Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
“Magical Mouse Schoolhouse: Learn While You Play at Walt Disney World.” Hardly seems believable, right – learning from the one of the largest vacation resorts in the world? Jodi Whisenhunt, NDM 385 & Disney Driven Life contributor, is the author of this book that proves it is TOTALLY possible to learn while you play, both in the parks and at home!
This seven section, 80 chapter learning guide covers different aspects of all Walt Disney theme parks, water parks included! Each section focuses on a specific park, with multiple chapters devoted to various attractions around the park. The chapters break down to a brief background of the attraction, ending with “Today’s Takeaway,” a project based on the attraction and what was presented.
Now, as a home school mom, this book is a wonderful addition to our curriculum. After all, we are a neurotic Disney family, so learning via Disney is only natural. I would, however, warn you to use this book with a degree of caution. NDK is only 7, and still believes in a lot of the magic that takes place in the parks. While we strongly reinforce the idea of “magic and pixie dust power” when it comes to the attractions, we let her direct the amount of knowledge she wants to know in regards to how things work in the parks. This book does contain facts about the parks. For example, chapter 7 is about the Utilidors. There is much history and many secrets about the Utilidors that you may not want to share with your young NDK just yet. That being said, this book would benefit an entire family, not just a young NDK. If your NDK is a young believer, this book still has many, many chapters and projects that are age appropriate. Some projects are also able to be adjusted, at your discretion, to your NDK’s unique learning style and level. The takeaways are great ideas to use on a rainy day or on the occasion you need your daily dose of Disney.
In addition to this marvelous resource, Jodi also runs her own website, Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, featuring all sorts of wonderful Central Florida attraction news. This website also offers a FREE unique, supplemental education program called Earn Your E.A.R.S. From the site:
For those unfamiliar with the program, the Enriching Academic Reward Series, or E.A.R.S., is an achievement program designed to encourage kids to continually reach for academic success.
As a homeschooler, I emphasize learning. I do not stress getting good grades, and so my children do not always appreciate the value of a high score. I would rather see them grasp concepts than celebrate or despair over rankings. E.A.R.S. is a way to stimulate students to do their best. It motivates them to complete their assignments and gives them the desire to do more. E.A.R.S. is not a standalone curriculum; it enhances students’ current course loads and rewards their diligent efforts. Earn Your E.A.R.S. is open to all skill levels.
We participated in the Earn Your E.A.R.S. program last year, and NDK *loved* it. Affectionately calling it her “Disney work”, this once a month project was definitely something she looked forward to. Whether we learned about dinosaurs or the way machines worked, it was an easy way to keep Disney in our school life. This program is for anyone, not just homeschoolers. And did I mention it’s free? The best part of this program is you hold the ability to control the level of learning that is involved. If you have a little one or maybe an overly busy month, you can touch on the basics of the assignment. If you have an older NDK or maybe the topic is something your NDK is very interested in, you can explore it in depth as much as you want. All that is required in the end is you submit a photo of the completed project by the end of the month. Featured are a few of our completed projects from last year:
We are very happy to be participating in the Earn Your E.A.R.S. program again this year and implementing with “Magical Mouse Schoolhouse: Learn While You Play At Walt Disney World.” Have you used this book? Share your favorite Today’s Takeaway with us, as we are just getting started!