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The American Revolution The Great Lakes The Baroque Era: Art, Architecture and Music Review by Kathy Gelzer

Intellego Unit Studies
PO Box 832
East Longmeadow, MA 01028

Unit studies provide a fun and organized way for homeschoolers to delve deep into a topic of interest for a chunk of time. Intellego Unit Studies emphasize the "multiple intelligences" learning style, and the activities are multi-sensory. I received three CDs to review: The American Revolution, The Great Lakes, and The Baroque Era.

Each unit study follows the same organized structure. Introductory materials provide the teaching parent with specific tips for using Intellego Unit Studies, a troubleshooting guide, a list of objectives, and a materials list organized by chapter. Following the preliminary information are several chapters full of activities with simple directions, well-chosen photos, and attractive graphics.

Every chapter contains a materials list, vocabulary words, an activity list, several extension activities, an answer key, and a reflection and exploration activity. Many of the activities rely on information gleaned from Internet links. There are also plenty of discussion questions and writing prompts. Completed activities may be incorporated into the final project suggested for each unit study: a portfolio, which can be as simple or elaborate as you and your children wish. Answer keys are included at the end of the study.

The American Revolution has six chapters covering life before the war, the beginning of the war, war in the north and the south, and the Treaty of Paris. Target ages are upper elementary through high school.

The Great Lakes includes an introduction to the lakes, a chapter on Navigation and Life on the Great Lakes, and a chapter on each individual lake, for a total of seven chapters. Target ages are upper elementary through middle school.

The Baroque Era has 11 chapters: an introduction, Annibale Carracci, Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velazquez, Rembrandt, Giovanni Bernini, Christopher Wren, Antonio Vivaldi, J. S. Bach, and Handel. Target ages are upper elementary through high school.

Although the number of chapters varies, all the unit studies, which are in a single PDF format, are over 100 pages in length and contain more than 60 activities. Each study takes between three and six weeks to complete. It is suggested that the parent print up pages for the written activities and also print up the table of contents to monitor progress through the unit study. Of course, it is also suggested that you gather all necessary supplies ahead of time.

Intellego has unit studies for homeschoolers in grades K-12. Ideas for adapting the activities for such a broad range are included in the How to Use an Intellego Unit Study section at the beginning of the PDF. Parents will probably want to supplement these unit studies with math and language arts, although there are plenty of writing projects included. Also be aware that these studies are secular and therefore provide no tie-in between the subject matter and the Bible. Some Christians may find that this aspect makes the unit studies lacking in depth and meaning.

The organization of these unit studies is top-notch. This is a very professional product. The unit studies are also quite affordable, ranging from $8.95 to $19.00 depending on the format you choose (CD or instant download) and the subject. I liked the convenience of the imbedded Web links. Because so many of the activities are connected with Internet links, Intellego Unit Studies are portable and great for homeschooling anywhere and everywhere with the aid of your trusty laptop. I highly recommend them for families that like to explore websites to enhance their studies, for homeschoolers who are often out and about, and for those who are traveling.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2010