I was recently blessed with being able to review the Curiosity Files, Puffer Fish from The Old Schoolhouse Store. And I mean blessed! This was a great diversion during the doldrums of winter and a nice way to get back into the groove of homeschooling after the holidays.
The Curiosity Files with Professor Ana Lyze are a fun filled, easily adaptable unit study series by The Old Schoolhouse. They focus on the stranger and grosser topics of science (zombie fire ants and dung beetles anyone?) that seem to appeal to a wide variety of children. We selected to do the study on Puffer Fish due to the girls’ love of fish and a certain fish themed animated movie.
This study, while designed for children at about age six through middle school is very easily adaptable. My eldest is four and a half and doing kindergarten work, and was captivated by the topics regarding puffer fish in this study and was able to complete a lot of the projects. We did most of it orally and she did very well. Beans loved tagging along and seeing the puffers.
This unit study has everything you could want, from science (specifically zoology in this one), math (monetary conversion rates, other math problems), language skills (vocab, spelling, sentence combing and both print and cursive copy work), Bible (copy work and memorization), sociology (culture study with Japan) and even art. This study has TONS to do, and is easy to adapt to your needs by adding to it or taking away. We didn’t do the higher level math conversions for example (at 4 ½ we really didn’t need to). And we did most of our work orally. We discussed the vocabulary words and we talked about how and why puffer fish inflate. I think the girls (and I) know more about puffer fish than the average person….I didn’t know there were so many varieties!
The Puffer Fish study comes with embedded links to even more information online. There are pictures, articles and even videos of puffers puffing. The girls really enjoyed the videos (fair warning parents, look up all the videos and watch first. You would not believe what is out there on You Tube…) and still ask to watch them after we completed the work of the study!
There are tons of books at the library to add to your study. So if seeing a topic and freaking out because you personally don’t know anything about it is an issue, don’t let it be one! Each topic has a lot of resources that aren’t too hard to locate either online or at the library.
I was also very impressed with the fact that there were adaptions suggested for special needs students! I had yet to see very many ideas or alternative suggestions in curriculum I’ve looked at since I started homeschooling and researching curricula. I was very impressed with it, so if you have a special needs student, use the adaption suggestions as a springboard, you won’t regret it!
We were going to do the paper mache puffer fish as the completion of our study. Unfortunately life got in the way (see the AWOL post…) and I didn’t feel like I could start a multiple day project last week and we’ve not been able to fit it in yet. I’m planning it for next week when Grandma is here for the Bean’s birthday. It will be lots of fun and I’ll come on and add pictures in a new post (and try to remember to link it….). The girls are so looking forward to the paper mache. In fact, when they saw the pictures and the directions for the art project, they were extremely excited and started begging to do it right away!
Our verdict: The girls loved this unit study! It was simple for me to pull off (I love simple planning), resources abound at the library and online to supplement it. It was so easy to adapt to what the girls can do, still challenge them and still hold their interest. You could take a week or two and only do the study, or do what we did and spread it out over the course of nearly four while still doing our regular school work. This series would also be great to do over longer breaks as an interest led study, like during the summer months when you want your children to still be learning, but you don’t want to do all school. I would also use this as week between quarters or semesters (depending on how you break your year up) and use this as a break from regular school for a week or two so you as the teaching parent can have some of a break, but still keep the students learning.
I highly recommend the Curiosity Files with Professor Ana Lyze to all homeschooling families. They are simple to put together, easy to do and are jam packed full of information. And what I love is that I can cycle back through this when the girls are a bit older and go even deeper yet into the topic! I learned more than I ever thought possible about puffer fish doing this study and found them to be more interesting than I thought. And no, I have no intention of ever trying one for food, they are poisonous you know.
The Curiosity Files are also very cost effective. You can purchase them singly. However, I suggest going the bundle route. You can now get ALL NINE of the studies in a bundle to save even more for under fifty dollars. I don’t know of other studies at that terrific of a price! (cd for $49.00 or download for $46.00. I would personally do the download, instant gratification that way…).
I received the Puffer Fish study from the Curiosity Files with Professor Ana Lyze as a part of The Old Schoolhouse’s Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone, and other than the product, no other compensation was received (it would be kind of difficult to review something without using it first, you think?) To see what my crewmates had to say about the Curiosity Files (and see the other topics covered), go visit the Crew’s blog here. Then go on over to the Store and get one or all for our yourself (and browse the rest of the store while there!)..