My awareness of Switzerland as a child pretty much consisted of Cuckoo clocks, the Shirley Temple version of Heidi, and chocolate. Fast forward to high school and I started hearing jokes in relation to being neutral and Switzerland being brought up. My knowledge of Switzerland eventually increased to include yodeling, fondue, and the Alps. After studying history lessons for a few years I added in about the Reformation, and a few other odds and ends. Needless to say, I’m excited for our Switzerland Unit Study to give my knowledge a bit more framework.
Our spine for the Switzerland Unit Study
Our spine, and really could be the whole unit study was The Cuckoo Clock Secrets, it’s an awesome chapter book about a homeschooling family solving, you guessed it, the mystery of the cuckoo clock they found in their Grandpa’s attic. During the book, they travel all over Switzerland and learn a fair bit of history.
Each chapter ends with two research questions (that I absolutely adored and have used as the basis for my kids reading as we did our Switzerland study for the past few weeks).
When you buy the book, there is also a Switzerland lapbook you can purchase. If your family is into lapbooking in the least bit buy it. If not, buy it anyway because the teacher manual has all sorts of amazing tips and suggestions. My kids are rather…… indifferent to lapbooks, so we put together a joint lapbook, and I let them choose some pieces for their Europe notebook as a compromise.
The other cool product that works with all of their books is the Mega Travel Activity Pack*. That has all of your spy gear because if you’re solving a mystery, you really need spy gear and codes. My kids were completely tickled pink to get their own spy ID card. It didn’t matter my boys are almost 12, they still thought it was fun to be finger-printed. It sometimes greatly amuses me what kids think are cool. The spy codes in the pack became the inspiration for one of our writing assignments during the unit (each day I gave them a paragraph to write, it was quite interesting).
On the subject of weird things my kids found amusing, my kids found the video of the flight attendant on the Air Switzerland plane hilarious and kept asking to rewatch it. Don’t ask me why, but they did.
Each chapter has several videos to watch related to the content, so we learned how cuckoo clocks were made, all about how ropes were made for mountain climbing, relative distances, and the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland (a huge part of the mystery). The kids all loved the ice hotel video so much, they MADE me show it to Jeff. Of course, they also tried to show Jeff the air safety video.
There is no accounting for a child’s sense of taste.
I also showed the kids several pictures from the Case of Adventure Instagram account, because there’s cool stuff there, and Karyn is doing a great job of posting super useful stuff to her books.
Our Switzerland lapbook
Continuing my dislike of refolding file folders, and also so the kids could add these pieces into their own Europe Geography notebook, we glued our lapbook pieces onto cardstock. This is also why the lapbook pieces look so much more professional than when I design lapbooks. My lapbook pieces are boring mini books, nowhere near as cool as cuckoo clocks or cool shapes.
Sign up on the homepage to get a free map pack* you can use for this and other country studies.
Our Switzerland unit study extension activities
To go with our Switzerland unit study I went to the library and picked up some picture books. Cuckoo Clock Secrets* had enough general history/geography/etc. I didn’t get any of the “Meet Switzerland” type books, but I found some super cute picture books that were some fun additions (and I’m lazy, these are all affiliate links pretend there’s an asterisk*)
- Heidi– this is a VERY abridged version of the novel, but it let me claim they read the book before we watched the movie (when my kids reached the chapter Heidi was mentioned they got very excited since we’d read this picture book)
- Chocolate Cow– all about a family and their dairy cows, there’s a lot of great information about their national culture in this little picture book.
- The Happy Troll– This was primarily a cute book, and because I liked it.
- Anna’s Wish– Super cute picture book about a girl’s wish for snow, my kids feel her pain
- Happy Birthday Harvey Hare-This one was checked out, but we read the Christmas story from these books, and it’s a great story about helping friends (the author is Swiss, so it’s not intrinsically Swiss in nature, just a cute story)
- Holey Moley– two mole brothers are bored and want something to do, will they learn how to play together before they get too frustrated? (this is included because the author is Swiss, he’s also the author of the Rainbow Fish books, so you could do those books)
- William Tell– Sadly this was checked out of the library, because I really wanted to see the boys’ reaction to it
We watched Heidi as a book and a movie and cooked several of the recipes included in the lapbook (both of these will be separate posts later on). This really dovetailed perfectly with the book because they got to see another view of Switzerland.
And of course we tried lots of different types of cheeses, we went on a field trip to a homestead village and saw their cheese making factory, but I have zero pictures. I know, bad homeschool blogger. Instead, I give you a picture from a similar field trip when they were 4.
All in all, I loved our Switzerland Unit Study, and I’m thinking we
might will revisit Scotland when they come out with their Scotland book later this year.
If you like their Case of Adventure Facebook page, you can get a free play money pack to use for your geography studies (or just for fun, that’s what my kids used them for).
Get your own copy of Cuckoo Clock Secrets
Special Launch Discount of 25% off entire cart for 10 days only – use coupon code: 25LAUNCH (from 1-11 February, 2017)
**discount applies only to downloadable products, not the book on Amazon
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