Friday, April 22, 2011

The Curiosity Files/Quicksand Review


I was sent The Curiosity Files Quicksand E-book Unit Study, from The Old Schoolhouse  to review. I must admit I have been looking at the Curiosity Files for a while now and wondered if Selena would enjoy working through the series. They have 9 different titles in this series with Professor Ana Lyze. A few of the ones that stood out as ones I would like to explore are Quicksand, Puffer Fish, and Dung Beetle. Actually I could see us looking into all the series down the road. The ages for this curriculum is from 8 to 13 years and up.


What is covered in this unit study? I must admit a lot, there is not only information about quicksand, but there is math, science, geography, art, bible, music, vocabulary and spelling, and a lot of fun games and activities, that can spark a child at any age. They do include a list of resources for further research, along with activities for children as young as 3 years old. I wanted to do so much more with this study, and I know we will as our weather improves and we can get outside to explore more. I can envision us making the quicksand and comparing it with the sand at our local beaches, as well as using a walking stick and exploring the banks of the rivers and lakes around us. How we did use the material though was to watch some videos on youtube and began to discuss simple things about quicksand. I can see us referring back to this unit study many times as Selena grows in her abilities.

I have to say that Selena and I had fun exploring through this topic. We were truly able to adapt quite a bit of this material for some real fun learning here in our home. While Selena is only 4 years old, I knew we would not be able to use all the material, but I knew she would have fun exploring quicksand, the bible study that goes with it, and many of the games recommended could be adapted for her learning level. She was able to learn some new vocabulary words through exploring and gained a few more new words to add to her, “I can read” list. She enjoyed some science, geography, and story time all using things she learned from this curriculum. We would have loved to take more advantage of the outdoor activities suggested in this unit, but our weather was not the best for that. I know that we will revisit this unit as Selena’s skills increase, and I will be looking into the other unit studies they offer too.

Selena’s take on this unit study: “Quicksand is like our mud pit that I fell in. I sank and had mud all over me. Our beach is like quicksand, because when we walk near the water we sink a little bit in the sand. Oh and remember the car that was stuck on the beach, it really sank.”

I believe a child who is 8 and older would have a lot of fun and learn a lot from this study. Besides the obvious, what is quicksand, but they would learn metrics in math, reading a tide chart, where one can actually find quicksand in the US and around the world, and have fun as they expand on their knowledge of the world around them. For those of you who are busy homeschool moms of multiple children I feel you will appreciate that they do offer ideas and activities for various ages. I hear so many homeschool mom’s ask “What do you do with your younger children while working with the older children?” This series has activities even for those as young as 3 years old, this provides a learning atmosphere for the entire family.

The other thing I truly liked about this curriculum is that the reading section, the learning about quicksand, is done in a question and answer form not just merely reading, but digging right into those questions I think most all of us have such as can I truly sink clear down and drown? It truly answers all the common questions that any person or child might have about quicksand. The answers are packed with interesting facts and information about quicksand. The Bible study is very well written and incorporates the unit study fairly well. There is also an essay section, to help your child learn how to write their own essay.

One con I found with this curriculum, is they introduce the series with the portrayal of how Hollywood uses quicksand in the movies. I remember  movies quite well, that were produced in the 1950’s but I have not seen quicksand used in the production of many movies today. While I did a search to see what movies of today use quicksand as a prop and did find a couple, I wondered how many kids have watched these movies. We got around this by watching some youtube videos about quicksand before we even started the unit study.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend The Curiosity Files by The Old Schoolhouse especially if you have older children. Again I can’t say enough about the fact that there is a little something for all ages, this truly is a family learning adventure. There are a total of 9 topics which you can explore here.  You can buy the entire E-book set for $46.00 or you can purchase the individual units by title for $6.95. These prices include everything in the E-book, handouts which can easily be printed off for each child and suggestions for how to store all the information they learn in a file folder or perhaps a lapbook. There are links to the instructions on how to make your own quicksand, as well as links and lists for all sorts of added resources. The only materials you provide are the materials needed for the experiments or the making of your own quicksand. They even offer a sneak preview of each unit, for this unit study you can see that here. While you are there remember that the store at The Old Schoolhouse offers many resources, unit studies, curriculum choices, so take some time to look around, you might find something that strikes you as interesting at a very reasonable price.

I was not paid for my review, while given a copy of this unit study I received no compensation. My opinion about this product is my honest opinion.

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  1. Very thorough review. The curriculum sounds great.

    I think there is quicksand in at least one of the Indiana Jones movies. C (almost 7) loves Indiana Jones, so I'll have to ask him. He just started watching them recently with Dad.

    I seem to remember quicksand from a cartoon, but I can't remember what cartoon.

  2. It sounds like an interesting unit study curriculum. Some of what you said reminded me of Child's First Library of Learning because of the way information is presented in Q&A format. Anna loves books like that. Thanks for a thorough review.

  3. Great thoughts on these studies. I appreciated reading how you were able to use/adapt the study with your 4-year-old.

  4. Sounds interesting, and like you had fun with it!

  5. Oooohhhh, I can see why you're enjoying it so much.

    I saw that one of the other files in this series was reviewed by someone else and is on sale right now for $1.

  6. Loved hearing how it worked for your 4 year old. My 5 year old adores the Curiosity Files stuff, but I'm directing them at her big brothers. I don't often stop and think about what she is getting from them.