I found the layout for this study to be quite different from most unit studies I have tried. These are called Once-a-Week Unit Studies. Just as the title says, it is truly only one day of the week which is devoted completely to the unit study. The other four days of the week you carry on with your normal studies and add in a few suggested reading titles from the unit if you choose to do so (for this one it included, Tree Eye Witness Book and My Side of the Mountain). The age range is grade 2 to 12, depending on how you use the studies. I found it a pretty good fit for my ages (6, 8, 10).
The four weeks were separated with the following topics: Week One – Tree Identification, Week Two – Tree Anatomy, Week Three – What Trees Provide, Week Four – Forests and Forestry.
Each week includes a study day (the guide suggested Wednesday, but you can use any day that works for your family) to focus on the unit. This day includes Library Choices – read-alouds you may choose to read to your children, a Family Devotional, Science, Science Experiments, Nature Journaling, Language Arts, Art, some History, and Field Trip suggestions. The unit also includes another list of suggested read-alouds that correspond to the study at the beginning of the unit.
Getting out in nature is a huge part of this study, which I loved because I’m always looking for interactive activities that get us outdoors and learning in God’s creation.
We spent time strolling and looking at as many types of trees as we could in our area. We live in a heavily wooded area, so it was easy to see thousands of trees – but not so easy to identify all of them! We used a Tree Identification Guide to learn the names and characteristics of the trees in our area.
Some of the activities we enjoyed:
- We used the suggested scripture Jeremiah 17:7-8 for copywork
- We discussed and researched, ‘what is a tree?’ and ‘what is a forest?’ by looking up the words in dictionaries and copying/reciting the definitions
- We read and enjoyed Joyce Kilmer’s poem, Trees
- We discussed the parts of a tree and sketched and labeled a diagram for our Nature Journals
- We measured the girth of various trees in our neighbourhood and predicted their ages based on the measurements
- We went on several nature walks to identify various trees in our local neighbourhood and close-by nature sanctuaries and woodlands
- We discussed the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees
- We dissected beans to identify the parts inside a typical ‘seed’
- We grew beans in a mason jar to show how roots and shoots work
- We discussed what uses trees have in our world and how we can help take care of trees
- We did science activities for Osmosis, Transpiration, and Photosynthesis
- We read several books about trees along with many poems!
Some other suggested learning and activities include things like, finding and saving leaves, nuts, seeds, and bark from various trees, finding and identifying insect damage to trees, making applesauce (for a study of how we use trees/fruit), studying the history of the largest trees in North America, and logging.I really enjoyed the variety of activities available and the flexibility to pick and choose what we wanted to do.