From Head to Toe is for grades 5-9 – and yes, it’ll stretch a bit to grades 4-10 – that’s what we’re doing. It’s chock-full of all sorts of interesting activities, plus quirky little booklets to print and put together called “rubber band books”. It’s clear that this book was designed for the public school market, with these take-home friendly little tools… but they’re a hit in my book. Cute little mini text books.
My recommendations for the rubber band books:
- Don’t hit every store in town trying to find #19 rubber bands. I’m not convinced they even exist. Just guess at the nearest size you can find, and trim if needed.
- Have colored pencils available for coloring. Markers are a bit wide and bleed through; crayons are just plain too wide. Unless they dig the sharpener out… and just believe me. Save yourself the hassle, have the colored pencils at ready, because if your kids are anything like mine, they *will* end up coloring them.
One of my favorite things? The rubber band books – along with any other student pages that would generally need to be photocopied – are available in PDF format on the CD that accompanies the book. This makes printing out pages a piece of cake, and those rubber band books line up perfectly.
The instructions for each of the 39 activities are clear and concise. A materials list is included, but the instructions go even farther than that. Any prep work needed is explicitly listed, along with any other details that might be necessary to check beforehand, such as “make sure the rulers have markings in inches” or “cut plastic straws into 1 1/2 inch lengths”. Absolutely perfect for keeping things organized, and essential if you’re crunched for time.
With the focus on hands-on activities, From Head to Toe could be used alone as a unit study, or as an add-on to more traditional science curriculum. It’s entirely project-based, and kids that enjoy hands-on activities will love using it for science. Parents will love the ease of use – it’s all laid out ahead of time, and intended to be as quick and no-brainer as possible. A win-win situation. All the fun and flexibility of unit studies, none of the confusion.
Questions for later discussion or written work are also included; use these to help reinforce and articulate what the students have learned through the project.
We received a softcover print edition of From Head to Toe; it has approximately 275 black and white reproducible pages. (But as I mentioned, I’m *very* glad that I don’t have to fight with a photocopier – I love being able to print student pages off via PDF – so the included CD is a wonderful thing. Since From Head to Toe may be purchased in either print or PDF versions, the choice is yours – but either way, you’ll have it easy, too, with no-hassle student printables, priced at just $24.95.
Five other titles were reviewed by TOS Crew members:
- Looking at Lines - For grades 6-9, Looking at Lines introduces “algebraic concepts in their natural setting” through 32 activities drawn from real-world situations. A CD with printable student pages is included with the physical book, or it may be purchased in PDF form instead. $24.95
- It’s About Time - Students in grades K-2 will learn do hands-on activities and build a strong conceptual sense of time and its measurement with the 22 activities in It’s About Time. The print edition includes a CD with student pages in PDF format; it’s also available as a PDF to download immediately. $21.95
- Fabulous Fractions - Manipulatives abound in Fabulous Fractions, with 22 activities designed to help grade 3-5 students visually understand the concepts they’re learning. Fabulous Fractions is available in print or PDF form. $24.95
- Earth Rocks! - Students in grades 4-5 will explore soil, rocks, minerals, the water cycle & properties of water throughout the 50 activities in Earth Rocks! Sections on weathering, erosion, renewable & nonrenewable resources, and pollution are also included. Available in print or PDF. $29.95
- What on Earth? - An introduction for grades K-1 to the natural sciences, What on Earth? has 30 activities on natural resources, rocks and soil, water, changes in the earth’s surface due to natural events, day and night, and the seasons. Available in PDF or print form – the physical copy includes a CD with printable student pages. $21.95
To see what other crew members had to say, check out the TOS Homeschool Crew blog post, AIMS Education Foundation.
**Disclaimer – I received this product for free as a member of the 2011-12 The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew so that I could provide you with an honest review of it by our family.**