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Pioneer Unit Study Review by Dena Wood

By Amanda Bennett
RR 1 Box 457A
Dunlap, TN 37327

This Pioneer Unit Study on CD ($14.95) covers such topics as the daily lives of pioneers, American history, US geography, North American Indians, and early American transportation, among others. The study includes all ages and is divided into lower level (elementary) and upper level (junior/senior high) so that you can easily print out just the pages that fit your needs. The guide is set up to be used as a four-week study with four regular work days and one "weekly windup" day for review each week. Daily activities include Today's Passage to read, copy, or memorize; Words of Wisdom, which are spelling or vocabulary words; People & Places to be investigated and included on the timeline; and Read & Discover questions to be researched and memorized.

The program includes a separate pdf file of 40 pioneer notebook pages, both lined and unlined, with borders and pictures, to be used in conjunction with the study. Also included are timeline pages covering the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620 and continuing through the 1900s. The study guide offers suggestions for entering events on the timeline. Each week's study is followed with an extensive list of Internet resources for further study or to follow up on specific interests.

The curriculum guide offers an extensive book list, categorized by age, that includes fiction, nonfiction, family read-alouds, and even activity books. Directions are also included for creating a personal Pioneer Journal and a family Pioneer Album as well as suggestions for family projects. Though this study is intended to cover four weeks, there are enough resources that it could easily be adapted to cover twice that long if desired.

While I personally prefer having a hard-copy book to look through, I can see the benefit of printing off only the pages necessary as you work with a specific age group. It would also be possible to print off separate activities or instructions for an older child to work on his own. I think this is a wonderful resource and well worth its $14.95 price.

-- Product review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2005