Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review - The Curiosity Files: Blue Footed Booby

In my quest to become part of the Homeschool Crew over at The Old Schoolhouse, I was asked to provide a sample review of the ebook, The Curiosity Files: Blue Footed Booby, from The Old Schoolhouse.

I quickly downloaded all 100 pages of this ebook, and was glad to see that while several outside sources are suggested for further study, they are not necessary in order to use the materials. The product description says this is a "FUN unit study for kids ages 8 to13 and up." Based on what I saw, that sounds about right to me. While kids that are tween and up might find the Professor Ana Lyze character a little too cutesy, I think they will still find the rest of the materials to be engaging. Many of the activities have two skill levels - elementary, and jr./sr. high, as well as activities for further enrichment. There is even an activity included for preschoolers and children with special needs. Subjects covered include: Bible, math, history, geography, literature, writing, spelling/vocabulary, copy work, science, and arts & crafts/hands-on activities.

I do not usually do unit studies, however, since we are getting ready to move next week, I thought it was a good time to try something a little different from our "norm". I liked that, being an ebook, I could easily browse the PDF file and choose what I wanted to use. My children are both at a 5th grade level, so I chose to use the following with them:
  • "Everything You Never Wanted To Know About The Blue Footed Booby" and the quiz that followed
  • the Bible study "In The Beginning"
  • "Blue Footed Booby Age Problems"
  • "Blue Footed Booby Word Problems"
  • the elementary level spelling and vocabulary activities
  • "In The Lab - Anatomy"
My son thought the professor character resembled the teacher from The Magic School Bus, which he likes a lot. Both kids seemed to enjoy the different activities, and easily completed most of the work I gave them. They had a bit of trouble with the last few age problems - but even I couldn't figure them out on my own after a minute or two. The biggest "con" of these materials, I thought, was that while it is absolutely filled with beautiful color photos and illustrations on every single page, this also means that printing out the entire book would use lots of ink. I chose to only print the pages I wanted to use, and to print them in black and white, except for two pages which I printed in full color so the children could see the birds in detail. I suppose one way a person could get around this is to have your child sit at the computer and read the ebook on the screen, while recording their answers on a piece of paper.

I really like this ebook, and feel that it is a very flexible choice - I only used it for a couple of days, but easily could have made it last a week or more. It all depends on how in-depth you want to get, and how many subjects you want to cover. I love that it includes a Bible study, and am still planning to use the writing activities with the kids at some point in the future, as they look excellent! We also still have the "mad libs" and measuring activities to complete - I saved those to do together. I feel like this ebook is definitely worth the retail price of $6.95. Other topics available in The Curiosity Files line are: Cicada-Killing Wasp, Blue Diamond, Dung Beetle, MRSA, Platypus, Puffer Fish, Quicksand, Red Tide, Zombie Fire Ants, and Snow Rollers & Other Snow Phenomena. You can find all of these titles, including Blue Footed Booby, at I don't know about my daughter, but these are all topics my son would LOVE, and I look forward to using them in the future as a break from our "usual"!

**I was provided this ebook for free from The Old Schoolhouse, however, all opinions are my own. I was not required to provide a positive review, and I received no other compensation other than the free ebook.


Michelle said...

HEY, I got to this round too. I wonder if everyone did? LOL

Did you answer that one question right?

I think you did a more thorough job reviewing it than I did. Oh well. I am what I am. LOL

Jen said...

@Michelle - Nah, I didn't get the question right. I didn't understand that they were looking for us to literally find the answer in their summary. I thought it was more of a "what do YOU think" kinda thing. Oh, well! I'm eager to see if I made it any further! It would be exciting if we both made it!