Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Download N Go: Expedition Australia

I was given the opportunity to review a copy of The Old Schoolhouse's Download N Go - Expedition Australia unit study.  Amanda Bennett (Unit Study series) and The Old Schoolhouse have put together these studies on various topics (such as Pizza, Kites and China; all for $7.95 a piece or $152.00 for a total of 38 units) intended for grades k-4, that are meant to be an entire unit in one e-book (this one in particular happens to be over 100 pages).

Due to some time constraints that are pretty much entirely my own fault (my email and I have had a one sided discussion since then) I have the opportunity to REALLY see if these are "download and go" studies.

As I was going through the e-book, I at first was concerned about the lists of books suggested for each day.  How on earth was I going to get this started TODAY as soon as Thing 1 woke up without any of these books?

Well, true to the name, once I actually looked at it better , I realized that with the multitude of links throughout the pages and the worksheets and activities suggested for use, I really did have a full unit study sitting in front of me.  I did not have to do anything other than print a few pages for today and be ready to show some things on the computer.  Day 1 included an introduction to continents (which is good considering Thing 1 had no introduction to the concept previously), the Great Barrier Reef, and koalas.  We did not actually get a chance to get into the Great Barrier Reef because Thing 1 became fascinated with the koalas, so it looks like this one week study will take us a little longer overall ;)  He's much more interested in the animals portion of it than anything else.

One thing I really like about this is that it can be expanded on.  With the use of lapbook elements within the e-book, as well as anything one might choose to add, this one week study really could be expanded to be a LOT more in-depth and take a lot more time.  And because of the ease with which you could expand on it, I feel this could be used with older children, or even multiple levels of children - which may prove useful in the future considering Thing 1 and Thing 2 are about five years apart in age.

~Seriously an entire unit in one place, with the use of links within the e-book
~Easily expanded on; lists of books for helping to expand on concepts are included
~An e-book, so it sits on your hard drive instead of taking up shelf space
~The concepts in the one I received are not 100% dependent on each other, so if necessary things can be cut out for comprehension levels or attention span "issues"
~There is a variety of activities within the study

~Depending on how exactly you use it, it can take a lot of printing (which means paper and ink usage)
~Contains a LOT of information, so with a child like mine who will shut down if there is too much information being given, it will either take longer than a week or you'll have to cut some things out
~While it's not a problem for me, a lot of the information is given on websites.  If you prefer your child to not be on the computer, you would need to check out books from the library or have other resources on hand for the unit study.

 In the end, after just one day of use so far, I am really enjoying this and planning on finishing out this study with Thing 1.  He's looking forward to it, too; particularly learning about kangaroos tomorrow :)

One thing to keep in mind is that there are still more being added to the collection.  So if you do not really see one that you like now, but like the general concept, keep an eye open to see if a topic you are interested in using gets released in the future :)

Some legalese:
I was given this product to review and use within my own homeschool.  I have received no compensation from Amanda Bennett or The Old Schoolhouse or anyone else.  All opinions and experiences within this review are my own.

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