I am sure that you know by now that I'm a fan of unit studies. And the latest review our family had the opportunity to review was a pdf dowload from the company Box of I.D.E.A.s. Their acronym stands for Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities. Each box contains ten modules or mini units that are interactive, multi-level, and supplemental to your everyday learning. Each module has been created to stand alone which allows them to be used in any order that fits your schedule or curriculum. And most modules only require a pen or pencil as additional supplies. If you purchase the pdf version (which is the one we received) you will need scissors or a paper cutter.
As I said these are available as a PDF version ($49.00) or as a physical product or box ($79.00) and additional student modules are also available at just $4.00. The main difference is that the box is all ready to go with no cutting necessary and comes pre-packaged in 10 clearly marked bags. ;) For me, even though I like to save money, I am not sure that the additional time of cutting and printing makes up for it so I'd say if you're interested go for the physical box.
These boxes were created for ages 9-16, but I would have to say that my newly nine year old wasn't able to do all the activities. I would say that these are better aimed at your late middle school to high school aged children. However, I think that this particular lesson set - Salt - was a perfect fit for my girls (9 and 7).
Each box covers a myriad of subjects from history to science to politics to religion to even language. It's all in there within the 10 modules. The Salt modules include:
The History of Salt
The Science of Salt
The Salt March
Salt of the Earth
The Need for Salt
Preserving With Salt
Too Much Salt
The Wall That Salt Built
Where Salt Lives
The Language of Salt
As you can see that's a lot of salt talk. ;) I don't think any of us really think about salt and I for one didn't realize that salt was such an important feature in the history of the world. Each module concludes with a portfolio piece that will be included in the student's notebook which will show their journey through the subject in the Box.
When we started I wanted to make sure the girls had an overview, so we started with the first module on the 'History of Salt'. I did read them all the modules and was stunned that both of them had been able to relate the 'Salt March' to Ghandi (who we had studied early last year in history) and that the 'Wall That Salt Built' was probably dealing with China and Marco Polo. My girls fascinate me with how much information they really do internalize and learn even though it doesn't come out all at once.
I was pleased that one of our activities in the History of Salt was to look up how many times salt was mentioned in the Bible. The girls were overwhelmed when we found out that it was over 40 times. Who knew? So we decided to split up the scriptures and one would write out the evens and the other the odds. Here's a picture of them working on their Scriptures of salt.
As you can see some of these activities are a bit time intensive. It took Audrie (just 7) a bit longer then her sister to get through her set of Scriptures, but I was proud of her persistence. And they both were working on their handwriting at the same time. I love units for that one reason - multi-tasking. ;)
As with anything in homeschooling, these units are made for adjusting to your schedule, your curriculum, and your style of homeschooling. If a particular module takes longer then you thought, it's no biggie. I found there were a few of the modules that were just not going to work at this time, mostly because of the age of my elementary students. I do however love the fact that in a year or two we could use these modules and this Box of I.D.E.A.s to spark some new interests and memories. There are also additional links that can help extend the module when we do this one again. And there's an end of unit "big" test, which can be used - we just opted not to at this time.
I love the way that these units bring the entire family into the learning process. I learned just as much if not more about salt as my girls did. I also know there is much more learning to be done with this box and with others that are available (World War II, Quilting (one I want to do myself), Laundry, and even one on the number Eleven) and to come, the possibilities with these boxes are endless.
I encourage you to take some time and read how other Crew members tested out their Box of I.D.E.A.s. If you'd like you can find them on Facebook. You can email them if you have any further questions.
*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***