Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Curriculum Clean OUT


Check out this blog http://homeschoolcreations.blogspot.com/ for some great give-aways. There were 33 give-aways at last count! There is some great material that you have the opportunity to win for FREE. It doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When I Grow Up....

The next piece of curriculum I am going to review is the "When I Grow Up I want to be a firefighter". My kids loved this unit study! It is geared for 4-10 year olds and is a great value at $8.95 for the ebook. You can purchase it and download it from http://www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com/ I love using ebooks because I don't have to wait for them to be delivered. If there is a topic my kids are interested in I can find something on it and download it right then--before they move on to the next interest. Thus, I am maximizing learning time by having them study stuff they are interested in. This ebook could not have come at a better time since my 4 year old is at the "I wanna be a fireman" stage--I think all little boys go through that stage!

I had my oldest read a good bit of the material to the younger two--and they love this!

It was easily read right from my laptop to save on paper and ink! It took about 4 days to get through all the reading. The younger ones lost interest with the reading fairly quickly, but as long as we did it in short spurts they really enjoyed learning about all the aspects of being a firefighter. There was so much more than just reading material in this ebook. All subjects from graphing for math to creative writing and even quizzes to test their understanding. Of course I didn't require the two year old do any of this. She did enjoy the coloring pages while the boys were working on their assignments. The oldest, Paul, had several of the activities in his workboxes each day and I worked through the activities orally with Zach (our 4 year old). Both ways worked very well, and both boys learned alot. I loved the fact that Molly also felt included and was on the same topic as the boys. After we finished most of the unit we did some of the suggested games, and that was definitely a hit! We did an obstacle course in the basement where they had to climb over and under obstacles to save the baby giraffe from the fire.

We also got to show how tough and brave we were by putting out the fire, which meant popping the balloons by sitting on them. In reality, I guess Paul was the only one tough enough to extinnguish the fire. Zach is terrified of noises so he ran upstairs screaming when I even mentioned popping the balloons, and Molly just stood and watched.

This unit was so much fun. The kids learned about so many aspects of firefighters and had fun too. I love anything that all three of my kids can do together and all learn at their own pace, and this definitely fits the bill!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Expedition Australia

I am hoping to be a part of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's Homeschool Crew this coming school year. As a "tryout" for that I am reviewing a couple of educational materials here on the blog. If I am selected to be a part of the crew I will be reviewing more homeschool materials. I am very excited about this opportunity.

A little about the first ebook. "Expedition Australia" is a part of a new "Download N Go" series by Amanda Bennet and the Old Schoolhouse. It can be purchased for a very reasonable price of $7.95 at http://www.unitstudy.com/ The amount of information you get for that price is amazing. It is a complete unit study as well as a lapbook in one ebook. It is designed to last 5 days--and definitely has enough activities in it to go well beyond 5 days.

"Expedition Australia" was written with the intent of being used with kindergarten-4th grade. I used it with my almost kindergartener and 3rd grader. My 2 year old was right there with us doing as much as she could as well. It was a wonderful study that all three kids really enjoyed--which is really tough to find. I loved the ease of use and the fact that it really was "download n go".

After lunch each day we stayed at the table and I just pulled my laptop over and we went through the ebook together. It has tons of links to great videos and pictures as well as informational websites. As we would finish one section and come to a worksheet or lapbook activity I would just print it out and the kids would do whatever activity needed to be completed at that time. All 3 kids LOVED the videos, and got alot out of them. They want to learn to snorkle and go see the Great Barrier Reef, as well as visit the Outback, Uluru, and the Great Victoria Desert-have to talk to Daddy about saving a "little" money for that trip! I think I will settle for a trip to Outback Steakhouse!

My middle son loves animals of all kinds so the animal of the day was a big hit with him. He spent alot of time after we were done pretending to be that animal. He hopped around the house like a kangaroo and tried to climb trees in the yard like a koala. My 8 year olds favorite part was the word of the day. He loves doing accents--and is quite good at it--so he had a great time practicing his Australian accent with the new Australian words. His favorite word was one that he found on his own "foon"--which means "idiot"--we had to stop him from saying that one, but I was excited that he was interested enough to look that up on his own. The two year old just loved doing what her brothers were doing.

There is so much information packed in to this ebook that it took us 2 weeks to complete it all--instead of the suggested one week. One might could do it in one week if all the participating kids were 2nd - 4th grade. But, if you are trying to do it with the younger K and 1st graders you definitely need a little more time. We are still looking at some of the videos as well as enjoying the "family fun" activities listed at the end of the ebook.

The only thing I was a tad disappointed with had nothing to do with the ebook itself, but with the selection of books on Australia that our bookstore has--basically none! We went to the bookstore the day before we started the unit and I was going to let each of the kids pick out a couple of books to purchase. But, we couldn't find any of the books listed in "Expedition Australia" or any other books on Australia. But, we jumped in to the unit study anyway and found that the books were not really necessary since there was a plethora of information in the ebook and links to more information online! It was a great unit study and one that I know my kids won't soon forget.

If you take a look at a post from a week or so ago you can see how all three loved the videos! I wanted to take more pics but we got so involved in the projects themselves I forgot to take pictures-- I will do better with the pics as I get used to the blogging world