Friday, April 9, 2010

Expedition Australia

Well, this will be a very fun blog ... for me at least. I've been looking forward to posting this for a while now, but my "schedule" of when we'd accomplish this task did not remain according to plan.
You may be wondering what I am exactly talking about so here's a brief explanation and introduction. I am a homeschooling mom (as many of you might know) and I came across an outstanding opportunity through The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - to become a part of their Homeschool Crew. The Crew reviews products, and posts them so that others have first hand knowledge of how the product can be used. So I applied, and to my wonderful surprise I was chosen to participate in the next step. That entails reviewing a few products and sending the post in to be reviewed. Then I'll find out if I was chosen. (I really hope I am because this is one of the areas in the homeschool community that I have been praying to get into more consistently.)

So the first product we were given to try was from the Download N Go Series. This series is created by Amanda Bennett in conjunction with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. These Download N Go’s (DNG) cover many areas and are one week unit studies with tons of hands-on activities.
The one we received is called Expedition Australia. This was very exciting for me and for my girls (Arianna 6, and Audrie 4). These unit studies come fully equipped with everything you need to begin your journey. They can be downloaded directly to your computer and used instantly, hence the name Download N Go. They have 5 full days of study complete with lap-booking exercises that coincide with each days’ lesson. One of the reasons I was excited for this particular product is because we have been learning the 7 continents this year . We have done other unit studies and explored some of the other continents and so this fit in perfectly with our plan. Now the only things you need to have on hand are items to create your lapbook (which include brads, file folders, glue sticks, scissors (safety if your kids are young like mine), and crayons, markers or colored pencils.) You also have to have paper and a printer, but I think those items would be essential for most homeschooling families.
So our plan was to begin the unit study the week Stephen had off for his spring break. I was planning to take it a bit easier that week so that we could still have family time, but still have a school day in case we wanted to take a break later on in our year. My plan went mostly as planned, but not entirely. Each day I printed out the necessary pages for Arianna to complete. Because of Audrie’s age she didn’t complete the entire study, but I did print out many pages for her to have so that she still felt a part of our unit study. Then Arianna would sit at the computer and read her page and click on the links within the page Each page is chock full with links to videos on You Tube and other web sites to encourage and help learn the information of that particular day. At the end of the week Arianna had completed and entire “book” on Australia as well as a lapbook that represented things learned throughout the week that she could show to others.
One of the things I think was a bit hard was there was no picture of a what a complete lapbook for this study could or would look like. There were links to learn about lapbooking and what one looked like in general, but not one specific to this study. So we waited until the end of the week to begin on our lapbook. But it could be done at the end of each day as part of the study for that day. Since I’m not as familiar with lapbooking I wanted to wait until the end so I would know how many “books” we had and whether we’d need a larger file folder for the lapbook.
Once the lapbook is complete you can print out a Certificate of Exploration and the child is able to write about their favorite part, date and sign it. That is my favorite part. My other favorite part is that Arianna had fun and enjoyed doing her study and the lapbook.
These Download N Go studies are very affordable at $7.95 per study. They have other purchase options including 4 weeks and 19 weeks for an even greater savings. You can check them out at and see the variety of different studies available, and more are being created! These are a great addition to any homeschool, whether to enhance a subject you are already learning about, to take a break in the every day routine, or just to encourage your child in an area they are interested in. They are written for K-4 which was perfect for our family since Arianna is in 1st grade and Audrie in K4. Arianna understood mostly everything and did a majority of the computer work by herself (after I explained how to click the links and such.) Audrie on the other hand had fun with the coloring sheets and other activities, and learned the main parts about Australia. I think for the price the wealth of information is a wonderful value. If anyone was thinking about learning more about lapbooking this is one product I would highly recommend.

So as you can see I really enjoyed this product. I will post pictures in a different post so that this one won’t be too long (which I suspect it might already be), but I hope you take the time to check the product out.


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