In preparation for my TOS Crew's 2010-2011 product review cruise, I have been asked to write a practice review. I chose to review the June 2010 Module of The Shoolhouse Planner, entitled "Travel the World," a 52-page document full of information and activities.
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Geography has never been my forte, but travel has always appealed to me -- and when you think about it, the two really go hand-in-hand. So when this module presented the subject of geography as an opportunity to "travel the world," I got excited about the prospects.
It only took me about half an hour to skim read the e-book, but I was very impressed by the depth and breadth of information presented, not only in the book itself, but via the plethora of internet links it provides. What appeals to me most is that it offers material that can be used to span a variety of ages and learning stages; there are ideas and activities that appeal to my pre-schooler, and there are learning opportunities for the oldest member of my family. (Oh -- that would be me! :) From little ditties to help one remember the names of the continents (sung to the tune of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"), to colouring pages, word games and puzzles, to lapbook templates, to copywork pages (manuscript and cursive), to National Geographic geography challenges, to international recipe ideas -- there is something for everyone to learn and enjoy.
Because we're in summer mode, we did not take a formal approach to our exploration of this unit study. Instead, I picked elements I thought my children would most enjoy, and pursued those.
(She doesn't quite look it in the photo -- but she really is enthused! She's just concentrating. LOL)
DD3 had fun with the colouring pages; DD8 tried her hand at some of the word games (she had trouble with the word search because of her visual discrimination challenges -- but she's a trooper); and DS11 went to town with the computer games. I confess we were a bit disappointed with the "Additional Geography Fun" links. Some require an awful lot of reading with little action; some are just quizzes (not so good for a child who is stressed by tests); and some test a memory of patterns more than a knowledge or understanding of geography. But still -- there is lots to choose from, and what doesn't float our boat might send another's sailing.
In studying this geography gem, I came to realize just how imortant it is to have the digital version of an e-book. I had DH print and bind a lovely copy of my "Travel the World" unit because I'm a book-in-hand kind of person. Then, my computer died -- leaving me without access to the digital version. "No problem!" I thought. "I have the hard copy."
But there was one minor detail I hadn't considered: embedded links! I love using them in my blog -- but if you can't click those links, you can't get to the websites! Thankfully, I was able to solve my digital dilemma, and enjoyed exploring the wealth of information that was just a click away. To show you the variety of information available in this e-book, here are just some of the websites that provide more meat and potatoes (and gravy ;) in "Travel the World":
Of course, all of the linked websites have related links to more information, videos, maps, and quizzes -- so the opportunities for learning are virtually endless. Some of the websites have distracting (though not offensive, that I noticed) advertising, but the abundance of resources available is worth that minor annoyance.
I don't have any high school students yet, but I appreciate the fact that "Travel the World" has a "High School Expansion" section that offers additional challenges and information for more advanced students. I also like the fact that while it is a geography unit study, it incorporates multi-subject activities related to language, literature, history, and even business. Oh -- and we musn't forget those recipes for cooking! It also appeals to a variety of styles of learning, including visual, tactile, and kinesthetic.
"Travel the World" might just be what your family needs to set sail on a great academic year. I'm sure it will provide our family with plenty more opportunities for adventure from the comfort of our home, as it's something we can easily come back to whenever the travel bug bites.
Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for review purposes. I am not paid for my review beyond receipt of the product.