Review: Australian Expedition

I am  in the try-out process for a program called The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review.  My assignment was to download two e-books and write a review, so…here is the first review! 

The first book we went through was called Expedition Australia by Amanda Bennett.   It is a “Download ‘N Go” unit study series by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. 

As I was clicking the “download” button, I must admit that I didn’t feel too hopeful.  Generally, I am not a fan of e-books.  They may be the wave of the future, but I am rather old-fashioned.  I love the lovely smell of a new book…the soft creak as a new book opens…and the serendipity of reading words on a page rather than a screen.   I also, honestly, wasn’t keen on the idea of printing off a 103-page book.

 I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I opened the downloaded book.  First, it explained quite clearly how the book would work.  This book is meant to be a week-long study of Australia, and the book began by describing an overview of what we would be studying each day.  It also included a list of recommended resources that could be checked out at the library to complement each day’s study, a definite plus for a research junkie like me! 

 The “Download ‘N Go” books are intended to be lapbooks, a concept I, as a rather new homeschooling mama, only vaguely understood.  Basically, all I needed to make a lapbook for our expedition into Australia was a file folder, glue stick, safety scissors, brass brads, and crayons or markers.  This concept was very appealing to me, because sometimes our homeschooling days don’t follow a predictable schedule.  I had a hunch that this was homeschooling we could either do sitting on the comfort of our own couch or in a doctor’s waiting room.  I was right.  The book included a clearly written explanation of lapbooks as well as some links for those of us who still felt a bit intimidated by the process.  Throughout the book there were links connecting me to suggested lapbook activities for each section. 

After reviewing the setup of the book, it was time to jump into our study of the Outback!  Each day’s study was an interesting, entertaining, and instructive mix of studying spelling, math, geography, geology, art, history, and science.  It was a complete week-long educational package!  The chapters included written information about Australia that was both educational and interesting.  Do you know, for example, what a lolly is?  Amélie and I do!  We also found Australia on the map (thankfully that is at least one thing I already knew about the continent!), compared temperatures in Australia and Kansas City, and learned about kangaroos, koalas, tasmanian devils, and wombats.  We even listened to the Australian National Anthem and looked at pictures of the constellations that appear in their night sky.   Each day also included extra links we could go to for more information about what we were studying that day as well as coloring pages and video links. 

 To do this program we had to take a respite from our regular homeschool lessons, but honestly, it was a fantastic way to have an educational “break” that we really needed.  At first, I got overwhelmed with all of the extra links and activities, but soon I learned to just do what we felt like doing and to save the rest for another day. 

 It was quite fun exploring Australia through this fantastic e-book.  Now we would love to experience our own Australian Expedition!   G’day, Mates!


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