Life with autistic children is often very difficult. Not only are there tremendous challenges with behavior and other things, but there are also challenges in trying to schedule life around them. At least two days a week at our home is filled with taking one or both or our autistic blessings to some sort of therapy or doctors appointment. Another day is filled with a homeschool Bible study that my wife takes the boys to. That leaves very little time for the regular academic studies that they need. I know, I know, there are plenty of websites and curriculum that are very adaptable - in fact sometimes made - to be used on the road or in waiting rooms. Having special needs children sometimes makes using those types of studies difficult. Often they aren't made to be used with our types of unique students. Sometimes you find that they aren't adaptable the way that you would like them to be adaptable. Frequently they aren't a good fit for your child at all. And, what parent in that situation has the time to wade through dozens and dozens of curriculum to find just the right one anyway. After all being extremely busy is the problem to begin with!
Well, the Tinkel family has been tremendously blessed by being on The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. Many, many times we have gotten items to review that have been just what we have needed. Items that I would never have begun to consider for our homeschool. Some I had never ever heard of. Some I had heard of but had some type of misconception or misinformation and thought that that curriculum just wouldn't work for us. Some I incorrectly thought was just not worth the price. Whatever the reason, God sent that particular thing to us in a time that we really needed it.
Recently was, again, one of those times. We were blessed to receive Box of I.D.E.A.s': World War Two based on Pearl Harbor. Box of I.D.E.A.s are...well...just what they say. They're a box of ideas centered around a specific theme. These "ideas" are different though because the "I.D.E.A.s" in Box of I.D.E.A.s stands for "Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities". Each box comes with at least 10 ready made modules that take little to no preparation. All you do is grab one to use at home or to stick in the car for use in the waiting room. They can even be used in the car if you have an older child who can handle the reading. Our whole family loves them. There is something for every one of our boys - and our boys are pretty much spread apart.
Let me give you an example of the first module that we did from our download of Pearl Harbor (Box of I.D.E.A.s can be either ordered as a physical box with everything ready to go, or you can purchase a PDF download where you print out each module but then some preparation is involved). Module One is titled "Before Becoming A Base" and talks about the Islands of Hawaii and what they were like before World War II and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. How did Pearl Harbor get its name? What were the islands like before they became a major tourist destination? Those are some things that we discussed during this module.
Like all of the modules we began by reading a short but interesting essay of pre-war Hawaii and especially of the pearl industry which was one of the prominent industries of the time. After that, we had choices. Each module has what is called a "Portfolio Piece". A Portfolio Piece is an activity that you can put in a notebook or portfolio that records your journey through the themed Box of I.D.E.A's that you are working on. Joshua and I worked on the very neat portfolio piece where we observed and measured different types of pearls. Each module also has extension activities, well researched website choices, and another activity (often a game) that further studies the theme of the module. Although the age recommendations for Box of I.D.E.A.s are for ages 9-16, the game of "Go Hunt" that was included in module one is right down his alley. It is similar to "Go Fish" but the cards that you are trying to gather talk about animals that are on the endangered list, why they are on that list and where those animals are found. John Allen, on the other hand, finds that the internet is where he likes to get his information. That is why I am very pleased that the website ideas included are well researched to make sure they are family friendly and also factual and interesting. All of my kids benefit from the extension activities. The ones for this module included researching extinct animal species, checking out photos of different types of pearls (Joshua enjoyed that one) and asking family members if they had a string of pearls or some other pearl jewelry that we could look at and study.
As I mentioned before, each module in a Box of I.D.E.A.s is very interesting and informative and, after you finish all of the modules, you will have a thorough knowledge of that theme. Our modules ranged from what Pearl Harbor was like before it became a navel base to how it became a navel base to the time leading up to the attack to the days, weeks, months and years after the attack. Most of the time everything (directions, materials, etc) is included in the module, but occasionally there might be something small that is also needed. When that occurs, it is prominently mentioned on the front of that module so that no one will be disappointed once we get to the doctor's office. Of course, the modules in Box of I.D.E.As don't have to be used on the go. They can be used at home as well. Although there are websites mentioned that can be used for further study, the whole purpose of Box of I.D.E.A.s is "to get kids off the computer and around the table".
You can check out Box of I.D.E.A's ever growing list of themes by clicking here or on any one of the links above. We love them and are looking forward to perhaps trying out more. Like maybe the one that is totally devoted to salt? Or maybe the one that has to do with...laundry? Yep, laundry! Or...oooo...maybe the new one that they are developing on WWII Innovations. Oh, I can't decide! But at the price of just $79 for the physical box, $49 for the download pdf version, and $4 for extra student modules, we can dream and buy for years to come!
Other members of the TOS Review Crew received different modules to try out and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Homeschooling!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a free download of Box of I.D.E.A.s : World War Two in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.