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Monday, July 19, 2010

TOS Travel the World Review

I was recently chosen to be on the TOS homeschool curriculum review group. So for the next year I will be receiving free stuff to try out in an exchange for my honest review.

The first item that I received was an e-book titled Travel the World. I was really excited about this item because it covered a topic that I often ignore in our homeschooling schedule: Geography. I received the TOS Travel the World program for free in exchange for my honest review of the program on this blog. I received no other compensation. This stand-alone unit was delivered to me as an e-book.

This is a very general unit on geography. What I mean by that is that your student is going to learn about large concepts like continents, longitude, latitude and the equator. Within each larger concepts are computer links that allow your student to explore areas within that concept. For example, after we learned some general information about each of the seven continents, James, age eight, accessed the links for North America and was able to learn about the locations for countries within North America.

Another great aspect of the program was the lapbooking section. My family loves making lapbooks because they are so engaging and easily accessible. I love how much fun it is to materialize the information learned with fun tabs and mini-books.

The lapbook in this unit encourages your student to think about a place they would like to visit. They research that place using computers and books, then transfer that knowledge to the lapbook templates. James enjoyed writing about what he learned and organizing it into a geography lapbook.

A part of the program we did not access was the highschool expansion. Activities and ideas are included to help you incorporate this program into the curriculum of an older student.

Why this program worked for our family:

*I am not computer savvy, but I had no problem completing this unit with my child. The computer part of this program was simple for even someone as "computer feeble-minded" like me.

*Many of the links within the e-book send you to games. My child loved playing the games over and over to trying to get a 100% score.

*It was not time-consumming. We covered a lot of important information in a short amount of time. The concepts taught were reinforced through the repetition of the games and the ability to return to links of interest.

*The way the material was presented really stuck with my student. Our children are allowed no computer or TV time and so it was no surprise to me that James "lost" himself in this online world of geography. What did surprise me, however, was the wealth of real knowledge that James brought away from this program. In the course of the unit he went from saying things like, "The country on top of the this red colored square," to "It is the small pennisula in the southeast United States."

*Although I received this program for free, it is a very inexpensive way to get some geography learning in. The entire e-book retails for only $7.95. Click here to order.

What was difficult about the program for my family:

*I felt that the lapbooking portion of the program was a little weak. The program offered plenty of links to help you get more materials for the lapbook, but sometimes it's nice to have the materials right in front of you instead of hunting the internet for them.

*There was a lot of coloring included in the program. Maps of countries and oceans all needed to be labeled and then colored. My kids detest coloring. I was able to convince James to outline in color some of the materials for the lapbook, but for the most part all the coloring pages remained black and white.

*I realize we live in an age of technology and many families have accepted that as a way of life. I have not. It was hard for me to have James spend so much time on the computer. I would much rather he was curled up on the couch with a book and an atlas.

Overall, I would say that this program was a success with my student and I will be repeating it with the other children as they get older. If you are interested in learning more about this program and to access sample pages of the program, CLICK HERE. To access similar programs by The Old Schoolhouse, CLICK HERE.


Denise said...

Stopping by from the Homeschool Crew and realized I wasn't following your blog. I am now.

Enjoyed reading your review!

Susan said...

Thank you for the balanced's good to hear about a product, beauty marks, warts and all.

Our Homeschool Reviews said...

Great review. Thanks for stopping by. Oh, my daughter typed out that review. She had a fun time doing it. :o)

Catherine said...

Hi! I'm just stopping by from TOS crew, checking out some other reviews.