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Christmas Unit Study Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright

By Amanda Bennett
AABennett Books, Inc.
RR 1 Box 457A
Dunlap, Tennessee 37327

If you like unit studies, you're going to love Amanda Bennett's unit studies covering a wide range of topics, including several holidays, trains, gardens, lighthouses, heroes of inventions, and more. If you've never tried unit studies, this might be a great way to branch out and study a topic of interest to you and your kids. The great thing about Amanda Bennett's unit studies is that everything you need to learn about the topic across several subject areas is included and ready to use, in an organized, easy-to-follow format. She did the work, and we get to enjoy the rewards!

I reviewed the Christmas Unit Study ($14.95), which comes on a CD in Adobe Acrobat Reader file format, covering over 100 pages of material. Beautiful artwork and Scripture verses are scattered throughout to make the study interesting and focused. There is a great list of recommended reading that can supplement your study. The many Internet sites are hyperlinked, making it very easy to do more extensive research on the topics. The unit study wisely uses the Bible as the primary source and Internet sites and other books as secondary sources, saving you trips to the library or bookstore. The study starts with some introductory information about how to use the course, how to use search engines on the Internet for further research, and some great family project ideas. It is then broken down into days, covering a four-week study, for both upper and lower grade assignments. This makes it easy to use the study for a range of children covering the same information but focused for the appropriate level of each child.

While already a big fan of unit studies, I liked the approach of Amanda Bennett's Christmas Unit Study. It is wonderful to have everything I need already researched and organized, and the breadth of information was very good, covering spelling and vocabulary, geography, history, language arts, social studies, and arts and crafts. There is enough room to use the study exactly as it is presented, or to easily adapt it to your unique preferences and needs. There are some excellent website links so that your kids can easily do the research they need from sources that can be trusted, although the author wisely includes a caution to visit the sites first just to be sure nothing has changed! The culmination of the study is the Christmas Journal, which will contain all of the projects, spelling and vocabulary words, maps, etc., from the unit, thus tying it all together.

I do have one complaint - it would be nearly impossible to do everything in this study and still have your sanity! Of course, that is not the intent, and you are totally free to pick and choose the ideas and projects that are of most interest to you and your children. If you want a textbook or workbook curriculum, this unit study is not for you! But if you want to open up the world for your children in a fun, interesting, educational manner, then I would recommend the Christmas Unit Study.

-- Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2005