Christian Cottage

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xdmom

  • Reviewed on Thursday, February 28, 2013
  • Grades Used: K-2nd
  • Dates used: 2012-13
I love unit studies, but I'm not nuts about this one. For the first couple years of homeschooling, I created my own units and then gathered the info at the library and online, but quickly became burned out. I decided I'd purchase a unit study curriculum to take some of the pressure off. I did a bunch of research and finally settled on Christian Cottage's God Bless America (Vol 3) Unit Study. Here's why I picked it:
-Suitable for multiple ages at once
-Had a biblical component and world-view
-Covered science, geography, history
-Price was right...about $85.00 if I remember correctly

Here's what I don't like about it:
-The information in each day's study is dense, boring, assumes a ton of knowledge, and is written at too high a level for my kids. They groan and whine when I'm reading from the lesson. Excerpt from the chapter on trade winds-"A trade wind is a strong wind that blows from either the northeast or southeast across the equator. There is an 'equatorial trough' of low pressure surrounding the earth around the equator. Trade winds are a result of a Coriolis effect and the 'equatorial trough'." There is no further explanation about any of the scientific terms, nothing that makes them even slightly relevant or interesting. Are you yawning yet? On what planet is this appropriate content for K-2nd?
-The biblical content is incredibly lengthy and way too advanced for young children. It's like half a page of scripture. How about a single verse that they can easily repeat, apply, or memorize?
-The units require an inordinate amount of time, pre-planning, purchasing supplies, and photocopying on my part.
-The vocabulary is terrible and not appropriate for any ages that I can think of.
-The books in the book list are not exactly main stream books...I have yet to find any of them in my library, and we have a GREAT library.
-There is an inordinate emphasis on clothing. This may be just a personal peeve, but I care much less about peoples' traditional dress (which they don't still wear) than I do about other cultural aspects like food, shelter, & use of regional resources, and why they're important.
-The projects are ok, but there's nothing that connects the project or experiment with the topic covered...eg. Today we made a mariner's compass. The project was fun and I had the supplies, but it contained NO explanation about how this assisted in navigation, NO explanation about why the needle points "magnetic north", NO instruction on what "magnetic north" actually is, NO information about why rubbing a needle on a magnet magnetizes it, etc...I had to hunt all of this down online.

Here's the bottom line: I bought a curriculum so I wouldn't have to do all the leg work, but what I actually end up doing is reading the part of the lesson plan that says what my kid should know at the end of the unit, then I go to the library and find books that teach it to them. That's not exactly getting my money's worth out of this curriculum.

I think I'll take another reviewer's advice and check out MFW.

themcvays

  • Reviewed on Monday, February 22, 2010
  • Grades Used: PK,K,1,4,5
  • Dates used: 2008-2009
I was looking for a unit study my family could do together to keep us all on the same page. We finally settled on My Father's World. Here are my thoughts on Christian Cottage...

What I enjoyed about this unit study:
1. Fun and easy to complete hands on projects.
2. Intersting topics and well thought out connections between topics.
3. It has a good book list
4. A wonderful support group of women on yahoo!
5. The ability to purchase individual units from Currclick.com.
6. This unit study is inexpensive.

What I did not enjoy about this unit study:
1. Sparse coverage of some topics
2. The main problem I found with this unit study is that there was a large threshold of assumed knowledge in some of the units. For instance when we were studying animals it was assumed that my children would be able to classify animals. We ended up having to supplement with Core Knowledge and it gradually became too much work. I switched to Core Knowledge for a time and then to My Father's World.

I would reccomend that individual units should be purchased. The units are very fun and could be used to inject some fun into school. I simply had a hard time using it as my main curriculum.

This would probably work well for a Mom who enjoys doing a little leg work herself.

grateful_mom_of3

  • Reviewed on Saturday, May 10, 2008
  • Grades Used: K, 1st, 5th
  • Dates used: 2007-2008
I have been using a mixture of ABeka & Bob Jones for the past 3 years. Teaching three children at three different levels with the depths of "Traditional" schooling was taking the life & fun out of me! I prayed about some type of change & the Lord led me to CC. I called the number for CC & left a message. I didn't think that I would get a phone call. But to my surprise, the author, Terri Spray, called me, not once, but two times! She was such an encourger to me! She gave me the encouragment that I needed to break free from the bondage of tradionalism in my children's school work.

My oldest is diagnosed ADD which makes him a complete kinestic learner. My middle is an auditory and youngest is visual. I needed something that I could work all three learning styles while still having fun! This curriculum did that for me.

My children are not school-lovers. But they beg to do CC first everyday! They love that can do it together. There's also a hands-on activity that can be done to "nail in" the lesson for that day. Honestly, if I had tried CC or any unit study in my first couple of years of teaching, I wouldn't have been able to succeed. I needed that spoon-fed type of curriculum to teach me. Now, that I have some years under my belt & learned the priorities, I know how to change it up, add to, or take away. CC gives me the "meat" & my children love finding all of the side dishes! My 1st grader absolutley loves looking up words in a dictionary to find the meaning. CC has a thorough vocabulary in the back of each section. However, I opted to let that be a way for my children to learn about the use of a dictionary (guide words, parts of speech, sample sentence, etc.). My oldest didn't learn how to use a dictionary effectively until 4th grade (I think). My first grader has already mastered that concept!

Allow me to give one example of how well CC is & I'll quit rattling on. My children were learning about the the Roman's taking over Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. They were no more listening to me, nor understanding. So, I told them to get their building blocks & build a city (Jerasulem). My oldest built one the city with outer walls, central well, agora, stadium, etc. (all from previous lessons that he remembered). My middle one also built the city which had a Lowe's & Wal-Mart (I asked if there were those types of stores back then & he replied, "No, but there should have been! It would've made their lives easier.")
My youngest didn't want to participate (she's a girl & didn't want to do a 'boy thing'"!). However, it was completley fine b/c I needed an enemy (Roman). They spent 45+ minutes working on their cities. They were so proud! Then, the enemy came & knocked it all down. My oldest cried. He said, "That's not fair! I worked hard on that!" With that, I explained how the Jews had to feel. They all understood it on more than an knowledgable level, it was now on an emotional level. When we had "History Day" with our co-op, they chose to act out this story. This is just one example. I have many more!

I also like how they intergrate Bible verses into the lesson. My children are activiley involed in church where Scripture memorization is handled through TeamKIDs & Bible Skills, Drills, & Thrills. They also have thier own Bible curriculum where they are digging into the Word on a deeper level in our schooling. I didn't intend on CC to be my Bible curriculum. I think it does fine to relate Scripture to History & Science. I do supplement Bible, Language Arts, Math, & Spelling. CC is my children's History, Science, & Reading.

I ahve been completly satisfied with CC & looking forward to our next adventure!

Jess McC

  • Reviewed on Friday, November 9, 2007
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2007
I bought the first unit 'Roots and Relations' from homeschoolestore.com because I knew I would be very busy for a month and wouldn't have time to plan my own unit study, which is what I normally do.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this product. IMO, it's very easy to write most of a unit study - Usbornes, DKs etc for the factual/science parts; literature for inspiring and more info. What I find takes the longest is to integrate a Christian perspective, Scripture memory etc. Christian Cottage claimed to have done this already.

Actually, apart from one or two of the 20 days where there was a specific Bible verse, all you are given are 3 pages of scripture references for the topic and directed to go through them with students. To be honest, I didn't think this was good enough. There is no given memory work as such, so instead of a ready-made unit, I ended up effectively writing it myself.

On the plus side, the science is strong, and there are some nice activities. But some days there are directions like 'keep on writing your heritage book.' The ebook was convenient: I could print out the worksheets I needed - but there are hardly any worksheets!

The best thing we got out of this was the family of Jesus through doing a Jesse tree - but you can get that free from the net anyway!

So - sorry - can't recommend. I suggest if you're looking for a bought unit study, choose one with APPLIED scripture, LOTS of craft and other ideas and LOTS of worksheets.
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