February 28, 2017

By the Way Book Series Review: Florida's Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!

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As part of our preschool at home activities we've been venturing into a little bit of geography. The neat thing about geography is that it's quite the interdisciplinary subject. Sometimes you think of geography and immediately correlate it with just maps and globes, but the study really does branch out into a variety of different elements such as climate, culture, and even zoology. Recently my son and I were sent an amazing resource called Florida's Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come! This is a handy guide and storybook from the By the Way Book Series, and has been helping us with our Florida unit study.

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}


When it comes to any type of lesson, I try to keep things very age-appropriate for my son since he is still quite young. For geography, we start off with a location and expand our studies by engaging in a series of activities to complement our lesson. He absolutely loves perusing through maps and atlases, and the By the Way Book Series provides the perfect opportunity to share a wealth of knowledge about different locations. There are many ways to take the information included and turn it into actual lessons.

Theses offers a well-rounded learning opportunity for children by combining a story and educational book into one. Every book in the series follows around a brother and sister, Alex and Lexi, as they travel and learn about the different areas they visit.
Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}

One of the things that really sets the By the Way Series apart from other children's fact books is that each one is completely Christian-based. Creator, Joy Budensiek, made it her goal to design a set of books that push for further discussion about God between parents and children. As you read the books in this series, you'll find references to the Lord and His creation, as well as scripture verses.





Currently there are six books available in the series:

  • Florida's Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!
  • Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!
  • Pennsylvania ~ Here We Come!
  • Ohio ~ Here We Come!
  • Washington ~ Here We Come!
  • Colorado ~ By the Way

Each book is a hardcover with large full-color pages. While there are a few cartoon drawings of the main characters of the story, the bulk of the illustrations throughout contain gorgeous high-resolution photographs displaying all of God's beauty in the places that Lexi and Alex visit.

I chose Florida's Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come!, because we have family that lives down there. I thought it would be appropriate for my son to get an idea of what Florida is like by becoming familiar with the place that some of our family members call "home." Florida's Treasure Coast ~ Here We Come! directly hones in on West Palm Beach, however being familiar with Florida in general, I've found that much of the information is more or less pertinent for the rest of the area. This makes it a great starting point for further exploration into the Sunshine State.

  
WARNING: The By the Way Book Series will make you want to go pack your suitcases and take a spur of the moment vacation!




Even as an adult, it was easy to be drawn into the story. I have always been a Northerner, but having lived on a tropical island and in the south before moving back up here, reading this has really made me miss the warmer weather (especially during this time of the year). I had a good chuckle after seeing the opening graphic of the story with little Alex peering out of his window at the snow. Being in Upstate NY, we can relate:


 Yes Alex–we totally know how you feel!



Although this is a children's information book, the possibilities are endless. Since there are so many neat facts included, it's really become a handy resource. Initially, I read the entire book to my son as I would any other storybook. There's a lot of great information included, it almost reminds me of a mini encyclopedia. After reading the book as a regular story, we began a slew of activities and lessons.


This book really helped keep our lessons engaging. For instance, my son has a natural love for animals. If the lesson contains anything to do with animals or nature, he can easily sit for long periods of time soaking up what he learns. Florida is chock full of amazing creatures, there are plenty of pages full of information pertaining to Florida's wildlife, and because it's a coastal state, this also includes marine life, my son's favorite. Florida's Treasure Coast~Here we Come! offers facts on a variety of sea and land animals, like dolphins, panthers, and turtles. Of course, since it's a warmer climate, we can't forget to mention the creepy crawlers like grasshoppers and palmetto bugs (ewww). 



It's not just about animals and creepy critters, though. Children will join Alex and Lexi, as they learn about weather patterns, geology, and even the history of early settlers. After reading about the Spanish Treasure Fleet of 1715 we did a buried treasure activity. The information about Jonathan Dickinson State Park also peaked our interest, so we watched several nature videos on the park, as well as tours of Trapper Nelson's old property and zoo grounds.



We even threw in some math by calculating the distance between West Palm Beach and where we live. Of course, this is a little more advanced math for a preschooler, but my son did have a blast gathering his number manipulatives for our answer.

The beauty of using the By the Way Book Series in our unit studies is that we're not only learning about the geographical area, but we are also reminded of God's hand in it's overall creation and everything connected to it.


How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.–Psalm 104:24

God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good...– Genesis 1:31


By the Way books are actually meant to be volumes, which is pretty neat, because it keeps things consistent. Our book is the first in the series. As Alex and Lexi's Florida trip comes to an end, the story leaves a sort of "to be continued" feel where we find out that they may be going on another trip in the upcoming weeks. In addition to the six books mentioned above, I was excited to see that they'll also be releasing a few more in the near future, including New York City, Idaho, Indiana, and even one for Ireland! I'm also keeping my fingers crossed to hopefully see a release for New York State and even New Jersey one day. Originally, we had NYC and Pennsylvania on our wishlist, but honestly I'm thinking that we'll eventually pick all of them up. We really enjoyed this first one, and it would be fun to continue the story in order. The fact that it's a Christian based book series is also very important to me and falls in line with my own values of sharing Biblical truths with my son.




While I found this series extremely handy for homeschooling, you definitely don't need to be a homeschooler to reap the benefits of what it has to offer. Not only will children enjoy the many stories told on Alex and Lexi's trips, but there's a lot to learn from each of the books, both from a educational standpoint, as well as theologically. Everything is told in a fun way that kids will really enjoy. When you make learning fun, children are more apt to retain the information they receive and that's just what the By the Way Book Series really does.





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Read what the rest of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say: 

Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}

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2 comments:

brendashandmade said...

What a neat book! The pictures are stunning, that's the first thing I noticed. I like that you calculated the distance, even though it's something your son isn't technically ready for yet. You found a way to make it work with the math manipulatives. Things like that will really be a benefit to your son. Great job!

Kelly (Our Everyday Harvest) said...

Thank you, Brenda! He's still quite young, but is so eager to learn and really enjoys it! :-)

These books are wonderful and packed with a lot of great information. I bet your youngest would also enjoy them!

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