Follow the adventures of one Jewish immigrant family living in the upper east side of New York City during the turn of the 20th century. Although they live a simple life, the five girls - Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie (and later baby Charlie!) find adventure in everything they do from visiting the market and the library to performing routine chores in their own home. These loveable characters share a strong family bond and delight in celebrating both Jewish holidays and everyday adventures together. This is the first book in the wholesome, enjoyable, well-written series by Sydney Taylor.
Unit Study Curriculums are "complete" curriculums based on the unit study approach that are intended to be used over a longer span of time (typically a year or more). They generally have an organized structure or flow and incorporate as many subject areas as possible. Typically, organizational materials and methods are provided along with some instruction for use. Broken into logical segments or "units" of study, they are intended to comprise the core of your curriculum.
What is a "unit study"? Briefly, it's a thematic or topical approach to teaching as opposed to the traditional by-subject approach. Rather than teach each subject separately, a unit study attempts to integrate many or all subject areas into a unified study - usually centered around a particular subject or event. Obviously History (the study of events) and Science (the study of "things") are well-suited to unit studies, and usually form the "core" around which other subjects are integrated. Subjects like Bible, Geography, Government, English (writing), and Reading/Literature, Music, Home Economics, Life Skills, and Art, are usually easy to integrate around a core topics. Remaining subjects (Math, Phonics, Grammar, Spelling) can be integrated to some extent via related activities. Each, however, has its own "system" (progression of skills, mastery of "rules") which must be followed to some degree. Since one of the additional advantages of a unit study curriculum is the ability to use it with students of varying ages and skill levels, these subjects are generally taught apart from the core curriculum. This may be as simple as assigning pages in a grammar or spelling book, or using a separate "program" for Phonics and Math. Unit studies also tend to be more activity-oriented than the traditional approach, a real boon to kinesthetic learners. Advocates of the unit study approach site studies showing that children learn best when learning is unified rather than fragmented and when learning is more participatory than passive.
If you like the unit study approach and you like the American history series by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, you will definitely want to check out this product. Chris Roe, author of study guides to accompany books in the Trailblazer series, has turned her attention to an American history-based unit study for the elementary grades. The America series consists of three books. Land of the Pilgrims' Pride (1492-1789) is based on The Light and the Glory for Children. From Every Mountainside (1787-1837) features From Sea to Shining Sea for Children. Let Freedom Ring (1837-1860) coincides with Sounding Forth the Trumpet for Children. Mrs. Roe selected this Marshall/Manuel series because of its easy-to-read format and its emphasis on our nation's history from a Christian perspective. Each book is an 11-week unit study, so using all three would amount to a school year's worth of study. Besides American history, the unit studies incorporate lessons for reading/vocabulary, Bible, English grammar and writing, science, geography, health, music and art. (As with most unit studies, a separate math curriculum must be used.) In addition to the Marshall/Manuel books, five or six other books are read with each unit study. Most would be available at the library, and we are offering them as well. Required books for grades 3 and 4 are sometimes different than the ones needed for grades 5 and 6. Suggestions for more good reading material are also provided. In addition, Mrs. Roe has included a list of books recommended for 1st and 2nd graders if you are trying to stretch the study to include younger students. Each student must also have a spiral-bound notebook for writing his daily assignments. In English, grammar cards will be made by the student, or purchased separately. Mrs. Roe's personal experience as a homeschool teacher shows through in a couple of ways. Each week's section begins with a supply list of all that you will need that week. As much as possible, common household items have been used, but items that you may need to pick up at the store are listed in bold print. "Notes to the teacher" are sprinkled throughout and are shaded in gray so that you may easily scan for these to ease your preparation for the lessons. Two science lessons begin each week's lessons. These are designed so that you can do science either two or four days per week. The remainder of the week's study is broken down into day-by-day lesson plans. The lesson for each subject is laid out. Therefore, if you like the order that the subjects are listed in, you can go right down the pages for each day's lessons. Lessons include some background information, discussion questions, and activities. Although you can "wing it", you would be well advised to look through the questions and activities beforehand, adding to or modifying as you see fit. The first 10 weeks of each study are laid out in similar fashion, with the 11th week designed for wrap-up discussion and activities. An answer key to the discussion questions and other helpful teaching information is included in the back of the book.
History is only the beginning of what this well-planned and user-friendly curriculum from the Notgrass family has to offer. The history is there, of course, in two large (about 500 pgs each) hardcover Texts. Part 1 takes the reader from the Native American nations (excellent coverage, by the way) through Reconstruction; Part 2 covers from the late 1800s to the present. The same comfortable readability weve seen in other Notgrass courses is divided into daily lessons (150) and grouped into weekly units (30). If youre emphasizing Americas beauty, it helps to have full-color pictures among the carefully selected artwork, and they do! Each unit is introduced by a short overview and a list of the lessons and books needed. Accompanying activities for each lesson might include "thinking biblically" (scripture copywork or Bible study), vocabulary, map study (weekly), literature (readings from We the People along with other suggested readings), creative writing, timeline work, and a family activity (more about these later). Each lesson also includes optional assignments for the Student Workbook or the Lesson Review book. If this sounds like a lot, keep in mind that this course only really needs a little additional grammar study to be social studies, Bible, and language arts all in one.
The Curriculum Set includes the two texts mentioned above as well as We the People and a comprehensive answer key along with both the Maps and the Timeline books (six books total). The original source reader that accompanies each Notgrass course is one of my favorite parts. We the People provides the same variety books and stories, newspaper articles, documents, poems, journals, memoirs and biographies, speeches, letters, and songs as their other courses, and skimming through it took me for a trip down memory lane and long ago classroom recitations. Its obvious that creative planning went into the family activities provided for each unit and found in the back of each text. Family Commemorative Coins, a Cupcake Factory, an Erie Canal diorama, and a Liberty Bell mosaic give an idea of the breadth of ideas.
Its hard to imagine a thorough study of American history without good map and timeline work. There are no worries here! Maps of America the Beautiful provides both a high quality map and accompanying assignments for each weekly unit. Corresponding to the chronological development of our country, youll find the expected maps (colonies, westward expansion, battles, etc.) but also some more unusual sets Americas Islands, for example. Youll want a quality set of colored pencils (the authors recommend Prismacolor pencils and I second this) red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, black, gray, and brown to complete the map assignments. Timeline of America the Beautiful provides an enjoyable timeline-creating experience. Arranged vertically (what a great idea!) on the page, each page depicts a ten-year slice of American life. Some events are noted already, but others are to be carefully written by the student as part of daily and weekly assignments (lines are provided). As space permits, high-quality line-art pictures are provided which can be colored (another use for those Prismacolors).
Two optional supplements coordinate with the course. The Student Workbook provides an activity page for each lesson. Offering plenty of variety, activities include crosswords, word searches, matching, rebus stories, fill-in-the-blanks, illustrations, multiple-choice and more. The Lesson Review book provides five questions for daily review and for literature selections as well as unit quizzes. Answers to both of these books and the timeline book are found in the Answer Key. ~ Janice