Paddington Bear – Product Review

Excellent product for elementary grades both secular and Christian homeschoolers will love this, especially if you love unit studies, are eclectic, interest-led, and exploratory. The Unit goes deep and is literature based so will also be well-loved by both classical homeschoolers and lovers of Charlotte Mason. Phew, it is not so often a product is good for so many different people. If you have kids 5th grade and under, you will be missing out if you don’t keep reading.

Branch Out World
We used Paddington Bear from the Picture Book Explorers literature-based unit study to kick off our homeschool year. The unit is produced by Branch Out World, a British curriculum company.

This picture book unit study is a rich resource for teaching young kids a literature-based unit. Strong on every subject it covers, there is no watered down learning in this study. We complemented the study by adding the original Paddington Bear chapter book as a read-aloud to the study.

Picture Book Explorers - Paddington
The kids I used the study with are ages 7,9, and 10, it was a great fit. The study covers geography, with plenty of different maps included, science, literature, grammar, vocabulary, architecture, social studies, art, narration, and even a bit of math. There are many great printables included in this study and you can easily turn this into a notebooking or lapbooking project if desired. We just collected ours in a folder.

The kids loved the study, and I am impressed with the level of detail they included. Sometimes I feel unit studies leave too much work left over for the parent to do or end up being very surface level. However, Branch Out World has done unit studies they way they are meant to be, which is deep exploratory learning. They have kept it easy for the parent to use with guided lessons, supply lists, and all the information you need to complete the unit included.

We spent two weeks on the unit, and about an hour a day, so about 10 hours total. Although the unit is designed to be used in one week, I was adding it to other subjects so did not want to try to fit it into a week. If you were doing just this unit and spent 2 hours a day you could certainly get through all of it, with the Chapter book included, if you wanted to. But, my personal feeling after completing the unit was that I could easily stretch it out to cover an entire month.

There were so many things that we could have explored more thoroughly with a bit more time. In the future when I have a study from Branch Out World I will plan a trip to the library for books that complement the included subjects. In this case, it would have been books on the UK, London, Peru, Lima, bears, migration, and architecture.

I also would put together a playlist of video’s to watch with the unit. There are some great kids travel videos and of course we could have watched a nature show about bears.

In short, I would plan no less than 10 hours to complete the unit but would suggest you can easily extend it to 20-hour unit. I strongly suggest reading the entire unit through before you begin. I read the introduction and skimmed the rest, which was not enough to realize a few things were included that I ended up finding myself online as we worked, such as a fact sheet on bears and migration in the back of the unit.

I have included some pictures of the work included as samples, but there are many more projects and printables available to in the unit.

My boys will never forget that foam is a liquid interspersed with gas particles after getting to play with shaving cream and make their own foam.

Disclaimer on photo: The curriculum did not tell me to let my kids play in the tub with an entire can of shaving cream, this was a natural extension of the activities.

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