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As I planned for our school year to begin this year, excitement filled my mind as I filled pages and pages of my homeschooling planner with PLANS…my plans. This year was going to be better because our boys were a little older and their mama was a little wiser than the year before.
This year, we would enjoy our days, have more structure (because I could tell we needed more than last year) and my planner reflected all kinds of amazing curriculum choices and lesson plans that we would undoubtedly be able to get through…now that life was settling down after a very trying season.
And then, life didn’t quite settle down.
Can you relate? Have you ever had all your plans laid out and then suddenly, you know they’re just not going to work for whatever reason? You need to pivot. We can’t predict what may or may not happen just around the corner, but we can still have peace-filled days if we’re willing to surrender those plans to the Lord. So, I prayed and asked God to show me what to do. Interestingly, I was led to continue on in our unit studies, but try something new. Because of the current life season we’re in, I needed something that would require minimal effort on my part but have a high impact on my children.
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Have you ever read any of the Magic Tree House series books by Mary Pope Osborn? There are 52 chapter books in all and most, if not all of them can be checked out at your local library. We’ve purchased many of them because they’re that good. Part of what I love about these adventurous books is their titles….Pirates Past Noon, Vacation Under the Volcano, Tonight on the Titanic, Christmas in Camelot, Carnival at Candlelight, and High Time for Heroes. Don’t those just grab you? Each book follows the amazing adventures of siblings, Jack and Annie, who travel through time to different cultures and times in history. This series is a favorite of ours, as we’ve already read the first several books. These books are geared for children between the ages of about 5 to 11 years old.
And then one day, I happened upon the Magic Tree House website for this series which led me to an incredible resource: Free Lesson Plans (I call them unit studies) for each one of the books. I was blown away and as I pored over these lessons. I realized just how well put together they really were.
Each book covers many topics relating to the adventures written about. Here is an example of what subjects you’ll cover as you read and do the unit study for each book.
- Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Science & Technology
- Nature & Conversation
- Animals & Wildlife
- Character Building Lessons
- Visual Arts
- Theatre Arts
And my very favorite part is that all four of my children (ages 3 – 9) LOVE these stories, which means I get to teach all of them TOGETHER. The lessons are laid out well, flow naturally, and really cover a wide array of subjects. And you know how homeschooling goes….there are rabbit trails, always rabbit trails. So, when we’re reading about Jack and Annie going up into space in book #8, Midnight on the Moon, of course we checked out all kinds of other books from the library that led to many conversations about space travel and how God created the universe. In book #33, Carnival by Candlelight, my boys learned all about Venice, we touched on Greek Mythology, studied two famous painters, learned about the significance of Carnival and the importance of many character traits and virtues highlighted within that story.
There are also some non-fiction companions to the Magic Tree House books. They are called Magic Tree House Fact Tracker. Not all of the Magic Tree House books have a companion Magic Tree House Fact Tracker book, though. To look for the Fact Tracker books on Amazon, just type in Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #1, for example, to find out if there’s a Fast Tracker book to go along with the first book in the series. Likewise for book 2, book 3, etc.
I love how beautifully the stage is set and young minds are primed and eager to learn when the content of a story is so well presented.
If you haven’t tried the Magic Tree House series with your elementary level students, you should! They are a fun way to teach all of your children at the same time and have a great time reading and learning together!