Ahoy, me mateys! Me hearties and me be studying the pirate ways. Brushing up on our pirate code, we be. And what bet'er way be there than a study from Homeschool Legacy? Once-A-Week Micro-Study Pirates or Privateers: You Decide be the study I used with me scallywag crew.
Homeschool Legacy is known for their Once-A-Week unit studies. Sharon Gibson, its founder and fellow homeschooler, wanted to provide "exciting, Biblically-centered educational materials that incorporate creative, hands-on assignments and activities." Focusing on God and America's Christian heritage, the unit studies help build a strong family legacy.
A unit study is a comprehensive way to learn about a topic. In order to fully understand all aspects about it, you immerse yourself in it and apply that topic to all subjects--science, language arts, literature, math, history, Bible, music, art, etc.. This method helps you learn more, retain it longer, and have fun while doing it. It's a great option for families teaching multiple ages at once.
The micro-studies are designed in the same fashion, but are completed in a fraction of the time. They use the same cross-curricular approach to learning, include hands-on assignments, and suggest classical award-winning read-alouds.
My kids have always liked pirates. Sailing the open seas, searching for buried treasures, funny speech, and cool eye patches--it's the perfect make believe play. I thought it would be fun to use Privates or Privateers: You Decide to help us learn more about a topic that was already appealing to them. Because this is a micro-study, there are only three 30-minute assignments for each of the four weeks of study.
- Week 1: Early Pirataes
- Week 2: The Era of Privateers
- week 3: Pirates of the Caribbean and The Age of Buccaneers
- Week 4: The Golden Age of Piracy
Each week's lesson lists the required supplies, describes the history of the period, and then includes all the suggestions for assignments and movie options. The study is written so that you can read it to your students exactly as it's written. Black Bart's Pirate Code is included, as well. Did you know that all lights and candles had to be put out by 8 o'clock or that the musicians had the Sabbath off? It's all part of the Code.
We learned many things throughout the study: the difference between pirates and privateers, which of the typical pirate attributes are actually inaccurate (or at least have no record of truth), about present day pirates, and more. The study suggests reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island as the family read-aloud, but we chose the Great Illustrated Classic abridged version since it is a more appropriate read for my little ones.
We absolutely loved the other studies we've used from Homeschool Legacy. Both the Knights & Nobles unit study and the Birds of a Feather unit study were well-received by my kids. I would love to say that we've enjoyed this one, too. Unfortunately, it was not a good fit for our family. The study claims to be for students in 1st-8th grades. I used this with 6th, 3rd, and 1st, but it could not hold their attention. Much of the study was written for older students. I often read my kids books above their levels and they do wonderfully with them, but they were bored and disappointed with this one. Oh, they enjoyed certain aspects, like creating our own pirate story about Captain No Beard aboard the Avenger and seeing how the privateers fit into the Elizabethan Age that we recently studied and taking the pirate quiz. Their favorite part was reading Treasure Island, which really had nothing to do with the study at all. One thing that frustrated me specifically was all the mistakes throughout the study. There were letters missing (like ver instead of over), only a letter given (like p instead or piracy), and many instances were there was no word at all, just a blank space. Most of the time I could guess what word should have been there, but it was frustrating, nonetheless. It needs to be edited again.
Aside from our issues, I think this study would be much better for the older crowd. Junior high and even high school students would benefit as many of the assignments include reading extra articles, researching, and writing compositions. There simply isn't enough exercises for the little ones. I still love Homeschool Legacy and would gladly use another of their studies, but, sadly, Pirates or Privateers: You Decide was not a good fit for us.
Homeschool Legacy offers many Once-A-Week unit and micro studies, like Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims which would be perfect to study this month, Christmas Comes to America would would be great for December, and others that would be wonderful at any time. If you'd like to read more reviews of this study or some of the others, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog.