Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Curiosity Files–Puffer Fish Product Review


The Curiosity Files™ : Puffer Fish

Explorations with Professor Ana Lyze—Expert in Outlandish Oddities
A FUN unit study for kids ages 8–13

I know it is school holiday time but the kids wanted something to do and I was given this product to review so this week was a good time to use it.

I have never used any of the Curiosity Files before.  They are published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  Each File is $6.95 for a downloadable Ebook in PDF format or you can get a downloadable bundle of all 9 books for $46.00 (or $49 if you would prefer them on CD).   In the series are Cicada-Killing Wasp, Blue Diamond, Blue-Footed Booby, Dung Beetle, MRSA, Platypus, Red Tide, Zombie Fire Ants, Quicksand and Puffer Fish.  All unique and interesting subjects.

The series are written from the point of view of a child asking questions of Professor Ana Lyze (the name appealed to Zebra (10) as she is just starting to understand plays on words).  The information presented about the puffer fish was interesting and even though we had done a short study before on the fish we learnt some new things.  My children love the Magic School bus and this reminded me a little of them  – (zany and strange things of nature)  The difference is that this series are God focused.  The kids (and I) really enjoyed reading about the fish and not having to wade through the normal evolution biased information which seems to be in nearly every book you pick up. 

The information about the fish was interesting, clearly written and simple to understand.  This is the first bit of the Ebook which was a huge 85 pages.  You could print this up if you wanted to or do as we did and just read it off the computer.

puffer fish review

The next bit of the Ebook is a review which we did verbally (you could do it as a written test).  I was impressed that the girls could answer all of the questions except one.  Then the fun starts or it would have if my printer had not died. I was disappointed that at this present time I was unable to print out any of the worksheets and lapbook components.  I think there is enough work here for 1-2 weeks of work.  Every subject is covered –

  • 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 at the back making it very easy for Mum to check work.

It would also be perfect to use for a science fair project topic.  pufferfishpagespray

I liked that it was perfect to use with the workbox system as you could just print the bits you wanted and add to the kids boxes.

The age range was 8-13 and I think this was fairly accurate. My children are 5,7,9 and 10.  There were bits that could be used with younger children and my 5 year old was happy to listen to most of the information.  There was a lot that was above my kids work wise so this unit would be perfect for a family that likes to do unit studies together.  Just print and give the appropriate bits to each child.

Having tried this one  I would  buy more in the series as I feel that they are really worth the small cost ($6.95) as all the kids can use them, it was a simple and easy way to do a whole family unit study with no preparation on the part of Mum other than printing out the relevant work sheets.  All the information needed was included along with a list of links for more learning if you wanted to learn more. 

I was very impressed to see a section for kids with special needs giving ideas for extending their learning, with hands on ideas.  Having a son with special needs and a nephew with autism it is nice to know that they can be easily included in the unit study as part of the family with out Mum having to alter things specially for them.


Did you know that to become a qualified chef in Japan you have to do 2-3 years of study, and if you make it to the end of the exam have to eat your fish?  About 100 people die each year from eating Puffer fish?  Just some of the interesting facts included in the book.

If you would like to try a sample of this ebook click here.  If you would like to purchase this ebook or others in the series click here  or go to The Old Schoolhouse store website and search under Curiosity Files.


**Please note  I was not paid to write this review. 

I was given a free copy of the product for the purposes of review. ***

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Holidays time

Down under here the first term has just come to an end and we are on holidays for 3 weeks (at least our family is! Smile).  I haven’t planned anything for the holidays except relax and enjoy our selves but the girls have a few ideas they would like to try so we will see what happens. 

So for all of those in Australia who follow the school term a big Happy Holidays to you!  and see you in 3 weeks time

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From Akebu to Zapotec

Akebu to ZapotecSonlight had a extra download in 2009 (It was called Core 1 Tips – but with the cores renamed and the website under change I am not sure how to find it Sad smile

I am going to provide the direct links that were given in the Sonlight download for this book.  Please note these link direct to the PDF’s – they were really hard to find and link to any other way.  I found these really good – I printed up the map for the kids to mark the country on and the info about the country I printed for me so I could share more about the people as we read about each one.  They are from  There was so much more we could have done with these lessons – but if we took every rabbit trail we would NEVER finish a core!!




Akebu people – supplemental lesson PDF

Brokpa People – supplemental lesson PDF

Chut People – supplemental lesson PDF   we read about these people after we had read some books about the Vietnam war, which made the people and the place seem a little bit more real and closer to home for us here in Australia.

Dongxiang People – supplemental lesson PDF

Elkei People – supplemental lesson PDF

Fania People – supplemental lesson PDF

Gusilay People – supplemental lesson PDF

Hrusso People – supplemental lesson PDF

Ica People – supplemental lesson PDF

Jumjum People – supplemental lesson PDF

Kulango People – supplemental lesson PDF

Libido People – supplemental lesson PDF

Melanuau People – supplemental lesson PDF

Ngizim People – supplemental lesson PDF

Osing People – supplemental lesson PDF

Phuan People – supplemental lesson PDF

Quechua People – supplemental lesson PDF

Rajbanshi People – supplemental lesson PDF

Safwa People – supplemental lessons PDF

Temacine People – supplemental lessons PDF

Umeda People – supplemental lessons PDF

Vadar People – supplemental lesson PDF

Woleai People – supplemental lesson PDF

Xibe People – supplemental lesson PDF

Yinbaw People – supplemental lesson PDF

Zapotec people – supplemental lesson PDF


We made a cover for our notebook which you can download from HS Launch here

There are prayer journals for your children to pray about some of the people they read about here at (Lesson 7-8) the prayer cube (lesson 6) is a cool idea too.

There are pages here from Jjn3beans’s homeschool Launch Page (sorry I am not allowed to link direct to the downloads – but they are listed on the left side of the page)

This book made a HUGE impression on Duckie, she included the people in her prayers and reminded us to also pray for them. It never ceases to amaze me how different things appeal at different times, we have read the book before but this time for her it was so different.

New Sonlight Catalogue has arrived

How exciting – my catalogue has arrived – we are in Australia so assuming those in America have had theirs for a little while.  As we packed to go away over the weekend I glanced quickly through it, thought about sneaking it into my suitcase and reading it but decided in the end to focus on having time out from school and everything and enjoying some rare family time out.  We had a wonderful time.

Esterance 1

And now to read my Catalogue –

In my quick glance through before we left, I noticed that the Cores have been renamed but I also noticed how much clearer the catalogue is to make sense of. Smile  After patiently showing friends how to order their Sonlight orders for the first time and how to work out what they needed. I feel that Sonlight has made it so much easier to make sense of.  I am also excited to see that All about spelling has been added to the Sonlight range.  I have seen so many good reviews for this program and so really want to try it.  So off to make a list for next year! Smile