard habitat.  We did what was easiest for our age range and soon had a number of birds in our yard daily.  I'd also add that this section is one we continue to visit even now, 6 weeks after beginning the study, adding something new to our habitat weekly.

When we began Birds of a Feather there was still snow on the ground and the birds were very eager for food. 

Sometimes birds take a couple weeks to find the feeders.  Our birds are overachievers and took just mere minutes to come to the feeders. 

Week Two:  Bird Identification

This week the suggested read-aloud was one that we couldn't find or buy, which was still fine as we were still reading the lengthy book from week 1 (and the kids are loving it).

Some of the things we were learning and doing this week:
  • bio of a bird scientist and artist
  • bird identification
    • labeling
    • drawing
  • family hike
  • movie night
One of Connor's favorites this week was the bird app that is suggested.  He just loved identifying all our birds this way, and then confirming with our bird guide.  This time of year (early spring) was especially enjoyable to observe.  The birds were easy to see in the leafless trees and the kids enjoyed seeing the cardinals and finches feed each other and enjoyed seeing the robins gathering our dead grass for nesting.  One day we identified 9 different species!

On our "bird hike" we seen a goose warming her eggs, a peacock (in a small inner city park/zoo) and we were able to go inside our nature area's small portable and see stuffed birds and various bird bones on display.

Week Three:  Ornithology

Some things learned and done this week
  • definition of ornithology
  • bird bone activity
  • science of a bird feather
  • study of eggs
  • migration
This was another very full and fun week.  Connor especially loved learning about one particular and amazing detail of feathers taught this week.

By this week little Sammy, age 2, was very enthusiastic about birds as well.  When it came to movie night he eagerly climbed up onto a chair and watched nearly the entire documentary with us.

Week Four:  Birds of Prey

Highlights of this week
  • U.S. national bird and why it was endangered
  • extinct birds
  • difference of endangered, threatened and extinct
  • field trip
  • movie night
Week 4 is the week Connor long anticipated.  He read many of the suggested readings this week, and others that were related.  He declared, after all his readings, that the Golden Eagle was his new favorite, with the Bald Eagle a close 2nd.

We were able to end our very thorough study of birds on a high note of with a birds of prey show, where we got an up close view of a Golden Eagle and baby owl!

My Thoughts:

While being thorough in content the quality of the activities and topics remains high.  The suggested readings were never a waste of our time and the kids never got bored.  I found it easy and flexible in that if I couldn't find an exact book mentioned I was able to find a close match easily.

There are many activities for each week, ensuring you will find something for all age ranges needed.  Because my kids are on the young end, we'll be able to revisit this unit for years to come, going into more detail as they grow and coming back any activities we skipped.

We all (even I) truly loved these weeks of bird study.  Near the end of the four weeks Connor came to me and said, "Mom?  When are we going to be done learning about birds?"  "Why?", I asked, "are you getting bored with it?"  "No!!  I want to keep learning!"

We've done bird studies before, on our own and with free recourses found on the internet.  None have been so thorough nor as fun.  I would most definitely recommend Birds of a Feather as well as any of the other studies Homeschool Legacy offers. 

To read what the other reviewers studied with Homeschool Legacy, click the banner below:
Homeschool Legacy Review

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...