Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Countdown to Summer

Recently we were given the privilege to receive and review a new book from home of Golden Prairie Press! In the past we have used and reviewed several of Amy's books, including several others in the "Countdown" series. 

This new book is called "Summer Countdown" and covers five special days in Summer: Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Flag Day, and Independence Day.

What is Summer Countdown?  This is a 151 page ebook that has fun family activities and historic stories for the five major holidays at the start of summer. Each of the first four holidays have three days of stories and activities leading up to them, and Independence Day actually has two weeks worth of stories and activities, and could be used as a nice summer unit study on American History and civics.                                                                                                                                                                                 Why use Summer Countdown?  Often we celebrate holidays as families simply because it's tradition or an excuse to have a nice dinner, but we sometimes fail to take the time to really reflect on what these special days mean to our heritage. This book is designed to help families teach their children the background behind these special days, and build some special memories around the celebration. Each day's activity and story should take about 30-45 minutes to complete. Each story has been carefully chosen to teach and inspire good character and values.

How we used this book: We read through most of the stories, and completed several of the activities during our review time. I plan on taking the time to use the stories again in our home, just as they were intended - in the days leading up to the special holidays this summer. My children are very intrigued with the stories, and I have really enjoyed learning the history of the holidays. 

Mother's Day/Father's Day: We enjoyed reading the history of how these days came to be national holidays through the sincere efforts of some very special people. We also about special mothers and fathers, and completed some fun games matching up famous mothers and fathers with their sayings and adventures. Both of these holidays include a special card to print that the children can color, with simple instructions for them to make into a card. I have included a picture of the cards they made.

Memorial Day: There are wonderful, patriotic stories and photos in the Memorial Day setting. Reading through this section instills a reverent respect for those who gave their life in the service of our country, and it was inspiring to hear once again how this Day of Remembrance was started. 

Flag Day has some very fun stories and activities, including a paper folding activity to make symmetrical five pointed stars, just like Betsy Ross! I think the activities of this section were probably the favorite of all the holidays for my children. 

Felt Flag Project (photo taken from the book)

Fun making five point stars -

Independence Day:  I really can't say enough about this section of the book. Independence Day has the longest Countdown...two weeks worth of stories and activities. There are biographical sketches of great Americans as well as obscure facts about the events surrounding our Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War. This section of the book itself could stand alone as a fascinating unit study about the War for Independence. I truly believe children will be inspired towards greater patriotism and character after working through these two weeks of lessons. 

Last thoughts: Typically summer is a slower time for schoolwork for us. We follow a traditional school schedule, and leave summers for lighter study or pursuing interests that we don't have enough time for during the main school year. I am so happy to have this book to use to enhance our summer. The material gives enough for the student to learn new things, but the approach is so subtle that the emphasis ends up being on developing fun family time while learning. There is even an opportunity to complete a child-friendly recipe! 

Disclaimer: I received a free 'Summer Countdown' ebook in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own, or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations. 

{This post contains affiliate links. Because I believe in this company and enjoy it's materials, I have signed on to be an affiliate. I may receive a small compensation from any future purchases made by entering the Golden Prairie Press website through my affiliate links}

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!