Friday, October 5, 2012

Schoolhouse Review: Box of I.D.E.A.S. -- Pearl Harbor


My Boy Scout has a fascination with all things war so part of our mini vacation this summer was to the World War II Museum in New Orleans.  My grandfather (the Boy Scout's great-grandfather and namesake) fought in Europe as part of the 42nd Rainbow Division and helped to liberate Dachau.  There were not "war stories" from him, though.  He refused to talk about the atrocities that he saw.  Only one time do I even vaguely remember him saying anything about the war -- and I wasn't even there.  He waited until I had left the room and then he talked for hours to my dad and brother.  I think that he reached a point where he just needed to voice what had burdened his heart for so long of a time.

It was neat for us to visit the WWII Museum and see bits and pieces of history come to life.  My girls really tried to rush right through parts of it, but my son wanted to take it all in.  He wanted to sit through each section and listen to the stories of the men and women who lived it.  He is an old soul with a tender spot and needed time to sift through what he was seeing and hearing and settle it in his own heart.

Because he enjoys this part of history (and because I know that we need to focus on the past as we face the future), the World War II Pearl Harbor Box of I.D.E.A.S. was really a good choice for our family.  Full of games, activities, newspaper articles, lessons and truth, Pearl Harbor taught us all quite a few things we didn't know and reinforced some that we do know.  Our first introduction to Box of I.D.E.A.S. was definitely a success.  Designed with students ages 9 - 16 in mind, all of the hands-on activity boxes will help get your children off of the computer (and away from the xbox, too) and around the table working and learning together.

So . . . what exactly IS a Box of Ideas?  First of all, it's a box.  Really and truly -- unless you buy the PDF version, of course.  The box is full of great IDEAS that bring one topic at a time to life.  (The word IDEAS stands for "Ideally Dynamic Enrichment Activities" and that is the perfect description of what you'll find inside your box -- all kinds of hands-on adventure.)  For each topic there are at least 10 individually packaged modules of study.  Each module can stand alone and offers a multitude of learning activities in a unit study format.  AND the best thing about it is that each module is READY TO GO.  YES, you read that correctly.  There is absolutely NO prep work.  You can simply open the zipped up plastic bag, grab a pencil, and go -- all game pieces, playing cards, mapwork and pictures are waiting for you to begin which makes the Box of I.D.E.A.S. the perfect lesson when your homeschool needs to be on the go.  You don't even have to do the modules in any particular order.  (We simply grabbed a plastic bag and headed out to the orthodontist.  WWII Pearl Harbor was ideal for our time in the waiting room.)

For Pearl Harbor, the Boy Scout, the Princess and I decided to study the modules in order so that it would all fit together for us.  We started with a module that gave an in-depth background of life BEFORE Pearl Harbor was an actual base.  I pulled out the notebook pages, read through the information presented, helped the kids answer questions about actual pearls (Did you know that's where it got it's name?), and then played an endangered animal card game.  EVERYTHING was right at my fingertips and it was a neat way to start off.  (The Princess is all about animals so the endangered animal game was a hit with her.)  We worked through the rest of the module packs slowly -- taking time to understand the significance of Pearl Harbor and what it means to us.

My Boy Scout enjoyed the ABC's of the Military.  (I snapped the picture below while he was deeply enraptured in military history facts.)


I told you he was super-military.  These pictures show you just how much he has enjoyed this Box of I.D.E.A.S.  One of the modules is entitled "Day of Infamy" and students are to play a card game placing cards in the correct order.  While that was fun, my Boy Scout had other ideas as well.  He didn't want to miss a thing so he spent time ON HIS OWN placing ALL of the cards in the correct order and reading them over and over.   Now, I don't know about you, but activities that my children CHOOSE to do ON THEIR OWN earn an A+ from me.


There are many ways to use the Box of I.D.E.A.S. and we have explored them all -- and then made up a few of our own.  I love how it can be adapted in all different kinds of ways.  Each module packet has a quote on the cover that can be used for handwriting practice and has information sheets on the inside that can be used to create a really cool notebook keepsake.  You can play the games just like the directions say OR you can make up ways to use them for individual study -- like my Boy Scout did.  There's even a test included in each box if you are so inclined for a review.  The information sheets offer additional websites to visit to learn more about any of the topics discussed.  The Box of I.D.E.A.S. whets your appetite and then shares places to explore even further.

I personally was fascinated by the Day of Infamy Speech included because it gives the rough draft of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous speech and his final copy.  It was neat for us to compare and contrast what he started to say with what he actually said.  We could feel the emotion as we read and decided to search the internet to find an actual audio.  Talk about chills.  My Boy Scout and my Junior are taking a Speech class right now and this fit right in with what they've been learning in class.   It was also fun to include the Junior in this module -- although she wasn't involved in all of the modules.  She certainly didn't mind studying along with us.

The Boy Scout was most appreciative of WWII Pearl Harbor.  We liked the fact that the box took us from before the attack through Victory and then led us to think about and remember even a year after the attack.  For us, this was a way to bring our trip to the WWII Museum, the pictures of our PawPaw in uniform and the patches that we have from his tour of duty full circle.  We look forward to studying more of the WWII titles that Box of I.D.E.A.S. is producing.

 Box of I.D.E.A.S. offers different activity boxes for subject enrichment in either PDF or physical format.  There are currently 6 topics available for purchase (Laundry, Eleven, WWII Pearl Harbor, Salt, Pigs, and Quilting) with quite a few more in the works (Kitchen, Mystery, Olives and Pines -- just to name a few).  All PDF versions are $49.00 and all physical boxes are $79.00.  What a fun way to learn!  Purchase yours today and dive right into a box FULL of fun family activity.


~Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to explore the Pearl Harbor Box of I.D.E.A.S. as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  The opinions stated are mine and mine alone.  I was not paid to share my thoughts and feelings with you.  I received the box in exchange for my honest review. You can check out the Crew Review and see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of both the Salt and Pearl Harbor boxes.~

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1 comment:

  1. We visited that museum last weekend and I learned so much. I think my family would enjoy this box, too.
    "We liked the fact that the box took us from before the attack through Victory and then led us to think and remember even a year after the attack." I assumed from the name it was all about Pearl Harbor and not the entire war. Your review explains what is enclosed and gave me a better picture of this box.


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