Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Homeschool Legacy - Weather on the Move

Having a daughter with Down syndrome has been a blessing and a joy.  It really has proven that children with Down syndrome are more alike other kids than they are different.  Each child has their own goals, dreams, desires, interests and talents and that includes children who have Down syndrome.  Gesserine's interests all seemed to be tied into science.  She loves studying anything about the weather and her dream is to one day be a storm chaser, but if that doesn't work out she will settle for being a meteorologist.  With this in mind you can see why we were thrilled to be able to review Weather on the Move from Homeschool Legacy.

Homeschool Legacy offers once-a-week unit studies in a variety of subjects that help make learning more intriguing and fun.  Once a week you get to ditch the text books, tests and other activities you had planned and instead do a unit study that hits all the main subjects while learning something really cool.  The unit is prepared in such a way that it takes little or no prep time to use it.  They have done all the work for you which is really nice!  It also incorporates activities that can be used for credit for Boy Scouts or American Heritage Girls so that's a really nice added bonus if your children participate in those.

Weather on the Move is a 7 week unit study for grades 2-12.  Each section has a devotional that focuses on God's creation and how incredible the systems work within it.  You also learn some vocabulary, history, read some classics (as well as weather books), make some crafts, do some experiments, graph the weather, and take some pictures among a many other things.  You then log all of this in the Weather Journal you make using a three ring binder.  They also have a family night where they recommend activities, games, or movies that go with the lesson as well as suggested field trips. I know it might sound pretty overwhelming for one day of study, but it's really not.  When they say they have done the work for you, they mean it. Having a child with special needs I am used to having to do some work to adapt the plans to fit Gess' needs but I didn't have to do that here.  It really was ready to use.  It was nice being able to just do the lessons for a change!

The unit covers the following subjects:

Week 1 – Meteorology
Week 2 – The Sun: Our Solar-Powered Weather Engine
Week 3 – The Atmosphere: An Ocean of Air
Week 4 – The Water Cycle
Week 5 – Frozen Precipitation
Week 6 – Clouds
Week 7 – Extreme Weather

It's as if this study was made with Gesserine in mind!  She has absolutely loved it.  The first week we got to learn about the history of meteorology, the next week explored the history of the thermometer and who contributed to it.  Those were things I didn't even know.  We then learned about the atmosphere and water cycle and I know she can't wait to get to the last week on extreme weather and I am looking forward to that too!

For your Weather Journal you need to keep track of the weather but it also provided a hurricane tracking chart.  We actually started this study the very week that Hurricane Isaac began it's trek towards the gulf coast so we began charting it right away. Now I spent many years in Texas and Florida and have been through a number of hurricanes, so hurricane tracking was nothing new to me.  However, Gess was only 2 when she went through them so I don't think she remembers them at all.  They provide you with a tracking chart to use but the numbers were so small I could barely read them myself so there was no way Gess could do it herself, but she did watch the weather channel a few times each day to keep updated on Isaac's movement while I filled in the coordinates.  We also went to the Hurricane Tracker at The Weather Channel website to see the path in action. Here is the chart she helped me with by giving me the coordinates when she saw the news.

It was funny, one day after our study on hurricanes she looked up in the sky and noticed the coulds looked like they were forming a circular motion.  She said, "look mommy, a hurricane."  You know, they weren't moving fast like a hurricane but they had that "look" to them!  I reminded her that hurricanes happen over water.  I am sure we will learn more about them in week 7!

There are several experiments each week for you to choose from.  You can do them all or none, it's up to you.  We did at least one from each unit and if Gess had her way we would do them all.  In Week 2 we were learning about the sun so we did an experiment to show why it is warmer around the equator by using a flash light, rubber band and tennis ball.  See how the sun is brighter around the rubber band (representing the equator)?

Then after learning about the water cycle in week 4 she got to make some rain!

The field trips were my favorite part (I think Gess loved it all the same).  For one week they wanted you to go to a greenhouse but we opted to go to Science City instead.  They have Science on a Sphere there and we got to see the atmosphere up close and personal.

The sun was cool to look at too.

The best suggestion they had was going to visit your local news station and see if you can meet the meteorologist and ask them some questions related to the weather.  I would never have thought of doing that and was not even sure they would let us.  I was pleasantly surprised when they did.

We toured KOAM studios and Gess was so excited!  When we got the studio we met Doug Heady the chief meteorologist that Gess loves to watch on TV as well as another meteorologist on staff, Nick Kelly.  I made the question time a little easier by having her prepare her questions ahead of time.  She asked two questions that the curriculum wanted her to ask and two she came up with on her own. Because Gess still suffers from some speech intelligibility issues I had her type her questions so could she could read as she asked them and not be struggling for the words.  I also wrote them down on a note card and handed them to Doug Heady so he could see and hear the question as she asked it.  This way he was able to focus more on answering the questions, and less on trying to understand them.  I have to say he gave her some great answers and some pretty cool suggestions on how she can be predict the weather even now as a kid.  Then Gess started asking her own questions. Here she is listening intently as Nick explains how tornadoes form.

Then she got to see how they do the weather on television.  After that they let her try it out herself.  It was kind of tricky but she picked it up fairly quickly.  She was actually pointing to a blank green screen like this.

But on the television set it looked like this!

We have had so much fun with this study that when Gess was asked what her favorite book was she said that was it Weather on the Move!  The great part is we have really learned a lot about the weather.  (As I mentioned before even I have learned quite a bit.)  I really love how this brings the family together to explore, enjoy and praise God for the wonderful creation He has made!  It truly is incredible!

Weather on the Move sells for $19.95 and I think it is certainly worth the price. Homeschool Legacy also offers once-a-week unit studies on various other topics in both science and social studies.  The prices of each unit study varies and ranges anywhere from $15.95- $19.95.  If our experience is an example of how incredible the others are I know I will be purchasing more.  The Homeschool Review Crew members were given several different topics so if you want to see what else they have to offer you can visit those reviews by clicking on the banner the below.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the unit study Weather on the Move in PDF for giving my honest opinion and assessment of this product in my review.
Note: All pricing is current at the time of posting and is subject to change.


Marcy Crabtree said...

Loved this review, Lori. Your girl is just adorable! How cool that she got to do so much at the news station. I think this unit study is going on our list right away. Ben would love this!

Eddie said...

Your daughter looks so happy and interested throughout this unit! I'm adding this one onto our list of units to do for sure. We reviewed Forest For The Trees and enjoyed every minute of it.

Anna said...

Wow! What an incredible experience! Any of my students would have been thrilled to learn this way.

Our Country Road said...

How awesome!! I'm so glad you asked!!


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