Friday, February 11, 2011

The Curiosity Files - Red Tides (TOS Review)

As we started our homeschool journey I had several basic goals in mind.   Not that my girls would know their 9 times tables, or be able to tell me what the periodic table meant, or have beautiful handwriting - but rather that they would love to read, love to learn, and be curious about life and God's creation.  So far, so good, but I still love it when I find a product that feeds those three goals - and The Curiosity Files by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine fits that bill perfectly.

Product Info

The Curiosity Files are full-color unit studies on out-of-the-ordinary topics and are geared for kids ages 8-13.  The exploration of each study is led by Professor Ana Lyze (get it - analyze?) and her team of spies.   

 Currently there are 9 different studies on a variety of unusual topics:

Each study contains:

  • Bible study and memory verses
  • Math, history, and geography investigations 
  • Literature and suggested book list
  • Writing, spelling, and vocabulary activities
  • Beautiful copywork pages (manuscript and cursive)
  • Science observations, projects, and experiments
  • Discussion questions
  • Art, crafts, drawing, and coloring pages
  • Lapbook and notebook pages
  • Internet resources and video links
  • Complete answer key  
A downloadable bundle of all nine studies is available for $46; individually, each study is $6.95., so the bundle is a great deal (a 35% discount!).  If you prefer a CD, one containing all 9 studies is also available for $49.

Product Details...

We received the Red Tides Curiosity File to review.  Once downloaded, I discovered that it contained 85 pages chock full of information, and a six-page answer key.  As soon as I showed it to the girls their eyes brightened.  They had hoped for this study, since we all love the beach so much.  Even the cover is appealing!  I splurged and printed two copies in color, one for each girl - they were thrilled to have their own copy.  It didn't take them long to climb into bed and start reading.  

Immediately they were immersed into the world of red tides, learning what organisms cause them, what the scientific name is, how they affect marine life, where red tides can happen, how to recognize a red tide, and all other things red tide.  Written in a textbook, this information would probably be dry and boring - but The Curiosity Files makes it fun, and the girls were entirely enthralled.  After they read through the fact-filled introduction, we explored some of the resource links provided.  Once were done with the links, the girls wanted to go do some of the activities independently, and I didn't see them for a while - a very good sign. 

Red Tides contains lots of activities to keep the kids interested - things like figuring out how much algal toxin it takes to make you sick (using the metric system), writing an essay on red tides, playing a game using adjectives, spelling activities, word searches, copywork pages (both manuscript and cursive, using verses which refer to seas and oceans), creating your own food chain, and many others.

You can see a sample of Red Tides here

What I Like

We love studying unusual topics, and are constantly going off on "rabbit-trails", so this series is great for us.  Next on the girls' wish list?  The Dung Beetle Curiosity File.  And, luckily, more titles in The Curiosity Files are planned, because I predict we'll do them all.

I loved that the study talks about balance, how God made everything in perfect balance, and how there are consequences in nature when things get out of balance, even just a little bit.  I took that subject and we rabbit-trailed off onto a larger "heart" conversation -  a great teaching moment.

I like the breadth of activities provided - algae scavenger hunt, timeline questions, algae in history, and the quizzes that show what the kids have learned.  Also, many of the activities are provided in two levels - elementary and junior high. 

And, of course, I like that the girls like it - these studies are another way for me to continue encouraging their love of science.
I wish

I wish there had been things like this when I was studying science, instead of a boring old textbook.

Watch Out For

If your kids use these studies, they'll be spouting off little-known facts about all kinds of odd topics. 

Be Sure to

Watch for more titles in the series to be released.

Consider purchasing the bundle of 9 studies - it's a 35% discount! 

Final Thoughts

We've never done too many unit studies, but we'll do these because we love all things science!

Thoughts of my Crew Mates 

To see other reviews of this product, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:

Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

1 comment:

  1. We do so much online I forget about the option of printing sometimes. I may try that when we do our next Curiosity Files study. It does look like your girls were enjoying this.