Apr 19, 2013

Intellego Unit Studies - Product Review ~~~ Recycled Post

I have decided to recycle some of my reviews in order to help out those that are looking for resources and information for the upcoming "academic year".

Unit studies and downloadable curriculum are all over the place these days, but Intellego Unit Studies are not designed like any other product I have seen around the webisphere! Created by a home educator for home educators these PDF formatted units contain interactive internet links for ease of access. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel this publisher has used what is readily available on-line to create customizable, easily adaptable, engaging guides that have something for every type of learner. Other unit guides that I have seen simply have text that is read to or by the child with some worksheets here and there, but these guides include a plethora of internet links that lead the learner to text, video, games, projects and worksheets. The links that are kept up to date using Intellego's database to ensure that the links are current and working.

Each unit has a standard layout which includes clearly outlined objectives, KWL charts, material lists, content specific info and extension activities. Before you begin you are presented with a clearly outlined list of what your child will be learning about during this unit. This can be a great tool to take to the library with you if you would like supplement with living books or plan field trips. The KWL charts are great tools to help organize and focus learning, before starting each unit the child lists the things they already KNOW about a topic, then move on to what they WANT to know and at the end of the unit they recap the things that they have LEARNED. The units include materials lists in two areas, a master list at the beginning of the unit and then a specific list for each chapter and lesson, which is a great way to ensure you haven't missed anything - nothing is worse than getting an experiment underway only to find out that you don't have everything you need!!! The content specific information in each area is broken down into bite-size sections to clearly cover all areas of a topic with an array of multi-media resources.  The key to any great unit study program is the ability to create continuity in cross-curricular skills and Intellego has done so by including extension activities that help solidify the information the learner has gained by showing how it can be used in the real world.

Of course no product is going to be a perfect fit for every family and there were a few drawbacks to this one, which included some dialogue being presented to the teacher and the inconsistency in the resources. For me having the units written to the teacher rather than to the student is a bit of an issue as I have a child who is a very independent learner. Of the three that I reviewed both of the ones that were for grades 6-8 were written this way KM found it a bit difficult, but not impossible, to follow along and this was more of an issue when she got to an external website that was directed to a teacher rather a student. The Health Unit was written directly to the student, but some of the resources were still written directly to the teacher and expected to be used by a class of students rather than a single learner The variance in resources was also a problem when some of the links had higher expectations of prior knowledge in both the middle grades and high school levels.

Overall I am very impressed with the format of these units. As someone who NEVER used a curriculum the way that is was meant to be used, Intellego has cut down my search time and gather a myriad of sources for me all in one clearly laid out unit. I look forward to using more in the future.

~~~Disclaimer: I was given these materials to review, but was not compensated in any other way for this review. I clearly stated to the publisher prior to downloading items that complimentary receipt did not guarantee a favorable review. 
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