The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

alWright Publishing Review by Teri Lucas, Christine Field, and three others

PO Box 81124
Conyers, GA 30013
Write for a free catalog

Bird Unit Study and Microscope Adventure
By Kym Wright

Bird Unit Study and Microscope Adventure open with an introduction to using the unit study. Each book also includes a list of materials needed to complete the unit. There is a list of people to study along with suggestions for additional reading. For quick reference or recording purposes, a course outline is featured. Goals and objectives are highlighted as well. Masters for worksheets or lab sheets, daily planning, and project selections are bound within the books. They can be readily photocopied for use with multiple students. Each unit study can be completed in approximately 30 to 45 days as needed.

These are "meaty" unit studies, not at all on the light side, yet they can be adapted as needed with each student. While being very thorough in her approach, Mrs. Wright has left some room for your own creativity. Your child will definitely grasp the subject at hand and have fun while doing it. Bird Unit Study and Microscope Adventure are not your average day at school - highly recommended!

-- Product Review by: Teri Lucas, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another Bird Unit Study and Microscope Adventure review!

"Join us in a unit study adventure from Kym Wright and alWright Publishing!" -- The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Kym Wright is a delight! She is the author of several items, was the publisher of a wonderful magazine called Open Arms, and is the creator of numerous unit studies. I had the opportunity to review two of them for TOS.

Microscope Adventure is incredibly well done. The adventure begins with getting acquainted with your microscope and learning to properly use and care for it. Using books commonly available at the library, the student then reads and researches all aspects of the use and usefulness of the microscope. A complete course of lab explorations is detailed for the student. Using fabric, hair, dust, flowers, plants, seeds, molds, and common insects, the student explores a wide array of science topics. Kym has included a complete plan for the unit, called Kym's Konstruction Kit. A handy checklist guides the teacher through preparation and implementation of the unit. She has also included a handy prefatory article by Kathleen Julicher and Steve Lambert on "Buying a Microscope." At the end of the unit, numerous websites are listed to continue the adventure - virtually.

Bird Unit Study is incredibly detailed and complete. She supplies her famous Kym's Konstruction Kit to implement the unit. Through the unit, the student learns about flight, migration, identification, groupings, bird communication, careers with birds, and anatomy, in addition to some hands-on projects like building a birdfeeder and birdhouse. Kym, who thinks of everything, includes relevant Scripture, library books and literature, writing ideas, complete guidance on buying a bird, a research outline, field trip ideas, and listings of birding organizations.

Other unit studies available from Kym include one on spiders, goats, sheep poultry, photography, flower arranging and wreaths, Victorian sewing and quilting, and botany.

Our family is blessed to own a fairly nice microscope. I know what we will be doing this summer! Join us in a unit study adventure from Kym Wright and alWright Publishing.

-- Product Review by Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another Bird Unit Study and Microscope Adventure review!

Okay, everyone knows that unit studies are one of the hottest trends in homeschooling, right? Unit studies provide a great way to teach many different subjects, using different methods, to different ages of kids at the same time. What could be better for the busy homeschool family? How about having someone write the unit studies for you in a clear, understandable, and logical way?!

Kym Wright, a veteran homeschooling mom of eight children (who also writes brilliant articles for TOS Magazine) has done this difficult task for us. She has written several unit studies that cover a broad spectrum of topics, but I looked at two: Microscope Adventure! and Bird Unit Study. Both are reasonably priced ($17.95 each through alWright! Publishing, P.O. Box 81124, Conyers, GA 30013). Both are very thorough with wonderful information about the topic, activities, worksheets, lesson plans, field trip ideas, additional resources, etc. I think either unit could range from a couple of weeks to a whole semester, depending on how detailed you want to be and how interested your kids are in the topic.

The Bird Unit Study covers information about identifying birds, anatomy of a bird, migration, communication, bird behavior, and the profession of ornithology, among other topics. The Microscope Adventure! unit covers how to buy a microscope, history, lab equipment, and information about how to study plants, animal cells, microbes, and other ooey-gooey substances under the microscope. The material is very well laid out and easy to follow. They would be great for a beginning homeschool family with young children, or for a more in-depth study for older kids. They could also easily be adapted for overachieving kids or kids with special learning needs. My little scientists can't wait to get started on these excellent unit studies! If you use unit studies, also check out other books by Kym Wright: Spiders, Goat Unit Study, Sheep Unit, Poultry, Photography, Flower Arranging and Wreaths, Victorian Sewing and Quilting, and Botany (revised).

-- Product Review by: By Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another alWright Publishing review!

Easy, practical, and fun! That describes these wonderful unit studies written by Kym Wright. Kym, mother of eight children, has a Bachelor of Science degree. She and her husband Mark run alWright Publishing. The units are inexpensive, very thorough, and use books that can be found at your local library. The lesson pages are set in a checklist style; skills and activities can be checked off as completed. This makes record keeping easy for each unit. Available units are: Arachnids, Birds, Botany, Flower Arranging and Wreaths, Goats, Microscope Adventure, Photography, Poultry, Sheep, Spiders, and Victorian Sewing and Quilting. These units are a great way to cure your unit study fears! Ones that I reviewed are below.

Microscope Adventure - fourth grade through high school. It starts with suggestions for buying a microscope and slides. It includes 35 labs, vocabulary list, answer sheet, suggested websites, lesson plans, and book suggestions. With minimal writing required, this unit, like all of Kym's units, is great for hands-on kids! Topics covered include: people to study, parts of a microscope, fibers, film and dust, crystals and bubbles, stains and dyes, cells and plant cells, insects, and more. Lessons can be done independently or in a group. Each lesson with lab can be done in one day or spread out using as much time as needed. This unit is so easy, especially for science-challenged moms like me!

Birds - topics include: flight, migration, projects, identification, bird detection, groupings, anatomy, and much more. Instructions are included on how to incubate eggs, draw birds, and set up a bird feeder and house. Experiments, literature ideas, vocabulary words, and more make this a well-rounded unit on birds. It is written in Kym's wonderful, easy style that is great for one or a group. It's everything you ever wanted to know about birds!

Botany - this is one thick unit study at over 174 pages. Written for upper elementary through high school, this unit could easily become a yearlong study for your high schooler. Forty-four labs are included, written in the same check-off style as the microscope unit. It's perfect for the child that enjoys a more hands on, less writing method. Although microscope work is not required in this unit, it is recommended, so consider going through the Microscope Adventures unit first. All types and parts of plants are covered, including roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fungus, algae, reproduction, grasses, and trees. Also includes flash cards, answer key, and much more. This unit is perfect for the plant lover in your family!

Photography - I was intrigued by this unit. My children love to take pictures, but sometimes the resulting photo leaves much to be desired! So how can you teach them to be better photographers? This unit is the answer! No special camera is required; even a disposable one will do. Starts with parts of the camera, lenses, film, lighting, point of view and angles, photographing people, landscapes, and more. Other items are using your skills for a hobby or career, clubs, organizations, and contests. A book list and vocabulary words are also included. This unit is picture perfect!

Flower Arranging and Wreaths - if you love flowers, this unit will show you how to take any type of flowers (fresh, dried, or silk) and turn them into a beautiful creation! You could even use the information in this unit to turn your love of flowers into a business. Sections include flowers and fillers, tools, bases, finishings, containers, shape, floral design, bows, loops and streamers, wreath techniques, drying, and storage and care. Also included are field trips, websites, book list, color families, and more. I love Kym's style of writing units. She provides the framework, techniques, and instruction; you provide the enthusiasm!

Turtles! - Well, Kym Wright, of Alwright Publishing, has done it again! If your kids are even the least bit curious about turtles, this is the unit study for you! If you want to introduce animal classification in a fun and hands-on way, this is the unit study for you!

Kym sent me the draft copy of her new unit study, Turtles! I was asked to review it for the website and magazine. I also received a copy of her "Funsheets," which are kind of like our commonplace "worksheets," but as Kym says, they are more fun than work, so she named them accordingly!

This is a very thorough unit study on turtles. It starts out by introducing them and then includes the following chapters: taxonomy, reptile vs. amphibian, history of turtles, anatomy of turtles, age and life span, life cycle, diet, habitat, etc. Anything you could ever possibly want to know about turtles is included in this unit study!

It would be a very fun study to do for those of you that school year-round and want a taste of something different for a few months. The funsheets that are available (you must purchase them separately) are divided into a set for younger students (K-4) and a set for older students (5 and up). The sheets include map work and many charts to fill in so even reluctant writers can have something to show for their energy! At the end of the unit, you'll have enough material to put together a very nice report on turtles, and Kym even suggests getting together for an evening and serving turtle soup and turtle eggs (boiled eggs!) while presenting your report. It all comes together very easily, as Kym includes in the main manual her "Konstruction Kit" with lesson plans that are very easy to read and follow.

Like her other unit studies, the lessons are in a checklist style and utilize books from the library and websites. There is an appendix in the back with good suggestions for websites and books. There is even a lesson on dissecting a turtle, although you must purchase the turtle separately from another source!

Kym tells me there will be a CD available for those who want it so they can virtually dissect a turtle on the computer. Much as I hate to admit it, that would be what I would prefer; although my 10-year-old son will have other ideas I'm sure!

This is not just a "fun and games" study; there is serious stuff in here about taxonomy, etc and even the vocabulary words are very complex in nature. This is not a study you can just pass off to your student and have them complete - this is something you will want to dig into alongside them, but - what fun!

You will find it quite easy to challenge older students and scale down for younger students. Overall, this is a very comprehensive unit study that will satisfy any animal or science-loving kid out there! If you've experienced Kym's other units, be assured that this one is of equal quality!

Feel free to check out Turtles! and all of Kym's other unit studies at or through her company at PO Box 81124, Conyers, Georgia, 30013. There are many interesting studies on her website, all written by Kym - all very fun and unique!

-- Product Review by: Holly Cameron, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here's another alWright Publishing review!

Mark and Kym Wright have published Open Arms Magazine for five years, and still carry back issues and anthologies. She also penned The Mommy Primer and Women: Living Life on Purpose. Her 14 unit study titles include: Microscope Adventure!, Botany, Photography, Birds, Flower Arranging and Wreaths, Arachnids, Spiders, Victorian Sewing, Goats, Sheep, and Poultry. Her newest title is the Library Unit, which is available January 6, 2003. Her unit on turtles will be available February 2003, and her Volunteer Unit comes out in March. I hear she's also writing one on snakes.

-- Product Review by: Debra Cogburn, Lead Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine