Friday, February 18, 2011

Expedition Ireland

Oh what fun these last two weeks have been. Once again, I have turned to one of the MANY Download-N-Go units by Amanda Bennett to add some fun and excitement to our learning adventures! The kids and I have been whisked away to a faraway land, one we have always dreamed of visiting in person. We have been on an expedition to the great country of Ireland! And oh what an adventure it has been!

Expedition Ireland was our newest Download-N-Go unit to jump into, and I think it is one you and your family (kids, dad, EVERYBODY) will really enjoy! I started off by looking through the entire unit and printing off the activities I wanted to do with the kids. Here are some of the great activities you will find in Expedition Ireland.

Since Download-N-Go units are full of great information for EVERY age group, I didn't want to print the pre-school activities with everything else. Little Sister wasn't joining us this time on this adventure, so I printed only the things I wanted the older 2 to have. I love being able to pick and choose with these units, because it saves me a lot on ink and paper! Anyway... After I printed our fun activities, I put together their lapbooks and we got started.

Here was our line-up of daily activities, but this doesn't even begin to tell just how much information we actually covered!

Day 1: Where on Earth Is Ireland?
Day 2: Some of the Special Places in Ireland
Day 3: A Bit of History
Day 4: Cool Things to Know About Ireland
Day 5: Fun and Games in Ireland

On the first day, after we had watched all the really cool videos and completed all the fun printable activities, I pulled out the supplies, and the kids were ready to get their hands MESSY! It was time to try our hands at making Irish Soda Bread! And oh my, that was FUN!

We started off with our flour, salt, baking powder, milk (I use almond milk), and, of course, our baking soda. We had our science lesson for the day, and learned that the soda takes the place of yeast and causes the bread to rise. But since it rises quicker than yeast, the bread is done more quickly. Also, since the soda doesn't give off gas like yeast, soda bread doesn't have holes in it like yeast bread, and it it much more dense. 

I let Little Man mix his from start to finish.

And Britches mixed hers from start to finish.

After mixing their dough, we added enough flour for them to knead it well. Then, they rolled it into a ball and dropped it on my baking stone. Each of them took my sharp knife and scored it in an "X" pattern on the top. 

And after it cooked for awhile, we pulled them out, cut some slices, slathered butter on them, and tried it out. It is a lot packier than my normal yeast bread, and it more resembled a big biscuit in texture and flavor. The kids loved it and thought they turned out very well. They were very proud of themselves.! We got the recipe from one of the links in the DNG unit!

On another day, we talked about one of the places in Ireland that is the leading Crystal maker in the world. So in that spirit, we decided to grow crystals. Yeah, I know growing crystals is not the same as Crystal! But it was still a fun science experiment. And in truth, we are still watching them grow and waiting on them to finish. I had no idea it would take this long! 

We decided to make sugar crystals, because you can eat those! So we started out by making a thick syrup and pouring it into the jars. We added craft sticks to give the crystals something to attach to as they grew. 

Within just a few hours you could see it getting thick and some of it forming crystals on the top.

We started these about a week ago. As you can see, crystals certainly are forming, but we have quite a ways to go before we actually get a sugar crystal stick! But the kids are enjoying checking out the jars each day to observe the different changes that have taken place. 

There were so many amazing things we learned during this unit study. We all absolutely fell in love with Ireland and want to take about a month-long vacation to the Emerald Isle someday. Only problem is, it's going to cost a small fortune to actually get there. So if you are like us and would love to go visit but just don't have the money or time to take a trip like that, grab yourself a copy of this great Download-N-Go unit and go there via the Internet and some great books! You will not be sorry!

You certainly don't have to take my word for it, though. Be sure to check out what other homeschoolers think of Expedition Ireland in the blog tour! And if you don't feel like visiting Ireland, no worries! Amanda Bennett has so many other unit studies to choose from, there is bound to be one that suits your need.

If you would like to hear more from Amanda Bennett, you will not want to miss the MidSouth Homeschool Convention in Memphis! Check out all the details on how you can win a FREE FAMILY REGISTRATION!! The contest will end at 4:00pm EST on February 19, 2011, so be sure to head on over there and enter.

~I was given a free copy of Expedition Ireland in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was given to me.


  1. Great review!! I like all the photos!! It is always fun to get the kids into the kitchen, isn't it? We really enjoyed this DNG, too.

    BTW, I love your blog! It's beautiful!!

  2. Fun, fun, and more fun! That is the stuff Matt's dreams are made of. ;)


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