Sunday, April 11, 2010

TOS Review: When I grow up, I want to be … A Firefighter

I was given the opportunity to review a homeschool product from The Old Schoolhouse ®. I was provided with a free copy of this e-book for review purposes.

When I grow up, I want to be … A Firefighter, is an 82 page e-book from The Old Schoolhouse® priced at US$8.95. It is packed with information on what is involved in being a firefighter.

Although the vendor suggests this study is for ages 4-10, I am sure that this can be used for older students too.

This e-book includes the history of firefighting, firefighter training, equipment used, salaries in different states in America, a great vocabulary list, footnotes on many pages explaining words and concepts, a section written by a firefighter who shared about personal experience, a section on building codes, how to build a model robotic arm, math problems, fun activities, copy work pages (both in print and cursive), colour-in pages, a word search and the ‘stop, drop and roll’ message in American Sign Language.

The last two pages include a list of books and websites for further study.

My first thought about this product was: “this is HUGE!”. At first glance I did not know how I was going to tackle this, until I went through the entire document slowly.

It does not provide a suggested ‘schedule’ as to how to divide the work up. This on one hand leaves it open to flexibility, but on the other hand might be a bit overwhelming to some. My initial thoughts might have been due to the fact that most of the e-books I’ve used before had more of a “Day 1, Day 2 etc” layout.

Once I scanned all the content I developed a bit of a plan and it became very exciting!

I like that the content speaks ‘to’ the child, feeling more like a dialogue than reading a textbook. “Have you ever…” and “As we’ve discussed before…” etc.

It provides the parent with great ideas, such as visiting a restaurant and looking for specific things such as the exit signs by the door etc, having fire drills, directions for a fire engine cake and others.

The kids became excited about this study and looked forward to reading their portion of the text and then engaging in the activities. My daughter decided to draw most of the equipment we learned about and my son quickly joined in on that. We also have a fire escape plan at home that we went through again and even went to our nearest fire station. The kids still enjoy looking for the markings on the road pointing to the fire hydrants on the sidewalk.

We live in New Zealand and as the content of this study relates to Firefighters in America I had to do a bit of research and look up the history, salaries, firefighter training in NZ etc. and make sure that the kids know NOT to dial 911, but 111 in an emergency : ). NZ Sign is also slightly different from American Sign Language.

This however did not put me off the study, but gave us opportunity to discuss how things vary in different countries.

I would definitely revisit this study later as there is such a wealth of information contained in it.

This study is part of the WannaBe series that looks at many different careers. A very worthwhile product!

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