Mary Pope Osborne’s Classroom Adventures Program

Introductory Note:  I was contacted by an agency about this program and asked if I would publicize it on my site.  Normally, I turn down such requests but because I think this one actually has value I am posting my thoughts and opinion on the site.  Further, I admire Mary Pope Osborne and what she has done for getting kids to read in this country through her hugely successful Magic Tree House series; so, this is the least I can do to further her goals.  She constantly is giving back what she has been given (especially to kids) and I see this site as contributing to her efforts.

To celebrate the Magic Tree House’s 20th Anniversary, the author of the series, Mary Pope Osborne has created a free, comprehensive set of educational resources located here at Classroom Adventures Program.  Incorporating every book in the series, this resource helps teachers spark the interest kids have in the series and expand it to school subjects.

Osborne’s “Gift of Books” Program provides free-books to under resourced schools as well.  More information is available at the aforementioned site.

My kids love the Magic Tree House series and I do as well.  They learn about different parts of the world and interesting historical facts in a fun way so they don’t even know they are learning.  These books are on the top of my list for the kids to read out-loud to me because I learn as well!

I have previewed this website and it does offers a lot of ideas on how to engage children’s interest further in the various subjects.  It has a sample curriculum online that tells you what subjects are covered in which books and it even has sample kids works so you’ll get an idea of what the work looks like when completed.

My kids love to go to the Magic Tree House website and do adventures and get stamps for the books they have read.  I see this new site as just another way to further education.

Homeschoolers can use this just as easily as classroom educators.  Everything is free.  For me personally, I probably won’t be using it because our days are packed already.  But it’s there if I need it and it’s a resource that I believe is worth exploring.
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Why Would Anyone EVER Pre-Order a Book?

I am anxiously awaiting the release date of the final book in the Inheritance Cycle (called Inheritance) by Christopher Paolini as a lot of other fans are on November 8.

So, I go online to Amazon to pre-order it.  Well, as most of you know, you have to spend $25 or more to get free shipping so I thought I’d order some other books I’ve had in my queue.

I go through the whole process to the end where it says, “Your books will not be shipped until November.”

What?!

I thought books from Amazon were shipped when they arrived so I’d get separate orders.

I cancel that order and hop over to Barnes and Noble.com and see what they say.  I call a physical store to ask,”If I pre-order this book along with others, will it be shipped separately?”

“Oh, yes,” the employee assures me.  “You’ll get your other books first.”

Once again, I go on-line to order my books along with pre-ordering Inheritance.  Again, same message:  “Your books will not be shipped until the pre-order is available.”

Of course, I don’t believe the young man on the phone and I just cancel my order.

In the end, I don’t order Inheritance (much to my chagrin for I really want the book) and just order the stuff I need now (some are workbooks for homeschool) along with a book my daughters really want (the new book in the Magic Tree House Series called Dogs in the Dead of Night #46 by Mary Pope Osborne) to get myself over the $25 mark.

Why would anyone ever pre-order? I wonder.

Amazon has changed the price on Inheritance THREE times since I’ve put it in my cart.

I decide to just order the book when it comes out.  Easier. Safer.  Less hassle. And confusion.

And if I pay shipping, so be it.  But by November, I’m sure I’ll have something else I need (all books are a need, ya know!).

“We Often Look So Long and So Regretfully Upon the Closed Door that We Do Not See the New Ones Which Open for Us”

Words I needed to hear courtesy of Mary Pope Osborne and her Magic Tree House Series.  Here, Osborne quotes Alexander Graham Bell in Night of the New Magicians.

The entire quote of Mr. Bell’s:  “When one door closes, another door opens.  But we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

LOVE THIS!  Especially now as I look to close the door on my life and move to another state.

I cannot praise this series enough.  I have learned so much myself let alone my kids.  Every book has a great life lesson to apply to life or a great quote from a historical figure (like the one above) that we all need to be reminded of.

In the Night of the New Magicians, Jack and Annie discover 4 secrets from 4 “Magicians”: Alexander Graham Bell, Gustave Eiffel, Thomas Alva Edison, and Louis Pasteur.

Edison’s Secret:  “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

Pasteur’s Secret:  “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Eiffel’s Secret:  “From my father I inherited a taste for adventure, from my mother a love of work and responsibility.”

All great quotes from geniuses in their own right.  Way to go, Ms. Osborne!  Thanks for teaching my kids and reminding me of great, timeless advice.

The Magic Tree House Series

I have been completely remiss in talking about this series by Mary Pope Osborne–I guess because it’s just so popular I assume everyone knows about it.

My 7 year old was reading Eve of the Emperor Penguin out loud to me when I heard a part that I had to share with you all.

For those who don’t know, The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne follows the adventures of a brother-sister team called Jack and Annie as they travel through time around the world in their Magic Tree House.  They are sent on Missions by Morgan Le Fay and Merlin of King Arthur fame and frequently have adventures in Camelot.  They are officially classified as chapter books but the later ones are much longer.

In this book, Jack and Annie are searching for the fourth secret of happiness, which is summarized in the end.  The third secret that spoke to me was this, “Every day he (speaking about Leonardo da Vinci–a previous book) felt happy when he learned something new.”

This is me.  Definitely me.  I’m like a kid in a candy store when I learn something new and every time I read one of these books I learn something.  The time periods are all historically researched and sometimes with real people such as Leonardo da Vinci.  You learn facts in the midst of history.

I guess this is why I love to read historical fiction too.  I like stories with characters that take me back to a period I would have liked to have seen, lived in, and experienced.

I guess this is why Isaiah speaks to me so much: a real person in a historical time.  And combined with God it creates an insatiable appetite within me to know more.

The website is amazing as well.  You can create an account and go on more “Merlin Adventures”, where you are asked questions and facts from the books.  My daughter loves this.  I’m not a fan of computer games but this site I allow my children to use.  I always help them with it but it’s fun, easy, and emphasizes facts from the books.  Learning doesn’t get any better when these elements are combined.

My daughter can’t get enough of this series and as a parent I cannot recommend these highly enough.  We always get the newest one from the library and we also devour the non-fiction Research Guides that accompany the series.

I wish I had these when I was a little kid (amongst many other things!).  Good thing I still get to be one.  This probably explains why I spend hours each day reading kids books with my kids.