One of the many, many reasons I homeschool is because I want the freedom to openly and actively teach my kids God's Word whenever and however I may choose. But often I find that I get so focused on whatever it is we are studying, I tend to forget to incorporate our most important school book - The Bible. I have a friend who has told me that she seems to focus mainly on the Bible, and she feels she is probably not devoting enough time to other key subjects. Well, I am the complete opposite! I have gotten much better lately with including Bible in each of our units, especially since we have started using Download N Go pre-made units. Each of these units, written by Amanda Bennett (Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett), is packed FULL of scriptures, God truths, and so much more. I LOVE that about these units!!
But, I wanted to do a little more in depth Bible study with my kids by way of our schooling. Seems that if I want to get anything done with them, I'd better do it under the cover of "school work", because once we put the lapbooks away, the learning part of their brains checks out! So I really thought that the best way to learn the Bible was simply to do a unit study about the Bible.
About that time, Download N Go had just released one of their new unit studies called Expedition Israel. PERFECT! And what great timing, too!! I downloaded the unit to my computer, printed out only the pages we were going to use, and we were set. It was that easy!
Expedition Israel takes you on a virtual tour of the Holy Lands. Oh my! I have always wondered about the Promised Land and what made it so special. When we started on our journey, we began making our way through the different cities and places where my Savior lived and walked and taught.
We visited places like the Jordan River, the place where Naaman was healed of leprosy and where John the Baptist baptized Jesus and many others. We took a close look at the Dead Sea and learned that, even though nothing can live in it, it is still useful. And we visited many of the major cities of Israel, learning the history of each place.
We saw animals in that country that I never realized were there. The unit had, already included, videos that we could watch to see the types of monkeys that Solomon received as a gift every 3 years, the type of bear and lion that David fought with his bare hands, and many others!
The kids and I took a close look at the terrain in that land, and we decided that, when Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem to register, they crossed some hard land. It was not the nice, happy little donkey ride that most children's books portray. It was hard. It was rugged. It was LONG! And we learned, too, that they made this trip EVERY YEAR after that to celebrate the Passover in Jeruselam. I imagine that was an even longer trip with kids! ("Are we there yet?")
Here are some of the pages you can look for in this unit, but there are so many, many more!
Each day has a particular focus. They are:
Day 1: Where on Earth Is Israel?
Day 2: Some of the Special Places in Israel
Day 3: A Bit of History
Day 4: Cool Things to Know About Israel
Day 5: Fun and Games in Israel
To be perfectly honest, this unit is so packed full of information, videos, experiments, and other activities, we aren't completely finished yet. I wanted to take our time and fully experience this land, so we are not rushing through any of it. This lesson could easily turn into a 3-4 week project!
The thing I have enjoyed most about this unit is the fact that my kids are getting excited about looking up stories in their OWN BIBLES!
**Let me just interject a little something here. Parents, if your kids do not have a Bible, GET THEM ONE! Your child needs their OWN Bible, and in a translation that is easily understood. I don't care if you think the King James Version is the only good version out there. If your child can't read it and UNDERSTAND IT, it is useless to them. OK, I'm off my soap box now.
Back to the Bibles. I didn't just read or tell my kids each of the stories in our lessons. I asked them to go get their Bibles and look it up for themselves. I don't want them to ever take my word for it that it's in the Bible. They need to know how to go look it up for themselves, and then let God speak to them through His Word. So I really, really enjoyed watching them find the verses and then read the stories out loud for all of us to hear.
One of my other favorite things, and this is pretty much with all our units that we do, is when we had our Jewish meal night! One afternoon, we all sat around the computer trying to decide which recipes we wanted to try. After we made out our grocery list, we went to pick up what we needed. We found our food ideas all on this one great web site! It's always so much fun to bring a different culture's foods into our home and on our table. I LOVE showing the kids how differently people of other countries eat! And I love the excitement that comes along with trying out those recipes. Most of these foods we had never even heard of, but it was so much fun trying them out and tasting what the people of Israel enjoy regularly. When you do your lessons with your kids, be sure not to miss this really exciting part. Don't skip out on "food night" just because you don't want to take the time or because you're afraid of trying something new. Besides, this is a great way to get prepared for different foods should God ever call you or your kids to a foreign mission field!
And I also loved the experiments we did to get an idea of the saltiness of the Dead Sea.
We learned that the egg and apple take less salt to make them float due to their shape. But it took MUCH more salt to float the marble and rock. We talked all about how the sun evaporates the water from the Dead Sea leaving behind so much salt. And we decided that, if it took THAT much salt for a marble and a rock, the Dead Sea must have a TON of salt to hold up a person!
This lesson has been fantastic so far, and we still have several more days that we will be enjoying this study! I don't want to rush through the Promised Land, but I want to go slowly and savor all the stories of old, the places in which Jesus walked, and everything else that this land has to offer.
If you have ever thought to take your kids on a trip through God's Word, I would highly recommend starting with Expedition Israel! It is a GREAT place to start growing in your kids a love of God's people, His Promised Land, His Word, and so much more. And let me tell you, for the price of $7.95, that sure beats the price of a plane ticket! I always love taking my kids all over the world through books and Internet resources. I would have neither time nor money to physically go to all these places, but with a book or my laptop, the world is just waiting to be explored!
Be sure to hop on over to some of the other great blogs and read all about what other homeschoolers think of Expedition Israel. And then, hop on over to Amanda Bennett's website and pick up a copy for yourself. Then pack your virtual bags and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
~I was given a copy of Expedition Israel in exchange for my honest review of this product. I received no other compensation.