Branch Out World is a company that we were gifted a study from several years ago. So when the chance to review their Paddington Bear – a literature based unit study in their Picture Book Explorers series – came available, I was very happy to volunteer.
Miss J may be in 4th grade now but we never out grow picture books, especially of beloved characters such as Paddington Bear. When we can connect that book to learning across several disciplines, it becomes an even more treasured experience. Branch Out World makes this possible through the studies they create.
Branch Out World is a company that is run by a home educating family. Their studies grew out of their own experiences in teaching and their love of books. Each of their literature based studies has a connection to the UK – author, setting or illustrator – as that is where the company is based. It is fun seeing those connections. They offer the Picture Book Explorer series but they have additional products in their online catalog. From the literature studies to lapbooks, they have much to offer.
About Paddington Bear
We received a PDF download of the Paddington study and got a copy of the book from the library. I thought we had the book but when it came time to pull it off the shelf, we had a different one. The one from the library worked just fine.
The study is written to cover all subjects in five days. Each day, were you to do all of the activities, would take a couple of hours. The study covers the following topics:
- Exploring the Setting – London, Peru, maps, flags and more
- Exploring the Words – author, vocabulary, some grammar work, and more
- Exploring the Pictures – illustrator, design, architecture, and more
- Exploring Science – bears, steam, foam, and more
- Exploring Math, Crafts, & More – activities, recipes, numbers, lines, and more
There are multiple activities in each of the sections and it is very easy to pick and choose what works for your learners. This study makes it easy to work with multiple levels of learners, as well. Adaptations occur easily.
For instance, we were working through the part on immigration, doing the work and talking about what one might take with them. Miss J took a look at me and asked if we could make a suitcase for Paddington and keep all the pieces in it instead of making a traditional lapbook with folders. Worked for me so we detoured (or rabbit trailed) and created a bright red suitcase, just like Paddington carried with him to London. Some of our papers had to fold to go into the suitcase but it is now a nice compact record of this study, keeping all of the papers and booklets in one place.
After that detour, we popped right back into what we had just finished talking about and continued on.
Each day, we did several activities but we never completed an entire day’s work in a single day. We were doing other things and this was a large chunk of time. However, if this was the entirety or majority of the school work we were doing, I would have completed a full set of activities. Again, though, there is no need to complete every single activity, nor will ever single activity fit every child. So pick and choose and make it fit your learner’s needs.
What I Think
I really enjoy this series of literature studies. As I mentioned before, we have done the study on I Took The Moon For A Walk. It was a fun read and study and I was very pleased with it. These are great for learners from very early elementary up through middle school, though you might need to add some difficulty or research to it for the upper end of that. It would be easy though – the middle school student could do the research for steam, for example, and then make a presentation to younger learners.
Paddington Bear was a fun study and we were able to make so many connections – immigrants and stories we had read, London and maps we had done before, bears and comparing with Smokey Bear, and lots more.
It is easy to forget how adaptable these types of units are but I was reminded again how much I enjoy doing them.
Other families with learners of different ages also reviewed Paddington Bear. Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about their experiences.