About a month ago, Tim and I traveled to Little Rock to do a bit of house hunting. Since we had already signed a lease on our new house, I spent less time hunting for a house and more time exploring the area. By far the best thing I found there was the huge homeschool selection at Mardel. I spent several hours looking through various materials, thrilled to be able to flip through the pages in a book instead of just looking at a few samples online.
I went back to Mardel a second time, dragging my husband along so that he could weigh in on some of the products I was considering for next year. One of the things we looked at for a long time that afternoon was Geography materials, and we never found exactly what we wanted. I know that Brennan lacks some geography knowledge, but I really didn't want a full year-long program. When I received my first homeschool product to review, I found that it was exactly what I had been looking for.
The Schoolhouse Planner published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has monthly add-on modules that are mini-unit studies. For June 2010, the topic was Travel the World. At first, I was doubtful that I'd find this e-book useful because I don't have the Planner. I found that the June module was not connected to the planner, and in fact, it wasn't based on a calendar at all. I'll be able to use it as soon as we settle into our new house in Arkansas (sometime mid-August).
The Travel the World module includes eight pages of basic geography information -- topics like globes, maps, continents, and oceans. This is precisely the information that I'd like for Brennan to review. Once again, I've found the TOS materials to be very well-written. I will probably read through the information with Brennan, but he could also read it on his own. There are both fill-in-the-blank questions and a crossword puzzle to check comprehension. Like many of the other TOS products, there are a ton of helpful internet links that could be used to extend the basic information into a more in-depth unit study. This unit also includes extension ideas and research topics that would be suitable for a high school student. If you have younger children that like to be included in a unit study, there are coloring pages they might enjoy.
I really like that this module will fill a specific need in my homeschool planning. I'm really not a unit-study type of person, but occasionally I look for materials that will fill a specific need. I didn't necessarily want to add a book of 100 geography lessons to our homeschool year, but this short study will meet our needs nicely.
In looking at the other module options, I found a few others that I am interested in. For Addison and Brennan, the Checks and Balances will help round out our history studies by adding a unit on American Government. I am also interested in the Play it Safe materials for all of the children. For Lauren, it covers basic concepts such as wearing a bike helmet and fire safety. The older two could learn about CPR, preparing for natural disasters, and more.
The Schoolhouse planner modules are available through the TOS Magazine's Schoolhouse Store here. Individual modules cost $7.95, and you can also order an entire year's worth at one time.
If you'd like to read what my fellow crewmembers thought about this product, please check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.
Disclaimer: I received this e-book for free as a member of the 2010 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.