Review: Creation Illustrated Unit Studies

We recently moved up to Baguio, which is also known as "The City of Pines." I grew up here in Baguio, surrounded by all these gorgeous pine trees (when I was a kid, we'd even have fresh pine trees as Christmas trees--but now any tree cutting is strictly regulated), yet I have never really bothered finding out more about these trees that have been such a part of my childhood (Although I know that pine needles make sliding down a hill much, much faster; and also, pine needles on a cemented driveway can be very dangerous -- ask me how I know).

Pine trees in one of our city parks

I thought that it would be a good idea for me and the girls to learn more about the pine trees, now that we're here, so I was happy to do a review on the new unit studies that go with the Creation Illustrated magazines. I actually received two unit studies: one on pine trees, and another on snow. We chose to focus on the pine trees study.

Creation Illustrated Unit Study Pine TreesFall 2017, Vol. 24, No. 3

Each unit study is linked to an issue of Creation Illustrated (which is called the 'Christian National Geographic'). The Fall '17 issue, for example, contains the story on pine trees (among several other interesting topics), while the Winter '17 issue covers the unit study on snow. The unit studies, which comprise approximately 16 pages, have topics related to Language Arts (vocabulary and spelling), Creative Writing, Math, Bible, History, and Geography. At the beginning, there are links to various online resources, including Wikipedia entries and YouTube videos related to the topics.

Reading the pine trees story in the digital issue of Creation Illustrated. I couldn't get it to display on my iPad though

Being the cheapskate--I mean the environmentally responsible person -- that I am, I printed out the unit study as a mini booklet for the girls. Raine zeroed in on the word search puzzle, which features the vocabulary learned earlier. Breeze wanted to do the Math page, because we recently studied Fibonacci numbers, and pine cones and pine needles are a fine example of this. She also identified the pine trees in the pictures.

Raine loved the word search (ignore the mess in the background; after three months, we haven't completely unpacked)

The most impressive section for me was the Bible portion. It would never have occurred to me to study the Bible in terms of pine trees and it was enlightening to read certain  verses again, through a pine tree perspective. Sadly, this part of the study didn't catch the girls' attention.

Another highlight for us was the Geography section -- we read up on the different species of pine trees around the world. Our own pine trees, which are known as the Baguio or Benguet pine (Benguet is the province that Baguio is in), weren't in the list, so I looked that up too. It turns out that the Baguio pine is known as Pinus insularis (although some insist on grouping it with an existing species, Pinus kesiya--after 10 minutes on Wikipedia, I'm a pine tree expert). It grows wonderfully here in Baguio, and in the rest of these mountain areas because of the colder temperature, and some scraggly, scrappy trees do grow in Manila and other hotter areas.

The Creative Writing section, for me, wasn't anything too inspiring--writing an essay about your favorite pine tree. I would find it hard to muster the enthusiasm needed to have a favorite. I mean I  love trees, and I love our pines (we have two in our yard, and we're surrounded by them in our new neighborhood), but I wouldn't exactly be inspired to write about them.

Overall though, the unit study is well-thought out, and it's amazing the variety of subjects that can spin off from a single topic. And though my kids have no real life experience with snow, the snow unit study could be an interesting project. I was browsing through it, and I learned that snow comes in so many different, beautiful shapes! There is a link to the different snow shapes, and the art activity lets you draw more than 30 of the shapes. It's something that I would love to do on my own.

A few pine cones from the girls' collection. They painted these ones.


Other homeschooling families also reviewed the unit studies by Creation Illustrated. Click on the link below to read about their experiences.

Creation Illustrated Unit Studies {Creation Illustrated Reviews}

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