Archive for March, 2010

REVIEW: Expedition Australia

Expedition Australia

I was recently asked to review one of Amanda Bennett’s Download N Go studies, Expedition Australia, as part of the try-out process for the TOS Homeschool Crew. What a great study! We enjoyed learning all about Australia – from natural wonders to geography to animals. My kids have all been fascinated by Australia since we learned that it’s on the other side of the world and has its seasons opposite of us. :) Imagine Christmas in the summer!

Expedition Australia is one of the books in the ever-expanding Download N Go series by Amanda Bennett. This particular study is appropriate for K-4th grade, and is meant to be completed over five days. The completed study yields a themed notebook and a lapbook of your completed study. What I love about the study is that you don’t need any other resources or supplies, except those necessary for putting the lapbook together: file folder, glue, etc. Also, next to no teacher prep time! What a bonus!

Links to all the information you need are included in the book, links to maps, videos, vocabulary resources. For older students, the links make it completely interactive; no teacher instruction is necessary. The links are key to the study, but they are also the part that gave me the most pause. Some of the links didn’t work for us, which is par for the course when it comes to the Internet. Luckily, there were plenty of links that did work, so we still had a complete study.

Also included in the study are lapbooking components for each day, vocabulary activities, science, history, and geography activities, extra learning links, and book suggestions for each day. Once the kids complete the study, they are awarded a Certificate of Exploration, included for you to print. My kids enjoyed being awarded the certificate.

Each day of the study has a particular focus, and each day we learned something new. We compared the weather here to that in Australia each day over the course of the study. We learned about Koala Bears – did you know they aren’t bears? They are marsupials! We learned about the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Victoria Desert. We learned how to locate Australia on a map. We learned how Australia came to be settled by Europeans. We even learned how to speak in Australian terms like lollies and fair dinkum.

My kids and I had a fair dinkum to goodness good time learning all about Down Under. We highly recommend this study!

Expedition Australia is an e-book in the Download N Go series available from Amanda Bennett and The Old Schoolhouse store. Each book in the series is a complete 5 day unit study and is reasonably priced at $7.95.


03 2010

Down & Derby – 2010

Patrick’s Pack held their Pinewood Derby today. The Taylor family had 3 entries and 0 winners. :) A few tears, but lots of resolve to work harder next year! I’m pretty sure the kids had a ball anyway, not to mention the laughs and the hugs – just take a look at the pictures! Apologies to Miss Renea for not getting a good picture of the cuddles she got!


03 2010

Color Mixing Fun!

Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler posted the other day about a Color Mixing activity she got from Mama Jenn. Those two posts plus the original activity post at Itty Bitty Love really got my brain going. I decided to make all the different wheels that Anne made for both of her color mixing activities to use with my kiddos. We’re studying the Renaissance and Color Theory using Kym Wright’s Color Adventure – this activity will dovetail quite nicely, especially for my little Will. Here are the color wheels that I made to share. Enjoy!


03 2010

Dot Game Paper

Well, I love some of the Montessori techniques for teaching different concepts. Patrick and Wendy and I are going to start with the Dot Game next week. I couldn’t find any printable paper that was just right for us, so I made my own and thought I would share. For a description of the Dot Game, please see Maitri Learning’s explanation. To download my version of the Dot Game paper, click on the image.


03 2010

USS Yorktown


This time last week we were in Charleston, SC. Pat and Patrick stayed on the USS Yorktown while the rest of us stayed at the Best Western (big spenders!). Patrick said it was the best time he ever had. He got to do all things boy with daddy and the other scouts. They slept on bunks and ate awful food. :) They dropped stuff on the guy who slept in the floor instead of the bunk (mostly pillows, but at least one (hardcover!) book). They got to sit in different simulators and hold crabs. They got to explore the entire ship – even they parts they weren’t supposed to. In short, they had a great time. Pat’s back is glad to be back at home and has finally forgiven him.

The girls and I stayed with my friend Renea whose husband and boys were with Pat and Patrick. We went to the Magnolia Plantation, which was beautiful. We walked and walked and walked some more. In fact, we walked right off the map! We saw some alligators, a turtle, and lots of beautiful blooms. Even Will was tired out when we finally made it back to the truck. :) What a great day! Thanks for the suggestion, Renea!


03 2010

Birthday Revisited

Here are a couple of shots from Wendy’s actual birthday celebration. She has requested a party this year – and she will have one – we’re just not sure when yet! She got a play kitchen, play food and a SHOPPING CART! What more could a 6 year old girl ask for?! Needless to say, all the gifts were very well received. Whew! My baby baby girl is 6!

Big sister Hannah made the cake! Great job Hannah!!


03 2010

Our Birthday Babe


Just a quick post to remind everyone that today is Wendy’s birthday! If you weren’t in the restaurant or the store within our hearing today, then you might not have heard her telling everyone, “Today is my birthday! I’m 6!”

We had a scary time 6 years ago today when we and all the doctors thought Wendy was a very sick little girl. It was a miserable time for everyone. Thank goodness it turned out to be nothing! We are so blessed and thank God each day for the beautiful blessings He saw fit to bestow here on us! God is good!


03 2010