Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Review of E-Book: I Want to be a...Doctor

Within the past several months, The Old Schoolhouse has introduced many new entries into its “WannaBe” E-Book series. Until being presented with the opportunity to review “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a…Doctor”, I had never read one of these books. Now I want to read all of them! While I concede that the editors have found a catchy name in “WannaBe E-Book”, I regret the fact that the name does not truly convey all that these books have to offer a homeschooling (or even an afterschooling) mom.

So much more than just an E-Book, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a…Doctor” is in fact more of a unit study on the career of medicine. It begins with a biographical sketch of a family that practices medicine, which I rather naively assumed would comprise the majority of the E-Book. I actually would have loved to have read more about the Drs. Atwi, but the editors of this E-Book had so much more in store for me! After reading about the day-to-day doings of the Atwis, the E-Book continues with the all-important salary information for the medical profession, as well as with a reading comprehension style quiz.

Then the real fun begins! The next ten pages of this E-Book consist of optometry-specific information. How do our eyes work? What is a lens? What is color blindness? Activities including vocabulary, a diagram of the eye, and a test to diagnose color blindness are included in this section of the E-Book. While all of the text is written at a level that is easily understood by children, there is much in this book that can benefit parents as well. After all, for many of us, it has probably been several years since we have studied these subjects ourselves!

One of the preeminent features of this E-Book is its versatility. In addition to providing solid information for students who might seriously be considering a career in the field of medicine, the E-Book also contains plenty of material for younger siblings, who might merely be along for the ride on this particular lesson. A hidden pictures activity (a favorite with my preschoolers) and coloring pages are included for the youngest scholars, while a crossword puzzle and a word search are included for slightly older students. Copywork and handwriting practice are incorporated for all age levels. Finally, end-of-unit activities and games round out the student portion of the E-Book. For mom, the E-Book closes with several pages of resources that can be used for further study, including books, videos, and websites.

This E-Book has much to recommend it. I must confess that my favorite part of the book is the story of Dr. Atwi and his family. I think it is this kind of personal narrative that is likely to draw students in, and to make them truly consider what it means to have a career in the field of medicine. Any student who reads this E-Book has, most likely, already expressed an interest in a medical career. Reading about a faith-filled man, who is committed both to God and to his patients, is likely to deepen that interest. The activities that follow can then be used to hone a student’s focus on the “what next” aspect of his possible career path in the kind of fun and hands-on manner to which most homeschoolers are so well accustomed.

As a first time reader of a book in this growing series, I was very pleasantly surprised by how comprehensive and interesting, while still compulsively readable, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be a…Doctor” was. Many elements combine to make this book well worth the nominal monetary investment. My only suggestion would be to create a separate E-Book entirely entitled, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be an… Optometrist”, and separate out the optometry material from this E-Book. In this way, students who are specifically interested in eyes can be directed toward that profession, while students with a general interest in medicine, an extensive field in its own right, can focus exclusively on the broad-spectrum discipline of medicine, exclusive of optometry. Overall, however, this E-Book is a welcome addition to the WannaBe E-Book series from The Old Schoolhouse.

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