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!

Morph-O-Scopes Review by Melissa Williamson

Circus Kit
3624 46th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

My girls get excited about anything art and science related. When the Morph-O-Scopes Circus Kit arrived on our doorstep, the girls couldn’t wait to get their hands on it! This fabulous kit entertained my little ladies (ages 12, 10, and 8) for well over an hour. In addition to being incredibly unique and just downright fun, the combination of art, science, and even some history made this an incredibly versatile addition to many different disciplines.

Everything you need is available in one small package, easy to use as an open-and-go learning activity. Upon opening the box, you will find 32 coloring and activity pages, two child-safe mirror decoders, instructions in three languages (English, Spanish, and French), and a set of crayons. The mirror decoders are super easy to put together and use. All the coloring pages are reproducible for personal or classroom use which is a huge bonus for anyone using the kit with more than one child.

The instructions are on a front and back sheet and only take a few minutes to read through entirely. As a teacher, I appreciate just how much information is packed onto this page. A simplistic explanation of anamorphosis is covered briefly, and the history behind anamorphic art is mentioned. We found this interesting as far as the context of what else was going on in the world. It was also interesting to learn this was first used as a toy, but only for the rich because mirrors were so expensive.

My girls each looked through the pictures to decide which one they wanted to do first. After choosing their pictures, I then showed them how the mirror decoder worked. This is when the fun and curiosity exploded! I first read through the historical information about anamorphic art. This took about 5-7 minutes, and they were very much engaged in coloring their chosen pages as I read. While they continued coloring, they chatted about how this worked, what it would have been like to live when this was first discovered, and whether they would be able to create their own pictures this way.

In addition to the coloring pages, there are other activities including completing partially created pictures, a morphed maze, coloring challenges, slider art, connect the dots, and an opportunity to create your own anamorphic art! There are also helpful teacher hints for discussing predicting, reasoning, and drawing, and having a discussion after completing a project. We also learned all about slant art which is another amazing artistic style!

As I mentioned before, there are numerous disciplines to which this could be attached. If you are studying the human body, this is a great jumping point for discussions on how the eye and brain translate visual information. This could be an incredible addition to an art history unit. If you study history sequentially, this would fit perfectly with the Renaissance and early explorers.

Our entire family was intrigued and entertained with this incredibly unique toy, and I loved just how easy it was to open and use with very little preparation beyond copying the pages we were going to use. My oldest daughter enjoyed trying her hand at creating a new drawing following the included instructions. My younger two happily colored multiple pages with the mirrors standing in the center while doing so. They giggled and admired one another’s work. I highly recommend this distinctive resource to homeschooling families everywhere.

-Product review by Melissa Williamson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2017