Sunday, April 25, 2010

Expedition Australia Review

What would you say if I told you that you could take a week long vacation in Australia for just $7.95?
(a virtual vacation that is)

We went there using Expedition Australia Download and Go, published by The Old Schoolhouse

You get a daily itinerary, a book list, vocabulary words, worksheets for all ages, maps, links, and lapbooking pieces. Every day you travel to a new location, learn a new Australian word, "visit" a geographic feature, learn about an Australian animal, and so much more! If that's not enough, there are extras in the back of the book, such as foods that are popular there, along with recipes, making a boomerang, and so much more.

The first day I tried to do it as a group subject and it took us about 1 hour to get through one days itinerary. I printed out the worksheets for that day, and stapled them together, and we went through the links together. They did feel like this was too long. So the second day I set up the computer by opening all the links for the day in order, printed off the days worksheets and had them just go through them on their own. They finished in about 35 minutes each. This also gave them the opportunity to read past finding the answers, if something interested them more. They also told me they enjoyed this much better. We still read the books suggested out loud as a group. We did any activities as a group, such as trying food, making a boomerang, etc. As the older kids did computer work, I did some of the worksheets for younger children, such as color matching kangaroos, counting koalas and time and temperature, and mapping activities with Katey, my 5 year old. She also enjoyed watching some of the videos,and visiting a few of the links. There are even links to Australian themed coloring pages. I let all of the children color them while I was reading from the book list.

I like that it is an E-book, and I can save it onto a disk and use it on any computer, and doesn't take much storage space, you get it instantly. It is flexible enough in that you can personalize it for each age range by choosing which worksheets, and links to use. I like that I could use it to teach my children, or that they could use it on their own with my supervision.

While this is suggested for children from K-4th grade, I think that in could be used for children of almost any age. The links, such as an online scavenger hunt in The Great Barrier Reef could be done together. There are simple worksheets for younger children, such as some coloring pages, matching, & counting games. There are more advanced worksheets for older children, such as mapping and general question worksheets. The videos are good for all ages. I even learned things I didn't know from this.

You will need an internet connection. So if you are using a public computer and internet, you will most likely need to break it up into more than 5 days. My public library did not have very many of the suggested books, but that was easy for me to fix, I just searched for others of the same subject. A fun suggestion would be to take a week off from regular schooling and fully focus on Australia, just like a vacation! We did not use all of the resources that are available with this, so you could easily have this be a complete school day for younger children. Or even a short school day for older ones.

I used this with my children ages 5, 9, and 11, and they all loved it.

There are so many titles available. See them all here!
These come individually for $7.95 each
You can get a set of 4 for $30.00
(you can pick your own or get one of their pre-picked monthly sets)
A set of 19 for $114.00
A set of 38 for $190.00

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