Apr 12, 201210:54 PMAdventures in Homeschooling
Spring Fever? Download N Go!, by Jennifer
Spring is here, and with it comes spring fever! It’s hard to get the kids to concentrate on school work when they would rather be doing just about anything than their regular old stuff. You’re just as ready to wrap things up, but you don’t want to quit just yet. What to do? Try a Download N Go unit!
What is a Download N Go unit? They are unit studies designed by Amanda Bennett on a huge variety of topics. Officially, they are for grades K-4, but I think they could be used by fifth- and even some sixth-graders, too.
What’s so great about a Download N Go unit? Several things! First, they are completely done for you. All you have to do is open up the pdf, print the pages you want, and click the links. There’s no searching for web sites, coming up with your own activities, or searching for printables. There are even book lists if you want to do some extra reading. If you’re having planning burnout, this is a great way to keep your kids learning and having fun while you get a break.
Another great thing about Download N Go units—and from here on, I’m just going to call them DNGs—is that they can be used in a variety of ways. You can print all the pages if you want (though that is a lot of printing!), put it in a notebook, and have your child work from there. This is what we tried with the first DNG we used, and for my son, who was in first grade at the time, this was very overwhelming. If your child is older, though, this may be a great option for some independent work. Marcy shows her son’s China DNG folder which is done in a more traditional way. If you want to change things up, though, that’s okay! Ami has some great examples of ways they have managed the written work and printables for Sunny Seashells, Pizza Party, Chocolate Challenge, and Goofy Gecko. Remember that for this, as with any curriculum, you don’t have to do it all just because it’s there!
DNGs can be used with a wide age range of kids. We recently used the Pizza Party DNG and while my son was the one doing the written work, my daughter enjoyed reading the books along with us and trying out some of the activities. There is so much included in the unit that you could have all of your kids exploring the same topic with very little extra work on your part!
The DNG units are also very comprehensive. You may be wondering how you can spend an entire week learning about pizza. Simply put, you’re not just learning about pizza! You’re learning about Italy and its geography, famous Italian artists and scientists, how cheese is made, how yeast works, what kinds of pizzas are eaten around the world, and many other things. Other than math (though some of the DNGs do have some math worked in!), the Pizza Party unit covered all of the subject areas.
Is there something you’re interested in? There’s probably a DNG unit about it! There are currently 48 different units available on history, sports, animals, seasons, food, and more. There are often special prices available, too, which can make your week of fun more affordable.
What have we tried personally? As I mentioned before, we tried the China unit last year in the traditional way. Though it was interesting, it was hard for us to use. It does require a great deal of reading from different web sites, and though that’s an important skill, my son wasn’t ready for that yet. When we recently used the Pizza Party unit, we both enjoyed it much more. We didn’t complete the entire unit, but we used it as a companion to our Five in A Row book, Little Nino’s Pizzeria. There were enough parts we chose not to use this time that I could probably have him come back to the unit in a couple of years when my daughter is old enough to try some of the activities and have them work on some things together. I have some different history DNGs we will use soon, too!
A fun unit study like a Download N Go unit can be a great way to get you through the rough patches, whether they’re from cabin fever or spring fever. They can be an educational break from any kind of curriculum and they are great for the whole family. I think if you give them a try, you’ll have a great week of learning!