The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Patchwork Primers Review by Debra Cogburn, Joy Niceley, and Dr. Heather Allen34 East Main Street
De Funiak Springs, Florida 32435
Volume I - American Dream
By Sharon Wilharm
Sharon Wilharm, creator of Patchwork Primers, says, "Home education is like a patchwork quilt. You use materials you have on hand to design a curriculum pattern based on your everyday lives. And when you're done, you have something to be proud of, something that can be passed down to future generations." I couldn't have said it better myself! This history-based unit study takes "pieces" of the most popular homeschooling methods (Charlotte Mason, classical, and unit studies) and "quilts" them together. Thorough without being overwhelming, Patchwork Primers - Vol. I is for grades second through fourth, but can be adjusted to include Kindergarten through first and up to lower middle school age children. I'll be using it with my sixth graders! This unit study covers American history, starting with Native Americans through the Civil War. It covers all subjects, including math and fine arts, although if used with different grades than second through fourth, you would need to supplement the math. This volume is broken up in six-week units, then subdivided into weekly plans. The first six-week unit, for example, covers Native Americans, US geography, botany, zoology, language arts, composition, grammar, math, music, art, P.E., Bible, and literature. At the beginning of each six-week section, you'll find a scope and sequence, background information, weekly planning guide, and an overview of weekly subjects. You are free to choose which books to use for this unit study, rather than given a list of specific books that must be purchased. Your expenses are kept low by using books that you have on hand or by visiting your local library. Sharon Wilharm is a Florida native, currently living in DeFuniak Springs, FL with her husband and child. She has a B.A. degree in elementary education, taught at a private Christian school, and began freelance writing nine years ago. Together with her husband, Sharon owns and operates Florida Antique Mall. I have used other history-based unit studies, and Patchwork Primers is an excellent example of what a thorough, yet easy-to-implement unit study should be!
-- Product Review by: Debra Cogburn, Lead Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
Volume 2 - Inventions and Discoveries
I have a wonderful product review for you. Patchwork Primer Volume 2 - Inventions and Discoveries is a complete unit study for grades K-3. It contains six units with six weeks of study in each unit. I. and D. covers history, science, Bible, language arts, math, music, PE, and art history.
There are two things I really like about Inventions and Discoveries. The first thing is that you can use whatever resources you have on hand or use books from the library. This is our second week of using the unit on communication. I have found a really cool website that we are using quite frequently. We have also used our encyclopedia sets and some other great books we have had on hand.
The second thing I like is that is it is all laid out for you. In the beginning of the book there is a scope and sequence on each of the units of study. Each week there is an overview telling what will be learned, information to be gathered, things to prepare in advance, and items you will need (most things you will have). The Patchwork Primer tells you exactly what to do each day! It is so easy.
In the first unit, Communication, children will learn about the printing press, typewriter, Braille, telegraph, telephone, and the radio. They will learn of the men behind these inventions also. In Science, they will learn and do experiments on the eye and the ears. For Literature, a biography is read on an inventor and a newspaper book report is done to show what they have learned. Tempo, rhythm, melody, octaves, tones, and pitch will educate your students in music. Painting with complimentary, primary, and secondary colors will spark your little artists. The Bible stories really connect everything together!
Information on starting an Inventors Club is in the back of the book. This is a great idea for co-ops or for a Science Fair in your homeschool support group. Under each of the six units of study, students are to complete 15 activities in order to receive their badges. Mrs. Wilharm supplies ideas for the uniforms and the badges!
Inventions and Discoveries does not have a phonics program. It does have grammar and spelling, but you will have to decide if it is too advanced for your children. We are using a program we love for language arts, so I am not using this part of I. and D. Math starts out with a review of addition. Again, depending on the ability of your children, you will have to decide. A math text would be a great asset.
--Product Review by: Joy Niceley, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
Laid Back Learning
By Sharon Wilharm
Laid Back Learning is a collection of educational activities that include activities a child can do alone or with others, card games, board games, travel games, active games, books, flash card fun, field trips, etc. If you can think of anything that might make learning fun it is probably in this book. More importantly, if you can't think of something that might make learning fun, the solution to your dilemma is probably in this book also.
There are so many things covered in only 110 pages that it boggles the mind. There are hundreds of ideas, appropriate for your elementary school-age children, that are just waiting for a family to jump into them.
Laid Back Learning is fun, engaging, and an incredible "jump start" to fun and learning. What a resource to have on hand in your schoolroom. Better yet - what a resource to have on hand for car trips and vacations. For a rainy day, for a quiet day, for a school day, this is the book for any homeschool.
-- Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analyst, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
Here's another Laid Back Learning review!
This is a wonderful book for your hands-on learner! Written by Sharon Wilharm, author of Patchwork Primer unit study, this book takes any subject and shows you how to present it to your child in a fun, creative way. Contents include creative centers, board games, card games, chalkboard games, active games, travel games, books and beyond, spelling review, flash card fun, constructive collections, and fabulous field trips. Use this book to supplement any curriculum or hand it to your unschool child and let him/her learn in a fun, carefree way. I give this book four stars!