The adventures of a homeschooling family

Howard and Rachel
Annie, Emma, Sarah, Laura and Adam

Friday, April 29, 2011

Blue Diamond review

Recently our family was asked by TOS Homeschool Crew to review an e-book.  We were given The Curiosity Files:  Blue Diamond. This is a unit study whose target audience is 8-13 years.  I happen to have an 8 year old and an 11 year old, so this was a good fit.

This was our first unit study, ever.  It was surprising to see how many subjects were covered using the topic of blue diamonds.  There were sections on science, math, history, geography, writing, spelling, vocabulary, copywork, art, discussion questions and more.  These subjects were also divided by age range, so it was easy to see which pages were for which kid.

We began our exploration with Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Blue Diamonds.  The girls each wanted to read these, so they took turns, alternating pages.  They were pretty excited at this point because, hey, girls like diamonds!

I actually printed most of my e-book out because it was gorgeous outside and the kids were working in the backyard.  Emma did some copywork on the trampoline while Annie sat in the porch swing.  We came back together to do a quiz. 

Emma enjoyed the internet resources and links.  She read them on her own until, "I want to read more, Mom, but my eyes are killing me!"  After learning about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock, we went on to do an experiment using cookies as rock samples.  Yummy and informative. 

There was a great literature section, incorporating mysteries about diamonds.  The lesson that corresponded asked the kids to write their own mysteries.  While that hasn't happened yet here, I am sure it will in the future.

This review coincided with some seriously bad cold/flu mojo over here.  We covered the areas that the kids were most excited about while they were conscious.  We will be going back to do more as we recover.  There was a lapbook portion included toward the end of the book.  ( I love lapbooks!) It had templates and many ideas for expanding studies on diamonds.

The cons of this e-book:  Annie found the math to be not on the same level as the language arts portion.  She felt the vocabulary words were pretty easy.   That is about it, except that there is so much available that it was hard to select which activities we wanted first.

The kids and I have been poring over the TOS website, looking at The Curiosity Files.  These are very reasonably priced.  This particular e-book is $6.95 There are many other topics, currently starting as low as $1.00!  The titles we are considering for future use:
Zombie Fire Ants
Puffer Fish

These are all totally interesting and fascinating enough to keep my kids interested.  Zombie Fire Ants?  Can it get much better?  I would recommend this e-book, and the series, wholeheartedly.  We may be doing more and more unit studies.  It was fun to have the same area of study for both girls.  I don't know if its good or bad for them to know so much about diamonds and how to tell a good one.  A trip to a jewelry store is planned in my head, I haven't told them yet.


Emma and Annie said...

I loved this e-book a lot.I am excited to learn through other e-books especially MRSA.

Helen & Bill said...

Muy interesante! I think it's great that there are so many different ways to learn. The fact that the girls were so interested impressed me about the quality of "stuff" that's available for learning and teaching.

Diamond said...

This is very interesting to me. Do you think some of these would work for a 7 year old on summer vacation?

I thought the insect bundle looked interesting and she would probably learn more than when she "just" read the books from the library. But, I can't see an age range and don't know if it would work for a non-homeschool family.

Really, you made me curious about the blue diamond book. I don't think I know or remember half the things you mentioned they learned.

Rachel said...

The age range is from 8-13, but I think it would work for a 7 year old too. There were around 90 pages in the Blue Diamond study, so I think the others would be comparable.

You can pick and choose what you want her to do, how in depth, etc.

I know you are a pretty intelligent person, so you could figure it out just fine.
You don't need to be a homeschool family, just one who likes cool information.