The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Science Songs / We Love Math / Health and the Human Body / 6 Traits Writing Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright

Jennifer Fixman
2067 Rurline Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63146

Jennifer Fixman, creator of Edutunes, is a teacher in Waialua, Hawaii. Her passion for teaching is evident in the four products I reviewed ($19.99 each): Science Songs, We Love Math, Health and the Human Body, and 6 Traits Writing. These four workbook/CD sets combine fun worksheets, engaging songs, and teacher helps to present the different topics. They are all geared toward early elementary school students. The workbooks and CDs are designed to supplement learning by using children's natural love of music. Research has consistently shown what most parents observe every day--children learn quickly and efficiently through music, and they enjoy the learning!

Each workbook contains all of the lyrics to the songs which can be copied and colored, followed by a wonderful variety of activities for kids to complete, such as crossword puzzles, matching, simple writing assignments, and hands-on activities. As kids listen to the audio CDs, they learn the material in a fun, charming manner and are hopefully then able to apply what they have learned through the workbook pages and classroom activities. The Edutunes website contains samples of many of the songs and some very good information about how each workbook is aligned to state standards for education. There is also information about research supporting the use of music in education and some of the approaches, such as teaching phonics. The Science Songs CD contains karaoke versions of the songs at the end so that children can sing along on their own.

Using music for learning makes sense because children usually love music and learn easily just by listening to songs over and over. The combination of the music, the workbook, and other classroom activities results in a multisensory approach that increases learning and retention. My children enjoy listening to the music in the car or at bedtime, and I enjoy that they are learning as they listen. The songs are peppy and fun, although parents may need earplugs after the tenth or twentieth time through, as is true with most music written for small children. Remember that these songs are intended as teaching tools, not necessarily as professional musical productions.

The workbook pages have interesting pictures the children can color, and parents can make as many copies as needed, which makes the books more economical. They were not written specifically for homeschool families or from a Christian perspective, but I think most parents will find little to be concerned about other than some references to dinosaurs roaming the earth "millions of years ago." (There is no specific reference to the animals evolving.) There is also a fair amount of emphasis on environmental issues in the science book.

A helpful addition for homeschooling families would be to add .pdf files of the workbook pages and lyrics to the CDs. This would make copying these pages easier for families who do not have a copy machine at home. I think most homeschooling families would find these workbook sets to be a helpful tool in teaching their kids a wide variety of topics. How can you beat an educational tool that can be used at home, in the car, or anywhere, and that kids enjoy using?

Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2007