Geography is one of my favorite things to study, so when we started this latest Download N Go unit, I was thrilled. I decided to approach this unit a little differently than our last few units we have done. I told the kids on the first day that this was going to be a lesson all about art and maps. Well, since Little Man LOVES drawing, this sounded great to him. And Britches loves drawing as well, so she was excited about getting started.
As with each of the Download N Go unit studies, Expedition Australia was designed for five days of studies. Each day, we learned about a different, unique animal that is native to Australia, and then I sent the kids to the table to sketch that animal. Also, we traveled to a different area of Australia, and they had to sketch several of the different landmarks of that place. The kids each labeled their map of Australia with all the different landmarks they learned about. It was interesting to me to see the varied landscape of the country. They have everything from hot deserts to cold mountain tops and everything in between. We spent a lot of time on the computer looking at all the sights, and it is just BEAUTIFUL there!!
A study about Australia wouldn't be complete without learning about the original people of the country, the Aborigines. They are a people "of the land," and they have been here for hundreds of years before explorers "discovered" the place. The kids were fascinated by the pictures of the Aborigines and their lands. One thing we learned about is an instrument made by them, the didgeridoo. We listened to some sound clips of them playing this instrument.
Then, the kids and I went to one of the links provided in the unit study, and we found some great instructions for making your own didgeridoo craft. OK, so it wasn't authentic, but it got the point across to the kids. And they had a blast making them!
Here are a few pictures of the kids lapbooks. They turned out so CUTE!
I make a lapbook for each of my kids. Yes, that is a LOT of paper. BUT, Britches and Little Man are old enough now that I expect them to do their own writing and think for themselves. It makes it very hard to be creative when you are sharing with someone. Occasionally, I do let them do a project together, but for the bigger part of our lapbooking, they work in their own books. Plus, Little Sister thinks she needs to have the same thing as each of the older two, so I make a book for her as well. Of course, her's doesn't have nearly as many things included, and I really don't count on her to sit and do school with us every time we are learning. But her book is there for when she does want to join us. And it makes her feel like a big girl. Point here: don't teach only to the older children! Include your younger kids in the fun. It will make them love learning and look forward to the next exciting adventure with you!
When you purchase a Download N Go unit, you get all these pre-made templates to use with your lapbooks. I love that, because that saves me so much time trying to make my own templates! (Please be sure to take note of the upside down picture of Australia. Yes, mom's brain went a little crazy when I was gluing these things in!)
This is Britches' sketch of The Great Barrier Reef. She used color pencils as her art medium, and I think she did a fantastic job!
All said and done, the kids and I had a BLAST doing this unit, and we have all agreed that we are going to start saving our money to take a trip to REALLY tour Australia! That would be one trip that would convince me to step foot on an airplane! I've never flown before, but Australia is calling me, so I think I could talk myself into it for the chance to see all of that country!
If you are thinking about trying a Download N Go unit, I would highly recommend starting with this one. It was so much fun, and my kids learned a LOT about Australia! And it saved me so much time having the information readily available. I didn't need to spend what little time I DO have for school trying to hunt down what I wanted to teach them. Even if you use textbooks, this would make for a great addition to your lessons. It is a nice break from the book studies. And right now, Download N Go has a special price on Expedition Australia - $5.95, but only through November 8. So now would be the perfect time to buy.
I encourage you to enter the contest at DNG's site, because, up for grabs is a FANTASTIC laminated Australia political map from National Geographic! I LOVE MAPS, so this contest is so exciting to me! But you need to hurry, because this contest ends on November 8! (TOS/DNG affiliates, including the DNG review team and TOS crew are not eligible. I know, it knocks me out, too, but at least I get to offer it to you guys!)
If you're not interested in learning about Australia (and I can't see why anyone WOULDN'T be!), be sure to check out the Download N Go web site where you can find all kinds of other unit studies to pick from. They have several specials going on right now (including the special price on Expedition Australia!!). There is sure to be something for your family! There are also many other great products that you can purchase from The Old Schoolhouse Store. Be sure to check out those!
And be sure to visit the Download N Go blog to read reviews from other homeschoolers! You can find all sort of other ideas for teaching Expedition Australia!
~I received a free copy of Expedition Australia in exchange for my honest review of this product.