Our family always cooks more this time of year, so it’s been a great time to change up our pace with a unit study from Homeschool Legacy, a Once-a-Week Micro-Studies on Cooking up History with the Founding Fathers. Here’s my review of this unit study!
Cooking up History with the Founding Fathers
With this unit study, you receive a PDF e-book outlining four micro lessons that can be completed over four weeks (or on your own time table).
The Once-a-Week Micro Studies I received included materials covering four Presidents: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. Each president’s section included:
- Basic facts about their life plus an image of the presidents
- Supplies and important links
- History / Government summary plus a link to videos
- Language – which generally covered any terms or usages that were key to understanding each president.
- A Cooking With section where the presidents favorite dish was discussed along with a link to a recipe
- Did You Know? section with other fun facts
Throughout the sections are educational internet links to vocabulary, terms, events, people, and places, so you can find out more information as you go. Also each section includes an activity or discussion questions.
For instance, younger kids can link to a YouTube video that shows them how to cartoon George Washington, or complete a coloring sheet of John Adams. Older kids might write a letter as John Adams was fond of doing, or discuss the twelfth amendment.
How we used Cooking Up History
Although you could stretch these unit studies over several weeks, you could also choose to use them as a “break” from your regular schedule and complete the readings and activities all in one week. You could easily fill a day with reading, cooking, and activities while you wait for your food to be ready.
For our family, we did a little bit of a hybrid. It was time for a break for us, and I had a very busy week with other things going on, so we paused our regular studies and filled all the nooks and crannies of our busy week with the Cooking with History activities!The curriculum is listed for grades 1-8. For my first grader, a lot of the info about government and language would’ve gone over his head, so I just picked out age-appropriate tidbits about their lifestyles and habits to share with him (and my preschooler).
We talked about where each president fell on our timeline, based on their date of birth. I read them a few of the simpler and fun “Did You Know?” facts. And we read a simple paragraph biography of each president as we studied.Mostly though, we had fun cooking and talking about why we thought each dish would’ve been that president’s favorite. During this time, I tucked in any other details I had gleaned from the curriculum ebook, in a way that made it seem natural and not like I was just reading to them.
The boys loved creating the George Washington Cherry Pie, even though they knew the story of the cherry tree was just folklore, not fact. They even did an amazing job creating the lattice work for the top of the pie.And Thomas Jefferson’s Macaroni & Cheese was a huge hit for lunchtime with my little guys. They were surprised the dish has been around for so long!
I really liked how the cooking part gave us lots of time to talk about history while we worked. I see this curriculum as being excellent for kids who have a hard time sitting still or focusing on abstract historical facts. When you’re cooking a historical figures favorite dish, it’s easy to think about them and their life and talk about what it must’ve been like to be them!
I will say though, that the recipes linked to needed a little tweaking, and next time I might just go with a favorite recipe that I already know works well!
Beside conversation, obviously, cooking is an important skill and very hands-on. For homeschoolers who maybe don’t get to work in a lot of cooking into their curriculum, this would be a very fun way to start, while still retaining high academic impact. I also love how Homeschool Legacy recommends pairing this unit study with some of their other historical and Constitutional studies for greater connections.
Overall, I found our first foray into unit studies to be fun and a good break for our family, as we love baking and cooking this time of year especially. I felt confident knowing that my kids got a lot of learning in even though we weren’t going through our regular programs on those days.Homeschool Legacy has a lot more Once-A-Week Micro Studies, and Once-A-Week Unit Studies that are more detailed. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with new studies and updates!
To find out what other homeschool families experienced with Homeschool Legacy Once-A-Week Micro Studies, click here!