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