When I had the opportunity, a few weeks ago, to sign up to review some unit studies that Creation Illustrated has started producing, I thought that sounded very interesting. I have never used unit studies, so this seemed like a good way to try one out. I was given the choice of using the Snow unit study, or the one about Pine Trees. Because we are studying botany for science this year, I thought the Pine Trees study sounded like a good fit. I was sent the Snow study as well; maybe sometime we’ll use it.
I have found this study interesting. We started by reading an article about pine trees from the Fall ’17 issue of Creation Illustrated, which is linked to in the unit study. There was a lot of information about pine trees (I didn’t know that only one species is native to the Southern Hemisphere!), where they live, how they grow, and what they do for mankind, as well as spiritual lessons that can be drawn from them. After that, we watched several YouTube videos that were linked to. One that was especially interesting was about pine trees in Japan, and another that we enjoyed was about the second oldest Bristlecone Pine in the world. Amazingly, it began growing soon after the Flood!
After our introduction to pines through the article and the videos, we started on the study itself. The first written activity was to learn to spell and define a list of vocabulary words. This was too hard for my 6- and 8-year-olds. The 12-year-old would have greatly struggled with the spelling, since he is dyslexic and these are hard words, so we skipped that part. We did work on definitions, though, by matching the words on one page with their meanings on the next page.
A Bible study about pine and fir trees was the next activity. We looked up the references given, and then decided if the verse talked about pine or fir, and what the wood in it was used for. I was glad that the version used was noted, because once we didn’t notice that it said NIV, and we couldn’t figure out what we were supposed to see! Once we did notice that, we skipped the verse. The last activity we had time for was to name the area in which certain pine trees are native, and then locate them on a map. Because we have had to take several days off lately, when I was sick or we were away, we didn’t quite finish the study, but I plan to next week. We’ll be identifying pine trees in photographs and answering a lot of questions about pine trees, and then doing a page of math calculations based on pine trees. I’m not sure yet if we’ll do an essay or an art project about pines; we’ll see when we get there. The last activity is a word search, so that will more than likely happen.
The Intricacies of Snow unit study appears to be very similar. One thing that would be very difficult for us to do is building an igloo, which is an activity that is suggested! There were more fill-in-the-blank questions in this study, it looked like when I flipped through. This study is based on an article in the Winter ’18 issue.
I have learned, by doing this review, that unit studies really aren’t our style. I’m glad to know that—but if they work well for your family, definitely consider trying out some of these! I like the way nature study, Bible study, Language Arts and Math are all tied together here.
Creation Illustrated is a beautiful magazine. The photography is incredible, and inside both the front and back covers of both of the issues I looked at is a two-page full-color photograph of a beautiful scene from nature, with a Scripture verse on it. I enjoyed looking over the articles and reading some of them. Each article uses some facet of Creation or the created world to bring out spiritual truths. I noticed articles on such topics as how kangaroos care for their young (fascinating!), the Grand Canyon, a man living a self-sufficient life in Alaska, and a family caught in a blizzard. Each issue also includes recipe cards for vegan dishes, a study guide for the issue, and a coloring picture and photo contest. One of the articles focuses on a day of Creation, a different day for each issue that I saw. A unit study is also being written to go along with each issue. If you purchase the unit study, which is especially aimed at 5th-8th graders, you will get a link to a digital edition of the magazine. The unit study is downloadable, so you can use it for multiple students in your family. The unit studies are 30% off here. If you are looking for character-building or nature-study resources in an attractive format, these magazines are great! Subscriptions to the quarterly print magazines are 25% off here, and subscriptions to the digital version will be available soon. Here is a peek at the Spring ’18 issue, which will be available very soon: