A couple weeks ago we decided to try out the Download N Go unit studies from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. They are made by Amanda Bennett. I had gotten a free one on Amelia Earhart when I signed up for something so we decided to use it with Cameron. It was a huge success. Cameron learned about Amelia Earhart, The Wright Brothers, airplanes, and flying over the course of 5 days. We decided to get a subscription for a whole year of the unit studies. I’ve downloaded the available ones and they all look so awesome. Over the next several months, Cameron will be learning about everything from whales to spring to Ireland to soccer to pizza. Quite a fun variety.
The studies are not exactly download and go, but it is pretty close. They do require a little bit of preparation. Once it is downloaded, you need to print it out. There are a few things within the study that require cutting and pasting and then there are lapbooking bits that you may or may not choose to prepare ahead of time. Here is how I set it all up. The example study is the one Cameron is working on this week, Kite Capers.
I print the pages double sided and three-hole punch them and put them in a two-pocket three-prong folder (which by the way are super hard to find in any store around here currently). I write the name of the study and Cameron’s name on the front of the folder.
The study includes lots of links (those are in blue on this example age) and space for the kids to answer the questions. Cameron has trouble spelling and writing so he writes the shorter answers and I write the longer answers for him as he dictates to me what he wants to say.
I print the pages so the first page of each day starts on a new sheet of paper even if that means the last page of the previous day is only printed on one side.
Sometimes I print them in color, sometimes I print them in black and white. They are much prettier in color of course, but don’t absolutely have to be in color.
There is usually some science bits included in the study even if it’s not a science-focused topic.
For the studies that are more science-focused there is usually at least some social studies related bit in it.
Each morning I go through the day’s links and open them in my browser in order so they are ready to be viewed as soon as we get to them. The links range from fun videos like one of lots of people flying kites and this one of the song Let’s Go Fly a Kite from Mary Poppins…
…To various websites for more information to learn about the subject or activities related to it.
There are lots of recommended books to read for each study topic. I pick one or two for each day and check them out of the library. This requires a little bit of advance planning to be sure I have all the books I need when I need them.
Each day has extra activity options as well. Some are simple coloring pages like the one below. Others include things to make or recipes to cook. I pick the ones that I think Cameron would enjoy the most or get the most educational from.
Cameron writes the answers directly into the study booklet I’ve made. Once the 5 days are over the folder goes on the shelf where the lapbooks are stored and become a nice little presentation of what he learned.
Within the study there are occasional cut and paste activities. I cut the pieces out and paper clip them to the page they will be glued to.
Often there is a little bit on a state within the study. Cameron gets to learn a little about the state (Kansas in Amelia Earhart, California in Kite Capers, for example) and glue in the flag, bird, animal, etc. for that state. I cut out the pieces and paper clip them to the page.
Throughout the study there are lapbooking activities. I cut a file folder a little bit and three-hole punch it so it will fit nicely in the folder. Then I cut out and attach all the lapbook pieces so they are ready for Cameron to fill in as he gets to them.
Occasionally there will be activities in the Wolf Cub Scout manual that goes along with the topic of the study. I add those in to be done during school time making it easy for Cameron to complete the electives and earn his arrow points. An example is making this kite. Went perfectly with the Kite Capers study.
Completing a day of Download N Go takes anywhere from one to two hours give or take a few minutes. The days aren’t extremely well balanced as far as time required goes, but they are extremely well balanced as far as each day having a topic within the bigger theme for the study. I totally recommend these studies. They are aimed at K-4. I’d say they are perfect for about first to third grade. They seem a little hard for a kindergartener and too easy for a fourth grader. They certainly make it easy to do school. Just add language arts and math and you have your core subjects. They are very fun and interesting to my 8 year old 2ndish/3rdish grader. I couldn’t ask for much more.
The Download N Go studies sell for $7.95 if you want to get a single one, $30 for a four-pack making each one $7.50 (plus you get a free study on birthdays), one semester (19 studies) for $114 making each one $6, and $190 for a year (38 studies) making each one $5. If you purchase a semester or year you get a free study on birthdays, a free study on summer, and Amanda Bennett’s Unit Study Journal and Unit Studies 101 free.
I am not affiliated in any way with the Download N Go studies nor am I receiving anything for writing this review. I simply am a happy customer who bought the full year pack and am looking forward to doing the remaining 40 studies with my son, as well as with my younger two sons once they are old enough for them. (Forty studies are remaining for us because we have completed Amelia Earhart, bought 38 and got two more free – birthdays and summer, and got Autumn Treasures free last fall as well but never completed it.)