Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: TOS Download N Go – Expedition Australia


I have always dreamed of visiting Australia (along with lots of other places), so when I received a free copy of Download N Go: Expedition Australia to review, I was ecstatic! When I learned it was co-authored by Amanda Bennett (the unofficial homeschool unit study guru) I just knew we were in for a treat. But before I go any further, let me tell you exactly what a Download N Go unit is…

“Download N Go™ is a brand new, innovative, E-Book series brought to you by Amanda Bennett and The Old Schoolhouse®.

Units are theme based and full of exciting discoveries and motivation to develop lifelong learners.

This series takes two outstanding homeschooling resources (Amanda Bennett and TOS), along with the best learning components, and creates a superior product . . . one that blends the unit study concept and lapbooking fun into one great adventure.

Units are reusable year after year—nothing is consumed. There are no expensive resources required! Each unit includes a great list of books that you can use to enrich your study, but they are not required.”

-Product Description from The Old Schoolhouse

Unit Study? Lapbooking? Sign me up! This E-book resource is packed with fun, full-color activities and includes lots of internet links, so I highly recommend using this resource on your computer for easy, one-click access to the web resources. This material is recommended for kids through 4th grade, but it could easily be adapted for older children, too. If you are wondering what this resource looks like, you can download a sample of it here.

Before digging too deep into this product I just have to share MY favorite aspect of this (and the other Download N Go units) resource. I love unit studies, but many times when you purchase a prepared study, you have to go through and break everything down into practical daily lessons on your own. Not so with this study! This unit is designed to be covered in a week, and it lays out each day’s objectives FOR YOU! No guesswork here! Every day you will cover several different subject areas such as geography, wildlife, history and culture. And every second of this study is packed with interesting information and fun, creative activities.

What exactly will you glean from this study? Here’s a brief overview:

    • Day 1: Where on Earth Is Australia?
    • Day 2: Some of the Special Places in Australia
    • Day 3: A Bit of Australian History
    • Day 4: Cool Things to Know About Australia
    • Day 5: Fun and Games in Australia

There is also a great resource list (divided into daily sections) which you can use to find books for further study on whatever topics interest your kids the most! The really neat thing about this unit study, is that when you are finished with all of the included activities, your students will end up with a themed notebook AND a lapbook! Or you could combine it all into one interactive notebook! As a special reward for completing their study, your students will receive a printed Expedition Australia Certificate of Exploration. How cool is that?

I have already shared with you what MY favorite things are about this resource, but what did my kids think? I’ll start off by telling you we all really enjoyed this study. It was a fun way to take a step back from our studies of the ancient world and take a look at a culture we really knew very little about. Drew, my 10 year old really enjoyed going through each day’s materials and checking out the internet links, especially the videos! Both of my boys enjoyed drawing a picture of their own Great Barrier Reef on a full color background and learning about the koala. Isaiah, my 8 year old liked learning about the different sayings and expressions used in Australia. It is really tough to pare it down to just a few things we liked, we really enjoyed all of it!

The only drawback I can think of to this product is that you may use a lot of color ink in printing off the reproducible student pages, but you could always print them off in grayscale using draft mode to save ink. We were lucky to have plenty of ink to print everything off in full color which made the pages more visually appealing and seem less like “homework”.

If you are interested in purchasing this resource for use in your own homeschool, it’s a steal at only $7.95 and you can purchase it from The Old Schoolhouse Store here. You can find the entire series of Download N Go E-books here and you can also purchase them for $7.95 each. TOS also has several different packages available if you are looking to purchase several units at once.

I am hoping to utilize more of the units in the future. We had a great time doing the study and the format of the lessons were right up our alley.

*I received this product for free for reviewing purposes and I did not receive any compensation for this review. The opinions therein are my own.


: ) Cassie

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