Category Archives: Review Unit Studies

Metric System Project Pack Review

Our homeschool has officially started our 2013-2014 school year!!!  Yeah!  The very first project we are working on is a math lapbook or project pack called The Metric System Project Pack by In The Hands Of A Child

The Metric System Project Pack

Project Packs, Lapbooks, Notebooks, and Unit Studies are a great way to start a new school year.  They are fun and really ad excitement to a subject.  Let’s face it, MATH (and many other subjects too), could use a little excitement!  Can I get an AMEN?!!

The Metric System Project Pack is designed for students in grades 5-9.  It retails for $12 (on sale now for $5) for the eBook, and $20 (on sale now for $13) for the printed version.  Other versions are available too, please check the website for a version that suits your needs.  

They are currently running a BACK TO SCHOOL SALE.  All of the E-BOOKS are on sale, and many other things are on sale too.  This is a great time to buy!

                                            50% OFF eBooks
                                        ENTIRE Month of AUGUST!!! 

                         Plus all other versions are discounted too! 

                                        No coupon codes needed!

                    Sale Begins August 1, 2013 and Ends August 31, 2013

In the Metric System Project Pack, we did vocabulary words, reading and research, history and math, hands on learning and application, cooking, writing, cutting, coloring, and more.   We love doing unit studies with these because it is easy to adjust, can accommodate a flexible schedule, and flexible learning styles.  It is easy to include your younger children in some of the learning too, even if the subject mater is mostly geared toward older learners.  But you can also order a similar project pack for younger learners so the whole family can enjoy the fun.

So what is a project pack or lapbook you might ask?  It is a re-folded file folder filled to the max with printable mini-book activities and worksheets. It can be expanded to hold several file folders or flaps.   It becomes a fun memory scrap book of the learning that is done around a specific subject.  Subjects can be on anything as simple or as complicated as you desire.  

The great thing about Project Packs from In The Hands Of A Child is that they can be used as a stand alone unit study, or as a supplement to your other curriculum.  They are flexible and you can do as much as you want.   You can use them with all ages of kids too.  They are adjustable to accommodate various skill levels.

My kids love making lapbooks and these Project Packs from In The Hands Of A Child are perfect for them.  I need to write more about the HOAC Unit Studies and Project Packs we have done as I have a huge collection.


Before starting a project pack, we like to print out the worksheets and mini-books, put the shutterfold file folder together, and cut out the mini-book activities.  In the past, I have also purchased the pre-printed worksheets on colorful paper, and pre-folded and glued folders as a kit from HOAC.  This is so handy and cuts down on my prep time and they are more colorful than printing it out on black and white paper and black ink at home.  But either way, we love using these Project Packs.  They run several sales through out the year, and I always try to take advantage of these sales and buy a few units for our school year.

Overall, In The Hands Of A Child has made the process to complete this project pack easy, and all it takes 4 STEPS or less for each unit section.  You can condense this study into 6 days by doing one unit section a day, or stretch it out to 6 weeks by doing one unit section and various activities a week, it is up to you.   The project pack comes with a complete set of directions, research reading materials, vocabulary, and printable templates for mini-book activities to include in your completed lapbook folder.  There is a list of suggested books to acquire through your local library, and website links to use in your research too. 

I personally love making learning units last as long as we can by adding in as much learning materials, books, related science projects, crafts, etc. as we can acquire.  Our family enjoys Unit Studies!   Here is a run down of how to study the units in this project pack in 4 steps or less:
        1. Complete vocabulary words.
nbsp;2. Read the scheduled research guide sections.
        3. Read additional books (or do science kits, crafts, recipes, field trips, etc.) 
            you have collected on the topic for that research guide section.
        4. Complete the scheduled mini-book and worksheet related activities for that 
            research guide section of the project pack.

The six units in The Metric System Project Pack (and what is in each unit) are:

          1.  Research Guide: 
                    Introduction To Early Measurement
                      Vocabulary List
                      Pro & Con

        2.  Research Guide: 
                    “Why Metric?” The Metric System

                     Basic Units

         3. Research Guide:
                    Using the Metric System To “____” In The Kitchen
                    Liquid Volume

                    Metric Prefixes
                    Classify Units
                    Kitchen Help
         4.  Research Guide: 
                    Blueberry Muffins
                    Metric Time Saver
                    Convert Recipe
                    Time Saver

         5.  Research Guide:
                    Converting One Metric Unit To Another
                    Metric Equivalents Of US Customary

                    Convert Everyday Activities: a cup of milk, desk length, pencil length,
                         volume of toothpaste, car travel, area of your room, temperature, etc.
                    Converting One Metric Measurement to Another
                    Measure Your Feet in Inches and Centimeters

          6.  Research Guide:
bsp;  Metric Conversions
                        Your Weight
                        Unit Pricing


You can see how fun it can be to take a potentially boring subject such as math, or metric conversions, or measurements, and turn these into a fun learning adventure with your kids.  They will always remember the fun time they had learning in a hands on way, and when they are through, they will have a unique lapbook / scrapbook record of their learning adventure.


In The Hands Of A Child is a wonderful company providing awesome learning activities for kids.  Their products are a perfect main course or supplemental curriculum for homeschoolers and there is a huge variety of subjects to choose from.   They offer a FREE product on their website, and this changes from time to time so keep your eyes open if you already have the current one.  The current one is a downloadable project pack all about Metals.  You don’t want to miss this freebie! 

They also offer a new $5 project pack each week.  This is a great value.   If you want join as a special member and use their unit studies through out the school year, they have an optional membership program available and you get lots of great units, a yearly schedule, support, and more.  You can sign up for their newsletter to learn about special deals, and also follow along on their blog, and learn great tips and deals on Facebook too.


Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about this product.

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Great Empires Review

We are enjoying another wonderful unit study and lap book project.  This one is by Home School In The Woods and is a review of Great Empires activity study.

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Who is Home School In The Woods? 

Home School In The Woods is the brain child of Amy Pak, a homeschooling mama.  She has been homeschooling her kids since 1996.  She and her husband are raising 4 beautiful kids.  

Amy Pak came up with fun timelines to relate historical figures and events in time so she could teach history to her kids.  Before becoming a homeschool mama, she was a graphic designer and illustrator.   Over the years she created unit studies and timelines for her own children, and then started sharing them with friends, other homeschoolers, her local coop, etc.  Then in 2002 she began her business of creating and selling illustrated historical timelines to the public.  Each of her family members, her husband and all four of their children, participate in operating the business.  She gives all the glory to God for her business and her family.  She is a true Homeschool Super Hero!  Read the About Us page on her website for more information about Amy Pak and Home School In The Woods.

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                                          Great Empires
                                Activity study for elementary grades. 
                                Download PDF retails for $ 18.95
                                CD retails for $19.95

This activity study is designed to be an easy way to learn about great empires in history.  The activity study is really a bundle of mini unit studies on 14 different great empires from around the world during different parts of history.  Each empire study takes about 2 to 3 days to finish, or you can adjust it to take longer or shorter for your homeschool needs.   If you complete 2 empires a week, you will complete the study in about 7 weeks.

Our Experience

Though it is easy to do in 3 days or less, we adjusted the schedule to work on only one empire per week.  I like to move at a slow steady pace on projects and this one fit right in with our homeschool style.  It will take us about 14 weeks to complete the whole study.  


I received a pdf download of the product and printed off all the materials for each empire and placed it in a three ring binder. I placed dividers between each empire so we could easily find each one. I love using three ring binders with clear window sleeves on the front. I copied the picture of the product and placed it in the outer sleeve and marked the spine. This will be a useful homeschool tool for years to come as I have 6 children of different ages and I know we will be using this again in a few years for the younger kids.

I am amazed at the amount of work that has gone into making this product so much fun homeschoolers: 
                activity projects, arts and crafts, worksheet, lap book pages,
                reading suggestions, games, two recipes for each culture we study, 
                historical timeline, maps for each empire, internet links for further study, 
                and more.

We made our own schedule using Great Empires that fit our homeschool needs and was easy to implement. Most of the activities are accomplished in 20 minutes to 60 minutes depending on the activity.
        Monday: Read about the empire, locate it on the timeline, and locate it on the globe.
        Tuesday: Map the empire and watch related videos we found on you tube.
        Wednesday: Worksheets or crafts 
        Thursday: Cook and eat foods with ingredients from that culture.
        Friday: Read library books, and internet links for further study (this is where your 
        own individual preference comes in. You can stretch this out and do as much as 
        you want to learn about each empire.)

There is a whole lot to do in this activity study of 14 different empires. So far we have completed Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Vikings.
Empires we are studying:
                Ancient Egypt
                Ancient Greece
                Ancient Rome
                Ancient China
                Arab-Muslim Empire
                English Empire
                French Empire
                German Empire
                Japanese Empire

                Mongolian Empire
                Russian Empire
                Spanish Empire

                Viking Empire

In Ancient Egypt we read about the great empire of Egypt, found Egypt on the globe and mapped a worksheet.  We placed it on our historical timeline. We made Egyptian fig cookies to snack on.  We also made an Egyptian Cartouche with salt dough, and inscribed Egyptian hieroglyphics, then painted it the color of clay. 


In our study of Ancient Greece, we read about the Greek Empire, placed it on our historical timeline, found it on the globe, and completed a map worksheet. We researched Greek weaponry and made a shield.  We made Greek hummus to snack on with veggies.  We love hummus!  We also researched Greek Art and painted our own Greek pottery.

Viking Study we read about the Scandinavian Viking Empire and found it on the globe.  We made a map and studied the voyage of Leil Eriksson.  We placed our Viking picture on our historical timeline. We researched the Viking longboat and made Beef Stew for a meal.  We also researched and made Viking Coins which was a fun and easy project to do, and the kids now go around the house playing with their coins and pretending they are Vikings.


We researched Viking coin designs on the internet and made our own coins by cutting out 2 inch circles of corrugated cardboard, drawing designs from the time period, tracing the designs in liquid glue, then painting the coins. 


We took the coins outside, and all three big boys took turns spray painting them different colors of grey, tan, and greenish brown to make them look like coins from the Viking era.  They sprayed one side, then waited for the sun to dry the paint, then turned them over and painted the other side. 


We are looking forward to finishing the rest of these wonderful units.  We plan to take  a school break for the summer, then get back to learning with this activity pack more in the fall.  Learning history this way is so much fun!

Amy Pak has laid everything out very nicely. It is easy to spend a day or two, or the whole week learning about Great Empires in history using this activity pack.  A homeschool mom with no experience teaching history can easily complete this activity study with her kids and have a great learning adventure!

Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say about products by Home School In The Woods.

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A Journey Through Learning Review

A few years ago, I heard about a lapbook company called  A Journey Through Learning.  It was created by two homeschool moms, and it just so happened that we were both on a few of the same email forums and after they mentioned their company during an online discussion, I followed a link and joined their mailing list.  I love supporting companies created by other homeschool moms.  Later I joined their facebook page and purchased a few of their lapbook products, even got one for free.   I was quite pleased with their lapbooks, and wrote myself a wish list of the lapbooks I would like to buy for my kids in the near future for our homeschool learning adventures.

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So you can imagine how excited I was when we were asked to review lapbook products by A Journey Through Learning last month. 
We were given three lapbooks pdf downloads, and one unit study pdf download, and had the freedom to choose which one we would like to use for a product review.   AWESOME!


A Journey Through Learning was created by two homeschool moms who understand the needs of homeschool families. Be sure to read about these moms and their mission. 

A Journey Through Learning has lots of great quality lapbooks to meet your homeschool needs.  Don’t know how to make a lapbook?  NO PROBLEM!  They have free “How To” videos to get you going.  Products come in a wide range of ages, and prices (check the web site for prices for each format), and are available in different formats to meet your homeschool needs:

            PDF Download (quick easy download right to your computer)
            CD (sent in the mail to use on and print from your computer)
            Printed (all ready printed and ready for you to assemble)
            Assembled  (all ready printed and assembled in lapbook folders)

You can find a whole lot more than just lapbooks at A Journey Through Learning.  They have Notebooking page packs, Copywork packs, Unit Studies, Supplemental packs for several curriculums such as Apologia (I would like to buy several of these soon, the first one being on Human Anatomy that we are currently studying), Classical ConversationsVeggie Tales (another upcoming purchase my kids will love doing), Truth Quest, Maestro Classics, and many more.  Just look at the bottom of the front page on the web site to see several more curriculums these lapbooks have been designed to supplement.  You can get creative and match them up to some other projects or other curriculum you are doing too.

Each month they feature a new $5 Lapbook of the Month.  You can find several FREE products on their web site too.  They also have Free Samples of products, and you can find these by clicking on the product you are interested in, such as Earth in the Science section, then look for a free sample button on the page.  They also have a huge assortment of $1 Express lapbooks too.

Our Experience:

I discussed the four options we were given with my kids and we chose to review Letters, Numbers, and Shapes (with my 4 and 5 year olds) and Knights and Castles (with my 12 year old) for this review.  We are looking forward to completing the other two (Earth lapbook, and Astronomy and Space unit study) in the near future. 

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Knights and Castles is designed for grades 2 -7.   It is 51 pages and includes activity pages and a study guide.   The Downloadable PDF retails for $13.00 , CD retails for $14.00 , and Printed retails for $21.00   See the first 14 pages and the table of contents in a free sample of this lapbook.

I did this lapbook with my son who is in the 6th grade.  I
printed off the activity pages with mini books from the pdf download I received.  My son chose which colors of folders he wanted and I folded the file folders.  He helped me organize the printed activity pages that went with each folder while I glued the file folders together.  We placed glue along the outside flaps, then line up the flaps opposite each other and press together.  We are creating a “super book” or lapbook that is made of three file folders.


Next, I had my son read the study guide from the laptop computer.  He reads independantly.  He loves to read.  About half way through the study, I decided it would be good to have a printed copy of the guide for me.  I wanted the ability to highlight important points, and make extra notes.  He didn’t care either way, but I am definitely a person who prefers to have printed materials in my hands versus reading pages and pages from my computer.   


After reading each section, he completed a worksheet / mini book page.  The areas I highlighted in the printed study guide helped him remember the main points of what he read.  Sometimes he looked things up on the internet, like when he researched weapons from the middle ages and then drew them on the corresponding activity sheet.  There was also some bible scriptures to look up.  It is very exciting to me when lapbook (and unit study) companies include bible study in their units. I love to opportunities to encourage my children to know the Lord and scriptures better. 


He preferred to do two or three sections each time he sat down to work on it.  He still has a couple of answers to add.  And he wants to personalize it more with coloring and details. I chose to print the colors in the worksheets in the lightest mode to save ink.  He wants to brighten the colors and add his own colors to the white pages.  He might also draw some extra details in the free spaces he has in between the mini books.  He would like to draw a lot more weaponry and more about the various housing styles from the middle ages.  He is very artistic and creative so he wants to personalize the lapbook even more.  He has all the mini books installed and most are complete.  He is very pleased with how it has turned out so far.

If you read one section a day, and complete the corresponding worksheet / mini-book activity, it would take about a month to finish this lapbook study. 


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Letters, Numbers, and Shapes is a learning lapbook designed for preschoolers (ages 3 – 5) and practices early learning skills.  This lapbook could also be used for children with special needs, or possibly in speech / physical therapy applications too.   This lapbook is 51 pages including printable mini books and study guide.  The PDF Download retails for $13.  Additional formats and prices are available on their web site.  Free sample pages and table of contents are also on the web site.

I printed off the worksheets / mini books (again on the lighter mode to save ink), pre-folded the folders, and glued them together. Then I had my 4 and 5 year olds each work on the mini books for their lapbooks. 

We got out some magazines and found lots of pictures to cut and paste to go along with our alphabet mini books.  When we did not find a corresponding picture, we drew a picture that starts with that letter.  Making these mini books was lots of fun.


The lapbook is divided into three sections: Letters, Shapes, and Numbers.  Each section has several interactive lapbooks that provide lots of learning fun.  There are also pockets that hold number and shape cards for counting practice. They can practice their skills with each section on an ongoing basis long after the mini books and lapbook are made, at least as long as staples and glue hold it all together, LOL! 


My five year old finished her lapbook, but my four year old is still working on his.  I hope to write a future story about them working on their lapbooks together as they have both really enjoyed this project.   On my daughter’s lapbook, I had to move two of the mini books to different sections because we didn’t leave enough room in an area.  But no big deal, she doesn’t care where the mini books are actually placed.  It looks good and is lots of fun no mater where you place them.  

I also plan to do the Earth, Astronomy, and the Knights and Castles lapbook again with the younger kids soon.  I am really looking forward to doing the Knights and Castles study again at a slower pace and include all the kids together.  I plan to spend more time as I am making some fun plans to go along with it.  We will add in a fun unit study with crafts, recipes, geography, more history, more math, some engineering, possibly a metalsmithing / blacksmithing activity, a field trip, movies, lots of books, and perhaps even make a knight costume, etc. to go along with the learning.  We will have a great time making it into a fun unit study all the kids can participate in.  The great thing about these lapbooks are that you can add as much or as little additional learning materials as you want to meet your family’s needs. 

Be sure to sign up on the A Journey For Learning email newsletters and facebook page to keep up with special offers and fun projects as they happen.  Be sure to also stop in and read what others on the Schoolhouse Crew have to say about these products.

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We absolutely love the Box Of I.D.E.As. study kit we received to review.  It truly is a box of ideas for lots of fun learning adventures.  We were sent the SALT box, and it is awesome! 

Box Of I.D.E.As. kit contains 10 or more packets of pre-assembled activities to do with your kids.  Each activity packet, called a module, is self contained in a re-usable gallon size zip lock bag. Each module contains a learning guide/lesson plan, and items for discovery, games, or manipulatives to complete the lesson plans, weblinks, learning extension activities, and a worksheet.  Each BOX of I.D.E.As. contains at least 10 worksheets for your portfolio, and an SAT style test about the subject covered.

Academic subject areas covered include: Science, Geography, Math, History, Economics, Writing, Vocabulary, Research, and more.  It is basically like a unit study, divided into 10 modules, and all the subject areas revolve around a central topic or theme. 



There are currently  6 topics or themes available.  They are recommended for kids ages 9 to 16, and can be self directed, but I think they are adaptable to just about any age with parental assistance.  They are available in both printed form and pdf form including:

 Pigs How pork is in everything we use from food, to soap and cosmetics, and organ and tissue implants, Pigs in the history of war, different cuts of pork, the job of a butcher, pig breeds, and more.

World War Two (3)  A closer look at Hawaii, Japan, Military, History, Economics, Pearl Harbor attack, and more. 

Eleven (3) Includes topics such as Veterans Day, US Space Program, US History and Geography, and more.

Salt (3) Includes topics such as History, Science, Preservation of foods, Geography, Gandhi and his historical salt march, etc.

Quilting (3) American History and alternate forms of communication, inventions, community projects, charity works, etc.

Laundry (3) Chemistry of bleaching, global water usage and stewardship, pollution, money management, business management, and more.

WWII Pearl Harbor is currently being reviewed by some of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  Be sure to see the link at the bottom to hear what they thought about using it in their homeschool.

Additional subjects are in the works and will be available soon including:
Mystery, WWII Kitchen, WWII Innovations, Olives, Pine, Cemeteries, and many more!


The Box of I.D.E.As. kits cost $79 for a box that contains 10, or more modules.   Extra modules of the consumables are available for a very small fee.   You can also buy the pdf version for $49. and print the kits yourself.  


The pdf version would be a great option for many homeschool families overseas to avoid shipping costs.  Also classrooms and coops might benefit from printing their own.  However, I definitely liked the actual box of pre-printed materials, as it made it so handy to jump right in and get started with no prep work required.  And it makes it handy if you want to take a module with you on the go.

MODULES in our SALT Box Of I.D.E.As. kit includes:

History Of Salt: lesson plan study guide; extension activities (find bible references for salt, research salt wars, compare food preservation methods with salt vs modern non salt methods, write a paragraph about a civilization impacted by salt and what it was like to live there at that time); web links; worksheet (writing assignment), Games with 45 salt timeline cards (played as a game; can also be used for additional learning activities).

Science Of Salt: lesson plan study guide; extension activities (field trip to the DOT to view a salt truck used on road maintenance in winter, research and list 25 things salt is used for, talk with a nutritionist or doctor about the effects of salt in the human diet); web links (make a salt volcano, floating egg in salt water, observe how salt is formed); worksheet (science experiment rock salt vs ice melt); 1/4 cup rock salt, 1/4 cup ice melt, 3 empty ziplock bags.

Very Salty: hypersaline lakes lesson plan study guide; extension activities (learn what salt lakes are used for salt production and the methods salt is collected, research the living ecosystem of two salt lakes, research why it is easier to float in a lake with a higher salt content then write about it and your conclusions); web links ; worksheet (math and geography and writing about salt lakes); 36 Salt puzzle cards (beautiful photo graphs of salt lakes with facts on the back of the cards, learn to calculate lake volumes, if you answer correctly then the picture on the reverse is correct).

Producing Salt: how salt is produced lesson plan study guide; extension activities (research if there are salt mines in the area where you live and take a field trip to see one, find out the pros and cons of the most expensive and least expensive methods of extracting salt from the earth, make a solar evaporator and find out how long it takes to work and compare how much salt you used to make the brine with how much you extracted); weblinks (video of midwestern salt harvest, salt mine in Poland, salt mines and oil deposits); worksheet (and investigate a news story about a salt mine and worker safety); salt activity mat and 24 salt habitat cards.

Language Of Salt:  how language and culture is impacted by salt lesson plan study guide; extension activities ( find the word for salt in several different languages and see how many places, roads and bodies of water you can find with that root word in that particular country, interview people and test their knowledge of salt idioms, write or chart your findings, look up the original literal meaning of sayings that use the word salt and find out what they really mean and how it has changed or not changed over time in modern society); web links; worksheet (salty sayings); 24 Said With Salt activity cards (game to match salty sayings and vocabulary words and picture cards).

The Salt March:
Civil Disobedience lesson plan study guide; extension activities ( find ways Gandhi peacefully fought British Rule of India, watch the movie Gandhi, research and list other activists who used some of Ghandhi’s methods and list them); web links; worksheet (The British in India history timeline); Marching for freedom map, 16 double sided activity cards.

The Wall That Salt Built: Great Wall Of China lesson plan study guide; extension activities ( Chinese trade items, Ming Dynasty research and write about what life was like for the people, why was Marco Polo important in European and Chinese history?); web links; worksheet (about how salt was used as money and power); 45 activity cards (Centurie
s, Components, and Sections game).

Need For Salt: Why humans and animals need salt lesson plan study guide; extension activities (where do animals find salt?, research and list health problems that occur from too much salt, research and list health problems that occur from a lack of enough salt in the diet); web links, worksheet (searching for salt in our foods, reading labels of 20+ items in your pantry); 2 Sodium Content Charts; a write on wipe off menu planner; dry erase marker.

Preserving With Salt: preserving with salt lesson plan study guide; extension activities ( research and make a list of foods still preserved with salt brine, research the smoking method of food preservation and write a paragraph about it, do an experiment preserving food with salt), web links; worksheet (Food Safety Math); 24 SALT cards; Preserving by Salt game board; Dice, 4 plastic game markers.

Salt Of The Earth: leading countries who produce of salt; extension activities (research how much revenue salt brings into one of the countries that are listed as a leading producer of salt, pick an exotic place that salt comes from and research what it is like to live there and write a paragraph about why or why not you would want to live there, take a field trip to the grocery store and check the salt isle to learn where salt products are manufactured and what countries it is from and if any are imported from oversees);  web links; worksheet (graph the top eight salt production nations, find the metric tons for three top salt producing nations); world map and 16 activity cards.


Salt Of The Earth

In the Salt Of The Earth module, we were given a world map, 16 country & salt production cards, a game board, a reproducible graph worksheet, and a lesson plan sheet.

We learned where in the world salt comes from. 

We learned how much salt is produced by the top producing 16 countries.

We played games with the fact cards and put the countries in numerical order based on how much salt their country produces each year.

Next we graphed the salt production of 8 countries, in tons, on a graph. The module came with a worksheet and I made copies of the worksheet for each of my children to do.  Once completed, this worksheet can go into a portfolio or a lapbook or notebook. 

It was suggested in the extension activities of this module to take a field trip to the grocery store to see how many kinds of salt we could find and where they come from.  But, I seldom venture to grocery stores or other public places, other than the park, with all six kids in tow without my husband to help. So we opted to take a trip to our kitchen cabinet and pulled out various salts we had on hand.  We looked at the labels of each one to see where they were produced.  We had salts from Utah USA, others that said USA, and two varieties from France, one from the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, and several more.

We decided to make a display of the different salts on a plate, and label them.  We wanted to take a closer look at different kinds of salt.  Each of the kids took turns putting a spoonful of salt on our display.  We placed a label next to each salt so we would know what it was.  We made a display with seven different salts.


We wanted to see the salt crystals with our eyes, compare the different sizes of salt crystals, and feel them with our fingers. It was very interesting to feel the different varieties of salt. We especially liked to feel the larger salt crystals. They feel hard, and are cube like. They resemble the look of small pieces of ice and some look like sand.

We tasted each salt to learn which kinds we liked the best.


Of course, I have tested many salts in my kitchen over the years, and I know hands down, my favorite salt is Celtic sea salt from France.  I use it for cooking and salting before serving the food. It brings out the flavor of everything, and I love it!  My third choice of a sea salt for taste and affordability is a sea salt from Portugal.

Eden Celtic Sea Salt

Salina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt

The Himalayan salt is one we enjoy, but use sparingly due to the cost of it.  But it is nice to serve when we have company.  It is a lovely faded pinkish white color and has a light flavor.  It It makes a great conversation topic with company.  It also sticks nicely to popcorn!

Himalayan Salt

But I keep several other salts on hand for different purposes. The salt from Utah is called REAL Salt. I buy it in bulk (5lb to 25lb bags) at a good price and store it in mason jars. It is high in minerals, and it works wonders when you need a home remedy to sooth a sore throat.  I use it in my baking too.

Real Salt

Table salt, kosher salt, and rock salt are cheap to buy and work for melting ice in science experiments and melting ice for making ice cream.   I have used kosher salt many times in making broths, canning, and so forth.  I don’t personally use table salt in my cooking or serving at my table as I believe it has been altered by human hands during the manufacturing process and it is not a healthy salt to consume. Table salt is a by product of the mining industry that mines other minerals such as copper. Our family uses natural salts in either sea salt, or real salt for consumption.

You can find a variety of salt in grocery stores, healthy food stores, and online. If you are interested, there are some great and unusual salt options available. I love using the salts from Hawaii, and smoked sea salt on meat. There are salts that are black, red, pink, grey, white, etc. Get a little adventurous and challenge your taste buds to a test to see which salt you like the best!

Language Of Salt

It is surprising how many of our words and phrases historically have salt as the root.  Over time, many of the original meanings have been lost on the newer generations, but the word or phrase itself has remained.  Countries all around the world face this same situation.  All human life is dependant on salt, and interestingly, salt is part of every language and culture both literally and symbolically. 

Matching up the word or phrase with the original meaning.

Completing our worksheet about the language of salt.


Preserving With Salt

Preserving With Salt Game


Lay the provided color coded question cards on the game board.  Set out your game pieces. Roll the dice.  Move the number of spaces corresponding to the dice.  Answer the question correctly, keep the card.  Answer the question incorrectly, leave the card and the play moves to the next player.

The first person to answer enough questions correctly, and acquire the Letters / Colors to spell the word SALT wins the game.

Part of the learning with salt included details about food preservation, and human preservation through mummification.  Several web links were given on the subject of mummification.

We are planning to do a science experiment and preserve some foods with salt, but sometimes opportunity guides the day and we found another “preserving with salt” experiment to do first.  The kids found lots of slugs outside after it rained one afternoon.  There must have been over 20 slugs just in one small area of the front yard.

Slugs are moist and prefer moisture.  They become more active when the ground is moist from dew or rain.  They can only survive in moist environments.

We wanted to learn what would happen if salt was put on a slug.  We used one of the slugs we found in the yard for this experiment. We talked about this experiment would kill the slug.  The kids and I agreed to allow this slug to die so we could observe the effects of salt, and dehydration, for the sake of our science investigation.  

We observed the slug after an hour and it had shrank in size by half.  We left the slug to continue to dry out with table salt overnight and checked it the next morning. I was really glad we did this experiment outside and not in my kitchen!

The salt was saturated, the slug had shrunk even more and exploded droplets of liquid in about a six inch radius.  It had also oozed a liquid down the rail
ing and pooled on the porch.  YUCK!

The kids added more table salt to see what would happen again.  We will leave it for another day and see!  Again, I am so glad we did this experiment, and I am so glad we did it “outside”!  We will save preserving fruit for our “inside” hands on learning experiment.


So what did we think of the Salt Box Of I.D.E.As.?  We loved it!  This is a fascinating way to learn.  It is hands on.  It contains a wide variety of activities related to a central subject, just like a unit study.  It give several internet links for further research and videos to view.  All we need now are a few library books, and make a lapbook to round out this unit study on salt.  We are going to see what books we can find on the subject and continue our learning adventure!  We still have a few modules to finish about salt, and we are going to continue with this the fun learning adventure.

Please stop over at the 
Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read more reviews about the Box Of Ideas products.


Disclaimer:  I received the BOX Of I.D.E.As. SALT mentioned above, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, at no cost to me in exchange for writing an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my personal opinion.

This post will be linked up with
Science Sunday
Raising Homemakers

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Lewis and Clark Unit Study

Our family loves doing unit studies throughout the year.  Unit studies make learning an adventure.  It takes what could be a boring subject, and makes the material relatable and alive.  Your kids will love doing history, geography, math, writing, science, research, and more when you combine it into learning about a central subject with a unit study.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew was recently asked to review Once-a-Week Unit Studies from Homeschool Legacy.  This was exciting to me, because I am a member of the same local homeschool association as the author, Sharon Gibson.  We have spoken on a few occasions, I have purchased two of her unit studies in the past, and I am very pleased to see her materials come through the TOS product reviews.

Sharon is a veteran homeschool mom and has graduated two son’s.  She continues to remain a resource for local homeschool families and for the past several years has been reaching out to a larger homeschool audience with her homeschool products.  She has been a guest speaker at homeschool workshops and homeschool conferences, and you can find her booth at curriculum fairs and homeschool conventions in the south east USA and other areas.

The Once-a-Week Unit Studies are designed with a biblical focus and to be done with families with kids in 2nd grade – 12th grade.   However, my opinion is that anything can be adapted.  My children are 12, 9, 7, 5, 3, and10 months of age.   We did this unit study as a whole family.  Even my 3 and 5 year olds enjoy doing parts of these unit studies and I would encourage families with younger and older children to give them a try.

The current titles available in the Once-a-Week Unit Studies include:

        Birds Of A Feather 
        Christmas Comes To America
        Early Settlers In America
        Forest For The Trees
        Horsing Around
        Knights And Nobles
        Lewis And Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea
        Native America
        Revolutionary Ideas: The Story Of The American Revolution
        We The People: Getting To Know Your Constitution
        Weather On The Move

If you have a child who needs to acquire merit badges for a club such as Boy Scouts Of America, or American Heritage Girls ,etc, these unit studies can help. Several of the learning activities listed meet the requirements for achieving these badges.  Be sure to check the website for more information.  Sharon also encourages using these unit studies to accomplish 4-H clubs project record books.

Our Experience

Through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we were given the option to choose a downloadable copy of a Once-a-Week unit study, and I chose to review the Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea  unit study for the purpose of writing this review.  However, the downloadable products are currently not for sale.  If you purchase a Once-a-Week unit study, it comes already bound for you.  The Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea Unit Study retails for $19.95.  It has 80 pages and contains lesson plans for 7 weeks of study.


Included in the unit study are suggested daily schedules, weekly schedules, lesson plans, library book lists, field trip suggestions, worksheets, and more.  Some of the subject areas covered include: Bible, Literature, Language, History, Geography, Science, Writing, History, Arts & Crafts, etc.

Table of contents in the Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea unit study includes:
            Available Once-a-Week Unit Studies
            Boy Scout “Nature” Merit Badge Information
            American Heritage Girl “Nature & Wildlife” Badge Information
            Suggestions for How to Schedule Your Unit Study Time
            Week 1: New France
            Week 2: Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Louisiana Purchase
            Week 3: Fixing for a Start
            Week 4: Sacagawea Joins the Corps!
            Week 5: Trials and Tribulations
            Week 6: Ocean in View! Oh the Joy
            Week 7: Homeward Bound
            Getting the Most Out of Your Once-a-Week Unit Study

We have been using this unit study for 3 weeks.  We do the bulk of the activities one day a week with independant reading and read alouds through out the week.  We have completed the lesson plans for weeks one and two, and are working on our third week.

Gathering Supplies:

There are materials need
ed to complete the learning activities in the unit study.  Included are seperate materials lists, book lists, and movie lists that are suggested to complete each lesson.

Some items are optional, and some items or the equivalent of the listed item, is required to meet the learning objective.  Most of these items can be found at your local library, some on the internet, and some you will need to pick up at a local craft supply store.

It is a good idea to read through the unit study before hand, and gather your supplies, and plan your trips to the library and store.  I would suggest a box or basket to put items like books, printables, and another basket for craft supplies you will need. This organizational step makes my life with 6 kids much easier and helps me keep on track.

We went to a couple of different stores to find items we needed for Lesson 1, Lesson 2, and Lesson 3.  I will re-group and gather the rest of the supplies to finish the remainder of the unit study; Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, and Lesson 7 in the next few weeks.

Here is a list of some of the supplies I gathered:
        three ring binders to makeistory Timeline notebooks, 
        sketch pads to make exploration journals, 
        Chamois towels to make journal covers, 
        brown embroidery thread, 
        large eye needle.
        clay to create a map of the USA
        paint to paint the map
        tooth picks
        note cards to make flags
        plaster of paris to make molds of animal tracks
        cardboard to make molds of animal tracks
        measuring cup
        plastic fork
        plastic tub with lid
        colored markers, crayons, and pencils
We also picked up a few additional items, not required, to enhance our learning about this time period and these will be great to use through out the study: 
        full color laminated map
        toy knife /sword, 
        a toy tomahawks.
        arrow head
        Bow and arrow
        Fishing line and fishing hook
        Wooden Rifle
        Wooden Pistol
        Knife made from a deer antler and flattened steel
        Shells for making jewelry and use as currency
        gemstones for decorating clothing and used as currency
        Beads for making jewelry and decorations on items
        Rabbits Foot – to represent fur trapping
        Raw Hide – to represent hunting, leather tanning, and leather products
        Magnifying glass
        Raw hide wallet with old fashioned blanket stitching, to show how hide can be made 
        into a useful product
        Book about Native American medicine and some examples of the herbs and plants. 
        Beef jerky
        Dried berries and fruits, other dried foods
        Salt for preserving and seasoning food
There are thousands of great resources on the internet, including videos, books, coloring pages, printables, etc. so I encourage you to do a search and find some to use in your unit study!

I will try to post stories about some of the specific activities we are doing during the course of this study. But below are a few of the highlights from the first couple of weeks, hope it wets your appetite!

Language Arts/Bible Devotions/History/Science/Research:

Each week a list of suggested book titles is given.  Many of these books are available at your local library.  Many homeschool associations also have a resource room full of books that may have what you need.  You can use some or all of the suggested books, or make substitutions as needed.  In addition to library books, you will also need a bible on hand to complete the devotions.

When looking for books for this unit study, I found some books for sale on Amazon, Ebay, and I had several books on hand that discussed the Lewis and Clark expedition, some discussed the lives of different Native American tribes, some wildlife, etc.  I was thrilled to find these books on my book shelves:  History for Little Pilgrims, From Sea to Shining Sea, Indian Doctor, Homes Of The West, Tall Tales Cross Country with Lewis and Clark, Wagon Wheels, Beaver, The Three Little Pigs, Bearnstien Bears, Starting with Nature, Tree, I Wonder Why Trees Have Leaves, Wildflowers Blooms and Blossoms, and several more.

On Youtube, I found so many great videos to learn from.  We watched some serious historical videos and some funny historical videos too.   I will share a new story with links to several videos, but today I wanted to share two with you.  

This one is really cool made by a kid and he used clay to tell the story about Lewis and Clark:

This one is really funny and animated, but gets the message across.

 Make A History Timeline:

Making a History Timeline is a great way to visually see events in chronological order.  My son used a ruler and a pencil to draw a line acros
s the middle of several blank pages to fit into a three ring binder.  Each page represented a span of time of 100 years.  He labeled the pages from the 1400’s through the 1800’s and will continue to add more pages for other centuries as needed.  As we learn about an event or a significant person in history, we add them to the Timeline.

 Explorers Journal craft:

The kids made an Explorers Journal, similar to the Lewis and Clark journal,  to record natural science, animals, plants, and geography they learn about through out the unit study.  Be sure to read our story about the Explorers Journal, how we made them and used them.

My kids had lots of fun making and using these.  We had a few mishaps, so be sure to check out our story about these journals and see what we learned.


Science/Field Trips/Research:

Suggested activities:
    Go on a field trips to locate animals, beavers, crayfish, trees, plants.  Record 
    your observations in your exlporers journal.

Find animal tracks & make a plaster cast of them.  
We have some animal track molds to use with clay or playdough also. 
Find a beaver damn.

Geography Mapping:

Label a map with the 13 states and the territory purchased in the Louisiana purchase.
Make a topographical (3D) map.

Lapbook and Notebooking:

Once-a-Week Unit Studies also encourages families to make lapbooks if they desire to do so, but it is not a requirement for the unit study.  Included in the unit study are a few learning worksheets for different weeks.  There are also suggestions for writing assignments and research. All of these learning activities can be placed in a notebook or lapbook.  

I searched on the internet and found lots of ideas and pages for creating a Lewis and Clark lapbook, and I will share this in a future story.  I also found lots of coloring pages, worksheets, and printables to enhance our study, and we are adding them into our lapbook too. 

I think making lapbooks or notebooks about our learning adventures enhances our learning and they are great fun to look back on for review and to enjoy for years to come. Our Lewis and Clark lapbooks are a work in progress, and I will show the finished lapbooks and where to find the printables in a future story.

Well, I hope that “taste test” of our Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea unit study we did wets your appetite, and you are hungry for more!  These unit studies are a great tool to make your learning adventures fun and memorable for the whole family.

You can order the Once a Week Unit Study products directly from the Homeschool Legacy website.  You can also find these products at booths at several homeschool conventions in NC, SC, TN, and more. 

Stop over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see what others on the Crew had to say about this product.


Disclaimer:  I was sent an e-version of the unit study listed above in exchange for writing and honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own honest opinion. 

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Lewis and Clark Explorers Journal

This was a fun project we made from the Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea unit study.  Be sure to read our review, and other stories about what we did in this unit study, including crafts, timelines, field trips, a lapbook, and more. 

Louis and Clark had a journal covered in leather, Elk hide, that they recorded details of their journey in from 1803-1806 as they explored the Louisiana Purchase, and further west all the way to the Pacific Ocean. They recorded and mapped their route, the landscape, animals, plants, and people they encountered. Their journal was a valuable tool for them, as well as for government, pioneers, tradesmen, biologists, scientists, and historians.

We have 5 school age children (and a baby) and we wanted each of the children to make an Explorer’s Journal.  We had a few blunders along the way.  Homeschooling sometimes is about trial and error. Life is always about trial and error.   Sometimes, projects can go awry and become something other than you originally intended.  Sometimes the lessons are for our children and us parents to learn patience and forgiveness.  Below I have shared our ups and downs with this craft project in hopes that it will bless you and so you can learn from our mistakes and perhaps be able to avoid them yourself.  It is kind of funny now looking back on it, but it wasn’t so funny at the time.

Making the Journal:

Directions from the unit study:

    Inexpensice blank sketch book available at craft supply stores
    Chamois available from the automotive section of your local discount store
    Brown emboidrey thread
    Sewing needle with a large eye

“Spread a piece of chamois out on a table.  Open a blank sketchbook.  Lat it cover side down on top of the chamois.  Using a pencil, trace around your book.  Now draw another line 3″ out from the left and right sides of your tracing.  Set the book aside.  Fold and pin the left and right sides of the chamois in 3″.  Blanket stitch the top and bottom edges of your book cover using a needle and brown emboidery thread.  Slip your notebook into the chamois book cover. Write in your journal…..”  Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea, pages 13, 17, 18.

We went to the store and bought 5 Chamois 18 x 14 inches, brown emboidry thread, 5 sketch pads, and a needle with a large eye for stitching with the emboidry thread.   The Chamois is easy to use and recommended as a substitute for leather which requires some special tools. 

We jumped in to the craft project with both feet (actually both hands).  But I soon learned it required a little more custom work than I realized at first.  Depending on the size of your book, the binding, and the size of your chamois, it requires some calculating and adjusting.

When we opened the 7 1/2 inch long sketch pad, it measured 15 inches from end to end. It seemed that 18 inches would be enough, but 18 inches, minus 15 inches, minus the folds, left us with about 2 1/2 inches, or 1 1/4 inch for each side (not the three inches required for each side).  It did not leave enough chamois fabric length left over to make the pockets. We tried every which way but our sketch pads were to big and did not leave enough material left to make the pockets to hold the cover.

So we had to cut two inches off the length of the sketch pads. We measured everything with a ruler.

We cut the cardboard cover with scissors and the sketch paper inside the book with a paper cutter to get nice straight edges.   It took some time as the paper cutter could only cut through the thickness of one page at a time.  The pages are made out of thick card stock.

Now our sketch pads measured 5 1/2 inches long, and 5 inches tall.

Then we traced out the sketch pad shape onto the fabric. Then measured 3 inches on each side and drew another line. Next we cut out the fabric.

Again this was another place where things went wrong and we had to re-make our custom covers again.  We did not realize we needed to leave extra space on top and on bottom of the fabric for stitching and to accommodate the depth of the sketch book.


If you cut along the top and bottom of the book outline, you have no room to sew the cover so there is room left over to slide the cover in.  This was another place we needed to add in a calculation. So we re-made them leaving an extra 1/4 inch on top and 1/4 inch on bottom, and an extra 3 inches on the left and on the right.


The older boys got a lot of experience measuring, cutting, threading their needles, and blanket stitching. 

Yeah!  We got the pockets done and the cover is ready!!…  NOT!!!…  Now the journals would not close.  ARGH!!!

The next mistake was that we used a sketch pad with a spiral binder and this needed an additional allowance in fabric.  This meant that when the book was laid open, the top and bottom covers laid flush, but when closed the cover slipped forward and the spiral binder stuck out past the covers. This required extra length or the spiral binding of the cover prevented the journal from closing.  Who knew?  OOPPS! 

I just could not believe we had made the covers and they looked so nice, and fit perfect when the journal was open, but when we tried to close the journal, there was not enough fabric to allow it to close.  Another re-do!!!  We had to make them again adding in another 1/2 inch to accommodate the spiral binding when it was closed, except for my 9 year old.  He was determined not to remake his, so he took the stitching off of one side, and reduced the size of the pocket on that side and it added a half inch of slack to the cover.  Then he re-folded the  smaller pocket and sewed both sides of the pocket.  Now he had one big pocket and one small pocket and he was happy it was done!

After going through all of this, we decided not to make covers for the 3 and 5 year olds.  We still had some chamois fabric left, but they did not want a cover and liked the way their journals looked without it.  Why argue with a 3 and 5 year old?  At this point, I was fine with their choice.  Their journals had cute designs already on the covers, one in pink and one in red. If they change their mind in the future, we will make them one too.

We ended up with three finished covers that looked great (and several prototypes).  These books all looked the same when we were done, so for the two older boys, ages 9 and 12, I had them monogram theirs with their first initial on the front and middle initial on the back.  This was great practice for them in creating their initials with the thread.  We drew their initial in pencil backwards on the reverse side and they followed the design.  It turned out great on the front side.  The 12 year old also blanket stitched all the way around his cover instead of only on the pocket.  On the 7 year old’s cover, we wrote his first name on the front.  Now, we can get started using them.  Yeah!  Or not……

Finally, we had one last misshap I will share with you. Older brother had helped me a bunch with this project.  He helped make and re-make the other covers when there was a mistake.  He made his own cover last and finally his was done also.  He was very proud and had monogrammed his with his first and middle initials.  But because all the boys share the same first initial, one brother thought this was his book and used a marker to write the rest of his name after the monogrammed letter.  He was so sorry, and embarrassed when he flipped the book over to see his brother’s middle initial on the back.  But he had written in permanent marker and there was no fixing it.  The oldest brother was heart broken, but took it all in stride.  Now he would have to start over again.  This was a good opportunity for the boys to build relationships and to empathize with each other.  They had to ask for forgiveness, and to forgive each other.

He made a completely new journal cover: from measuring, cutting, folding, pinning, sewing, emboiderying, etc. from start to finish in about two hours.  He had the system memorized! 


He monogrammed the outside with his first and middle initials, and designed a pine tree and a star that he made on the inside pockets.  He did a great job and was a real trooper!


3 Keys to crafting cover success. 
If you plan to make a cover for your journal:

step one:
  make sure you measure your journal, and then measure again.  Be sure you add to your measurements these additions so you can buy the right size material:  add 1/2″ for the binding, 1/4″ for the top, 1/4″  for the bottom, and 3″ to the left and 3″ to the right.  Then when you blanket stitch the seams of the pockets about 1/4 inch from the edges, and open and close the covered journal, it should all fit just right.

step two:  buy the material based on the measurements above so that it is big enough to make the journal cover.

step three: if you have multiple children, be sure to add distinguishing features so the children do not confuse who’s journal is who’s.

If you don’t have a chamois, other substitutes for the leather cover could be felt, thin cardboard from a cereal box, or thin foam sheets.  You could also use heavy multilayered brown paper (often made into bags with nice handles from specialty stores).  I have seen several of these brown paper covers and they look very realistic. The brown paper is aged and made to look and act like leather by wrinkling it up and flattening it out several times and then “trimmed” by burning the edges. It really does make it look like old leather. Any of these options would make a nice cover for an explorers journal.  You could also make your own sketch pad instead of buying one.  We have made these many times with sheets of paper and thin cardboard from a cereal box.

Using our Explorers Journal:

In the 7 week unit study, Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea, we are given a lot of fun ideas about using our journals to record plants and animals, natural science, and geography that we learn about along the way.  We have almost completed 3 weeks of the study as of the time of writing this story, and our review for The Old Schoolhouse, and I hope to post a future story when we have finished all seven weeks.

Some of the things we did in the first three weeks of our study with our Explorers Journal include
d leaning about mammals, endangered species, animals that are native to our local area, beavers,  Newfoundland dogs, and crayfish, making a map, identifying native plants.  We spent some time reading and researching.  

During week one, the kids learned about beavers, and looked up information on the internet, what they look like, their tracks, their homes, etc. 

I found some pictures online of beavers, a beaver building a lodge, a beaver lodge “blue print”, pictures of the hands and feet, and the track that matches the hand and foot.  I printed them out for each of the children to cut out and glue into their journals.




Daddy also found a beaver damn at a local creek in Brevard, NC when he was checking one of his job sites and we put this in our Explorers Journal.  We hope to take our own field trip for all the kids to see the damn soon.

During week two, we also learned about mollusks and crustaceans, and specifically crayfish, their body parts, what they eat, and their habitat.  I found some pictures online and a really cool labeled diagram of the crayfish body.


We visited the Mills River, and caught several crayfish and investigated their habitat. 


The oldest drew all of his pictures in his journal rather than cut and paste.  He loves to draw and this is a perfect learning activity for him.

In week three of our unit study, we learned about the Newfoundland dog and its special characteristics.  We added this dog to our journals.  We will be making a topographical map with clay and paint it and add a picture to our journals. We will also learn about 15 native species of plants and 12 species of trees and add them to our journals by the end of this week too.


Each week we will add more records of our learning adventures into our Explorers Journal.  Keeping an Explorers Journal is a great way to record and enrich what you are learning.  You can apply this to so many more things beyond a unit study. 

For example, if you plan a vacation, make an explorers journal to record nature, science, and geography that you see on your trip.  There are lots of great applications for a journal such as this.  For the past six months, we have taken a nature hike at the local parks every Tuesday and Friday and record our journey with photos.  We love looking through these each week.  We are going to expand our learning and make a new Explorers Journal to keep a record of our nature hikes in the parks.  I love recording how the plants change from week to week and this will be a great way to take the information we have recorded in photos and expand our learning in a hands on way.  Eventually I hope all the kids will draw many of the plants we see and I can save money on ink for pictures.  But I am willing to commit to buying the ink for this years record of hikes we have done to get us started and enjoy all the learning we have done over the past several months.

During our unit study adventure with Lewis and Clark, we also made a history timeline journal to record events we learned about.  I hope to post a future story about this also if I can find the time.  I don’t know where time goes, I need a personal historical timeline to record every 24 hours of my day so I can keep better tack of it.  By the time I feed, clothe, clean, teach, write, go here and there, with six kids the time is gone and I have a back log of stories I wish I could find more time to write about and share with you.  Lord willing, I will get it done soon…….

Be sure to read my review of the Once-a-Week Unit Study “Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea” to learn more about the fun adventures we are doing with it. 

This post will be linked up with:
No Time For Flash Cards
Show and Share Saturday
Science Sunday
Sharing Time
Raising Homemakers
All Things Beautiful

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Blue Footed Booby Unit Study Review

This past week, we had the opportunity to review the Curiosity Files Blue Footed Booby Unit Study published by The Old School House Magazine.

The Curiosity Files are a fun set of unit studies on all kinds of subjects.  The head scientist is a wacky science professor named Ana Lyze.  Click on the photo below to learn more about this wonderful series of unit studies.


The Blue Footed Booby Unit Study

Curiosity Files Blue Footed Booby is a 98 page unit study packed with history, biology, geography, math, writing, vocabulary, copywork, scripture, crafts, music, and lots of fun activities.  It has age appropriate learning and activities for elementary, junior, and senior high school.  The unit study is recommended for ages 8-and up. 

There is a recommended reading list, according to age level, for the library, but you can easily complete this study with the information provided in the unit and free resources available on-line.  There are numerous links to videos, websites, games, and more on-line too.

We started off our exploration with downloading and printing the unit study from The Old School House.  Next I hole punched the unit and placed it into a three ring binder to keep my self organized. 

You do not need to print the whole unit study.  You could easily do the unit study right on your computer, and just print off the worksheets when needed.  I printed the worksheets for the children, but I did print off the whole unit study for myself to work from (I guess I am still “oldschool” (needing a paper copy in hand) in some ways). 

We kept the unit study up on the computer too, and as we worked our way through, we clicked on various links to learn more.

What I Liked:

I was really impressed with how well the information was presented.  It is very well organized and easy to follow and learn from.  My children came away with a vast new knowledge about the Blue Footed Booby and their life on the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

A few facts we learned:
            Life span of this bird is 17 years.
            Weight about 3 lbs and females are slightly larger than males.
            They only eat fish.
            Can dive for fish from 80 feet in the air.
            Raise 2 or 3 babies every nine months. Not seasonally. 
            Mate for life.
            And yes, their feet really are blue.

I used this unit study with my children ages 2, 3, 6, 8, and 10.  The 10 year old was able to do the whole study, the 6 and 8 year old did most of the study, however I did not have them complete some of the math, writing, and research worksheets that were designed for older students.  They were able to do many of the worksheets and crafts though, and kept plenty busy through-out this study.  The 2 and 3 year olds did the coloring pages, songs and dances, and crafts.

I liked that this study provided an answer key at the end of the study too.  This was very handy.  Very few unit studies that I have purchased in the past have had an answer key feature.  So this really adds to the quality of this product.   It is very well put together.

Not one thing in this unit was boring.  Instead, it was full of rich colorful pictures that really give you a sense of the subject.  It was full of scripture that proved God’s love and design in this amazing creature.  It was full of worksheets and activities to keep the children engaged in the learning process.  And it was able to be used with multiple ages and learning styles.  This is a great product!

My children also enjoyed playing the online games at interactive websites.

My children enjoyed the crafts and activities.  I will be sharing pictures and more about these activities, and post links here to them as I get the stories written and posted.  So be sure to check back with us in the near future and join us on our Blue Footed Booby adventure. 

Some of the things we made with this unit study: 
    Homemade Suet Feeders
    Completed Coloring Pages
    Made a time-line
    Labeled a World Map
    Created a Blue Footed Booby Habitat
    Created a Quill Pen
    Made a Blue Footed Booby Baby
    Created Blue Footed Booby Feet
    Completed a Lapbook
    Completed numerous worksheets in math, history, science, scripture,
    geography,writing, and copywork
    And so much more.

This unit study is provided in down-loadable format using free Adobe Reader.  The Blue Footed Booby Unit Study retails for $6.95 at The Old School House Magazine.   Also, many of the Curiosity Files products are currently on sale for $1 so be sure to stop over to the TOS store and check them out.


What I would like to see more of:

I liked everything about this unit st
udy.    I think it is very well done.  It was very easy to teach and learn along side the children.  Yes, momma learned a lot from this study too.

The unit clearly states it is for ages 8 and up, but if I could suggest anything,  I would like to see more preschool activities included. Or perhaps the writer could do a unit extension for their product for younger children.   

Homeschooling families don’t often have kids only 8 and up.  Many families trying to do unit studies find themselves in the midst of ages 12 and under (some families have one of every age 12 and under), and it would be great if families had more units like this one to share with all their children.  These families are trying to incorporate preschool, elementary, and highschool learning projects all in one day.  Unit studies can provide this opportunity for various ages to work together on the same subject or theme.  But we need more unit study manufactures to be aware that we need more units focused to meet the needs of the whole family.

In our family we do unit studies with various ages, and I would have liked to have seen more worksheets, games, and learning opportunities for preschoolers to participate with their older siblings. 

We came up with a few additional preschool level unit extensions to go with the Blue Footed Booby unit study for our younger children, in addition to the portions they participated in the activities mentioned above.  I will post links to what we did here, as soon as I have them written, so be sure to check back:

    Letter B for Booby Craft
    Booby Play dough
    Letter B for Booby Coloring Page 
    Booby Puzzle
    Booby Matching Game
    Egg Sort
    Galapagos Island Sensory Bin

Another thing I would really like to see incorporated is Life Skills Learning.  I really like to tie unit studies together with a practical life skill my children can carry on into their future.  Life skills cover many areas, but often cooking, sewing, engineering or building, hunting, growing, gardening, etc. 

A practical life skill my children could learn in this situation could be learning to fish, as the Blue Footed Booby survives by fishing.  Another skill might be caring for and feeding the young, the next generation.  Maybe camping in an open area, where you are exposed to wind, rain, sun, and other elements of nature, would be a wonderful example of how these birds survive on the island.  Another skill might be cooking the fish you caught.  Perhaps learning to swim and dive for objects would be another great way to tie in life skills with this unit.

This was a great unit study and I will definitely recommend this product to my friends and fellow homeschooling families.

Click here to learn more:
Are you supplying enough stimulus for your inquisitive children? Brand new unit study series for probing minds of all ages. Also designed with special needs learners in mind!

Be sure to check out the Old Schoolhouse Magazine for these and more wonderful products.

                            This product was provided to me free by The Old School House in exchange for an honest review.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Unit Study Link Up
The Happy Housewife Curriculum Review Roundup

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