The micro-study is 20 pages long (including cover page, message from the author, dedication page, etc.) and covers a handful of the numerous indigenous tribes of North America. We have studied Native American culture and tribes in the past and used this unit study to learn more about them this year.
The first week introduces the Iroquois tribe from the Northeast Woodlands. There is a map that you can use to color in the different regions as you work through the unit study. You can also use the map to label where the different tribes live. My kids have a map on the wall that they have used in the past to mark where tribes live, so we used that. We printed out and colored in a paper longhouse and Iroquois paper dolls (a boy and girl for each of them). The link to the Tomahawk activity didn't work, so instead we cut out Tomahawks using construction paper.
The second week of the unit study focused on the Southeast Nations: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee Creek, and Seminole. We focused mainly on Sequoyah, who was from the Cherokee tribe and invented the first written tribal language after becoming interested in "talking leaves" (the written word). We have two books on Sequoyah, so we read those and practiced writing the Cherokee alphabet. He was able to teach the written language to the rest of the tribe and 7 years later they were able to print a newspaper called the Cherokee Phoenix. We took a one week break from our Spanish language studies to learn about the Cherokee language. We also created a timeline and labeled historic events. The unit study says to use clipart or download images to cut and paste on the timeline. We downloaded a blank timeline and printed pictures from Google and Wikipedia. This was the first time we really talked about history and compared past and present events. We discussed the Trail of Tears and the Long Walk, treaties the US Government made, what reservations are, and what injustices the indigenous tribes of America face today.
The third week covered the Plains Nations. We have family living in Montana on the Crow and Cheyenne reservations and I have pictures from my childhood of staying there over the summer. I showed the pictures to the kids and was able to teach them about how they built and set up tepees, the Buffalo Nation, and what a sun dance and rain dance are, among other lessons. The activities in the unit study has directions to create a tepee and diorama. There is also a link to a program that helps you learn Native American Sign Language called "Talking Hands" that the Plains Nations and other tribes used to communicate. We watched videos of buffalo grazing and being herded by riders. We also looked at tools, clothing, and utensils made from buffalo parts online. We talked about how hunting the buffalo was a dangerous job, but the Plains tribes relied on the buffalo for food and revered them.
The fourth week was about the Southwest Nations. We made Hogans out of paper mache and bowls out of clay. We practiced weaving bowls using paper and then switched to a DIY cardboard loom and used yarn. My daughter absolutely loved weaving and has requested a real loom for Christmas. The second craft the unit study covers is sand art, but we did not get a chance to make any, so we watched YouTube videos. It's definitely a project for a later date. For the Art Appreciation section I had examples my kids could look at in person. I have Navajo jewelry and textiles (three blankets) they were able to look at and we watched videos of how the Navajo make pottery and baskets. We also added to our timeline the Navajo Talkers who were incredibly important during WWII.
I definitely feel like this unit study should have included a lesson on the Pacific Northwest tribes, even if it added a week to the unit. We did this and created our own lessons and crafts. We focused on how they built plank houses, went whale hunting, carved totem poles, and their art. While learning about their unique art, they learned how dyes were made back in the day. While we didn't make our own dyes the same way, they did find ingredients in nature to make their own. We used different colored leaves (green, yellow, orange, and red) and mashed them using rocks until it formed a thick, lumpy paste. We added a little water and they used paintbrushes to paint a picture.
Throughout all the lessons we read books. Some were non-fiction and others were based on stories and legends. We also watched an episode from Magic School Bus called Shows and Tells (season 3, episode 6). The kids go back in time to research an artifact. We got to learn about what a hypothesis is and how it helps scientists and historians learn about history. We visited our local library which has a collection of Native American artifacts that were found nearby. Our area is actually where some of the original Massachusetts settlements were made. We also learned about present day tribal life.
Homeschool Legacy's unit studies can also be used to earn Boy Scout badges. This is not something we would use now, but my son plans to join the Boy Scouts next year.
We love using Homeschool Legacy for unit studies. They have just enough stuff to get us started and suggestions on how we can learn more about the subject. I really like that the unit studies accommodate children of different ages and as a teacher you can decide how simple or complex you want the lessons to be. Older students can probably complete the lessons in about 30 minutes. We usually spent an hour or two on each lesson. We typically spread out the lessons during the week, so we didn't do the whole weeks lesson in one day, although some students may prefer to do that. We look forward to using more unit studies by Homeschool Legacy in the future!
Other great Once-a-Week Studies and Micro-Studies: