We homeschool on a budget. I try to keep my homeschool spending below $350 a year for all 3 of my students. For product I am going to tell you about, I would gladly spend $8.95 out of my budget.
Last month I was given the opportunity to try out one of the “Wanna-be” Series of E-books that are published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It is a 10 book series on different jobs that kids often say they want to be when they grow up. The titles available include : Veterinarian, Police Officer, Artist, Pilot, Chef, Doctor, Missionary, and in the Military. The E-book I received was “I Wanna be a Firefighter”. I was excited to start on it, because I thought my son might enjoy learning about what a firefighter does. The E-book was easy to download. It opened right up in my Adobe Reader. They are created to be used by a wide age range, 4-10 years old, my son is 7 and falls neatly into the middle of that range.
I realize that part of the reason we have created E-books, is to save on paper, BUT…………… I printed out the entire 78 pages before we started, ( what can I say…..I am a hands- on kind of girl ) , and stuck it in a plain file folder to keep it together. I was amazed by how much “stuff” was in it! Over half the book is devoted to reinforcing activities and materials…. they even give you answer keys! There was copy work, both for manuscript and cursive writers, coloring pages for younger children, a word search, math, a test on the material that was to be read, bible verses, vocabulary words, activities and party ideas….. It is entirely self contained, you don’t need to purchase anything else, or look anything up…. just print what you want, and GO!
We used the book for one on one instruction for my elementary school aged son, but I could envision how easily the book could be adapted for use in a Co-op setting, or for those with a large family. The many activities that are listed, to help reinforce the character qualities that are required for a firefighter would work best with multiple children. My older children ( high schoolers) were not so excited about participation, but if they were put in charge of younger children, and had to teach and supervise the activities, I believe they would have enjoyed it much more. My 7 year old, however, enjoyed the activities immensely. His favorite was the bucket brigade. I also think that the party ideas would be enjoyed more, if done in a co-op setting.
We began the study while we were traveling in a car to visit some relatives. My sister was driving, and the rest of the car was captive. As I read, I was impressed by how thorough the material was. It was more in-depth than I expected for a K-4 material. Everyone in the car, my high schoolers, my son, and even my 31 year old sister, were engaged and interested in the material. Each subsequent day we would read another section from the reading material and do one or more of the reinforcing work pages that were included. It would take about an hour during our normal school time. Twenty to thirty minutes to read the material, thirty minutes more to do the pages, and discuss what we had learned. It tooks us a week and a half to complete the entire book.
There was only one section in the book that seemed to be a bit “rough” in how it tied into firefighters and what they do. That section was Science. It was on robots. While there was an attempt to correlate: one robot was fireproof and was there to detect forest fires, another was one that could extinguish fires in chemical plants, this information amounted to only 2 paragraphs tying robots to firefighters in the 9 pages of the science section. Every time a robot and a fire were mentioned together, I would have a mental picture of a poor melted pile of microchips that gave it’s dying whir to help a fireman. I would have enjoyed learning more about the science of fires. For example: how does oxygen feed a fire?, what benefits or harm do forest fires have on our environment?, what types of plants need fire to reproduce?, how do investigators tell where a fire started and what started it?, these are the things I think of when I think “fire science”. Don’t get me wrong…. my son enjoyed learning about robots and building the robot arm, this section just seemed disconnected from the overall theme of the book.
We really enjoyed this E-book. My son makes sure we either drive or walk by any fire truck that is parked at the grocery store. We go over all the gauges, hoses, ladders, and he tells me who sits where in the cab. He originally didn’t want to start the material because he thought that if he read about what a firefighter does, he would be automatically committed to becoming a firefighter. After explaining that we were just going to learn more, not make a life long commitment to it, he relaxed and enjoyed all the new information. The material is easy to reinforce since we see firefighters living, driving and working in our community. I am pretty sure that it won’t be too long before he tries to talk me into chasing down a fire truck to see how it hooks into a fire hydrant and pumps the water to the fire.
I would recommend this book, not just to those within the homeschooling ranks, but to everyone! Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles could use it when younger relatives come to visit. It would be easy to take on vacation and incorporate field trips into. Those who school outside the home, could use it as a supplement during holiday breaks or summer vacation. It would make a GREAT birthday gift.
So, ask your child what they think they may “Wanna-be”, get one of these great E-books, and explore together more about what happens in their “dream” job.