Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: TOS Planner Module - Travel the World

My first review for the 2010-11 Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew year!   Travel the World, intended as a unit study for all ages, is the June, 2010 Planner Module put out by The Old Schoolhouse.

I thought I'd use this with my 4th and 1st graders while their big brothers were away at camp.  Somehow, that never quite happened, and then the kids took turns being sick.  So we didn't use anywhere near as much of this as I would have liked.

What it is:

A 56 page e-book, this, like all the Planner Modules, is intended to be used alongside the TOS Planner, but it most certainly is a stand-alone product as well.  The teaching part of the e-book contains some introductory geography materials, and then goes through the continents one by one.  The next section contains a lot of "extras" including coloring pages, various puzzles, lapbook starters, copywork, and so on.  A high school expansion section follows, which I'll talk more about below.  Finally, there are a couple of recipes and pages of additional resources links.

I have a number of Planner Modules from before they included a high school expansion pack, and I have to say, this is a great addition, and one that is going to make me take a serious look at some of the other newer modules.

How we used it:

Most of this is pretty open and go.  I opened up the e-book, started reading aloud, and then we followed links to investigate some topics a little more deeply, or to play games.  The older kids pretty much rolled their eyes at me, I have to confess, as they felt they already knew everything there was to know about latitude and longitude.  Throwing some of the high school expansion activities at my middle schoolers helped immensely.  They particularly enjoyed learning about Matthew Maury, and having that as part of this geography study did help bring them in.

I don't really do much with lapbooks, my kids tend to really dislike word puzzles, but the coloring pages were a hit with my little two (1st grade and age 4).  Still, I know so many people really love these things, so I am glad they are included.

Now, if I were trying to do this as a unit study, one thing that is missing for my family is some good, real books.  Off the top of my head, I can think of a few that I'd probably add:  Around the World in 80 Days (except we read that fairly recently) would make a good "big" Read-Aloud.  My Father's Dragon would be an excellent read-aloud for those too young for Jules Verne.  I'd check a few picture books out, too, I'm sure.  Me on the Map, or How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.  I'd also consider looking for titles that took place on each continent.  But we're big into literature.  I'm sure most families would not feel the need to add all that.

I'd be more likely, I think, to use this particular study as a supplement to our regular history/geography studies though.  Work from it one day a week for as long as it takes, for instance, and have the time to really play some of the games and work on learning the concepts for each continent.

My overall opinion:

At just $7.95, I will be looking at some of the other Planner Modules, particularly those from this past year that include the high school supplement.  I'm seriously looking at the March 2010 one -- Wonders of Flight.  And my entomologist would love the May 2010 one -- Insects Galore!

Check this out.  There are pretty extensive samples available to download, so you can see if you think it could be used to enhance your family's studies.

You can check out what my fellow crewmates have to say about the Travel the World Planner Module  at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive a free e-book from The Old Schoolhouse.  The fact that I received complimentary products does not guarantee a favorable review.  It does guarantee a review. A fair review. But I am not going to praise something unless I think it deserves the praise.  If I don't like it, you'll hear that.  And hopefully with enough detail as to why so you can decide for yourself if what I hate about it makes it perfect for your family.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.


Denise said...

Another Homeschool Crew member here~ just added my name to your followers.

I enjoyed reading your review!

Dawn said...

Love your review! Checking out your thoughts as a fellow crew member.

Catherine said...

Hi! I'm just stopping by from TOS crew, checking out some other reviews. I love the title of your blog!