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Tuesday, June 3

Wonderful World (Sam Cooke)

  Part II of III
Sometimes, I'm able to sit in the backseat and read to the boys while we're on the road.  Other times, we take advantage of the portable DVD player that my aunt just knew they needed one Christmas (a multitude of thanks to you, Auntie K.!).  Though we pick and choose what we're going to read and watch based on our current location, our units are very literature-based.   

The Magic Tree House series has a book for almost any topic you dream up, and Mary Pope Osborne is still writing!  Each of the books has an accompanying research guide, and there are free teacher guides and art activities are online.

"We Were There books are easy to read and provide exciting, entertaining stories, based upon true historic events. Though written simply enough for young readers, they make interesting reading for boys and girls well into their teens." (description from Wikipedia)  I read these aloud to the kids, and they adore them!  There is a WWT book for almost every facet of American history up to the 1960's.

Both Carmen Sandiego and Little Passports help to reinforce world geography lessons.  Carmen Sandiego is the detective who fights crime around the world in thirty-minute segments.  Little Passports covers either US or World geography (depending on your package), and includes activities, stickers, a toy / art project, and a letter each month from a different state / country.  (For example, the United Kingdom kit came with a double-decker bus to build.)  We used the world geography kits, and they are very disappointed that we have finished. 

 Science is a subject that never ceases to excite both boys.  If I can't get them interested in a topic, I'll tie it into science somehow.  Some of their science DVD sets include Mr. Wizard (the old tv shows), Wild Kratts , and the Magic School Bus series.  They know more about science basics that either my husband or I did at their ages, solely from watching these shows. 

The Magic School Bus set is comprehensive, with books, movies, science kits, and a free curriculum that pulls everything together.  I like that the books are written on a few different levels, so that kids can start reading them in first grade, yet still be challenged by the same characters in fifth grade. 

The Young Scientists Club (monthly science kits) and the Science Labs (four school-bus options with 25-30 experiments in each) are great hands-on learning experiences.  They are well-made kits with reusable pieces, and a good investment if you have multiple children that will be replicating the experiments.

My husband once joked that he didn't marry the kind of girl that spends $100 / week on shoes.....he married the one that spent $100 / week on books.  He's not even close.  I shop a variety of thrift stores and garage sales, though I suppose he'd be right if I paid retail for our books.  (Thrift stores were made to be's like a fun scavenger hunt!)
And lest I forget...we listen to many Jim Weiss audiobooks while cruising the interstate!  Great Hall Productions has an entire line based on classic books.  Many are available at our local library.
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