Thursday, June 10, 2010

Download N Go: Whale Tales

What is Download N Go?  It's a combination of a unit study and a lapbook, geared for Kindergarteners through Fourth Graders.  Amanda Bennett has teamed up with The Old Schoolhouse to produce these studies.  There are daily lesson plans, lots and lots of links, and a variety of subjects available, with more coming out all the time.  Best of all -- at $7.95 each, they are affordable.  And the price gets lower if you purchase bundles.  Through June 12, coupon code DNG20PKS  gets you an additional 20% off on bundle purchases.

My family received Whale Tales and Davy Crockett.  We decided to start with Whale Tales.  I planned to do this with my three youngest... Thomas is heading into 4th grade, Richard into 1st grade, and Katrina is 4.

Whale Tales was easy to download -- and this is the kind of purchase I like to have available fast.  Flipping through the pdf file, I noticed a number of things that were familiar to me from previous Amanda Bennett unit studies we have done, such as:
  • An amazing resource list that can be used to enrich the study.  Enrich is a key word. The study is fantastic without adding the extra books.  But, well, we're a book loving family, so I immediately held every title the library had.
  • Well laid-out daily lessons.  The flow is fantastic -- watch a video, read some text, fill in a lapbook, watch another video, discuss something.  And each of the five days is fairly even in how much work is expected.
  • Hyperlinks.  Love having hyperlinks.  Don't make me type, don't make me search.  Love that.
  • A nice balance of subjects.  Whale Tales obviously has a lot of science.  Davy Crockett obviously has a lot of history.  But you hit on geography, math, language arts, Bible, art, and more.  
  • You really don't have to purchase anything else.  Assuming you have a printer and some means of writing and coloring, that is.
  • Reusable.
  • Adaptable to a variety of ages.  My older kids didn't want to do this study.  They told me they were too old for it.  But let me tell you, they were right there to hear the whale songs and see the whales breaching.  
I also noticed some new things, like:
  • Lapbooking.  There are a couple of lapbooking activities on each day of the study.
  • It is far more applicable to the younger ages than any of the other unit studies I have done.
  • Each study is meant to be done in just one week.  
How it worked in my home.  Well, let me first confess a couple of things.  #1 -- I want to love unit studies.  I keep trying to love unit studies.  But in reality, by the time we get a couple weeks into virtually any unit study, my kids are ready to move on.  #2 -- I want to love lapbooks.  I keep trying to love lapbooks.  But in reality, all that cutting and pasting and just dealing with my pencil-phobic kids, well, it makes me crazy.

With that in mind -- we loved doing Whale Tales.  We quickly dumped most of the lapbook activities, still doing about one per day.  But the video links were fabulous, and the text in the study (or linked to in the study) gave us plenty to discuss.  And then there were the books from the resource list.  A great variety, although we were only able to find 1-2 books for each day of the study.  My kids loved it.

I loved it.  Open and go.  It was so very easy.  Seriously, the only prep I did was to get on the library website and search for all the books on the resource list a couple weeks before we started.  In actually doing the study (over two weeks, I admit) all I did was open the pdf file and start at the beginning of the day's plans and keep working through it, deciding as we went if we wanted to color a certain page or fill out a particular lapbook.  We ended by reading all the books we had found that were suggested for that day.

I loved it so much that I am planning to purchase a Pick Your Own Four bundle, using the discount code above.  Oh, and you have to go enter their giveaway... the entire fall Download N Go set, gift certificates to Baskin-Robbins, Amazon and Starbucks, a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and a Homeschooling With Heart tote bag.  Enter here:

The Adventure Begins Giveaway!

Disclosure:  LitFuse and The Old Schoolhouse provided me with a complimentary copy of these studies for review purposes.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.


Rodna Allman said...

Hi Debra. We did the Australia Download 'N Go for a practice review, and my daughter loved it. She keeps telling me she wants to learn more about Australia!

Anonymous said...

Hi Debra, you won my science camp giveaway. Let me know if you didn't get the email with the certificate. Have a great summer!

Debra said...

Rodna -- that's great to hear! I am going to have to look seriously at some of the Destination titles.

Amy -- YAY!!! I got Thomas all signed up yesterday! I'm so very excited. No way could we have afforded this, and it is so perfect for him!!

Unknown said...

My daughter also loves the Whale Tales too!