May 13, 2010
I was recently asked by The Homeschool Magazine to do a review of one of Amanda Bennett's Unit Studies. The was a one-week study of Australia. As luck would have it, we actually have a friend of our from Australia coming to visit this summer so we couldn't have received this at a better time! This particular unit study located in the Download N Go part of their website.
Although we didn't have time to complete the entire unit study since we were busy finishing up our usual curriculum before the end of our school year, what parts we did complete were really fun!! It is something we will also try to complete before our visitor this summer, especially since it covers everything from geography to animals to the language used there. This was a downloadable PDF file that was VERY user friendly. It included links to recommended books (available at Amazon if you aren't able to find something similar in your local library) along with links to YouTube videos that went along with each days lesson. The one thing I loved about the videos is they were short and sweet. Let's face it, I have three boys and they have the attention spans of a gnat on speed. Those videos were each less than 5 mins. long and perfect for all of their age ranges (my school-aged guys are 10 and 7). Most of them were clips from National Geographic so they were appropriate for children. Trust me, I checked every one of them.
The other aspect of this unit study that I really enjoyed was that it came complete with instructions for lapbooking. Along with the instructions were all of the templates needed for the lapbooks. You would just need to print one copy for each student. If you have never tried lapbooking, this would be a great opportunity to get your feet wet and see how well your kids do with them.
As a busy mom of 3, I was thrilled that each lesson was planned out for you. I have used several other unit studies in the past and some of them require A LOT of planning on mom's part. That wasn't an issue when I was just homeschooling one, but by the time we added two more into the mix, for me that was a deal breaker when it came to buying curriculum.
I also appreciated how inexpensive they were ($7.95 per each weekly unit study). Personally, that's something I could easily fit into our budget even in our current economy. It probably isn't something I would do every single week of our school year, but it would make a great supplement for us. They do offer special deals for purchasing all of them at a discounted price if you wanted to use them as a geography/history curriculum.
To be honest, there were only two downsides to this unit study that I found. The first was that it is geared toward younger children so you may have to add some information and vocabulary words for older kids. Also, since it is a PDF file when you reach the end of a day's lessons there is a link that takes you to the part of the file for the lapbooking template. It's an easy fix. You just have to remember what page you were on BEFORE you click the link so that you can go back and read the instructions for those templates.
All in all, this is definitely something I would recommend for others to try. If you do, let me know what you think!
*I was given a free copy of the above curriculum only for the purpose of a review on this blog. I was in no way compensated by the vendor.