Any fool can know; the point is to understand.  
-Attributed to Einstein [Campfire wants your child to understand!]

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Sometimes, parents have a hard time transitioning from a worksheet-based program to Campfire because it’s “different.”  Sometimes, they incorrectly think it’s just “reading and an activity” (because there aren’t worksheets).  You may love and want to keep your worksheet-based education and also add in Campfire, or you may want to gravitate away from worksheets altogether.  Maybe you want to do both but aren’t quite sure how that could look. We are here to help explain!


Worksheet-Based Unit Studies or Textbooks: A More Traditional Approach

Let’s start with what you may be most familiar with to meet on common ground.  In a traditional worksheet-based unit study (for example), your journey begins with reading the lesson from start to finish. Once the read-through is complete, you transition your student to subject-specific worksheets. Take, for example, a unit study on Marine Biology.  After absorbing the lesson in its entirety, you would present your student with worksheets covering history, science, language arts, and geography. For an elementary-level student, these worksheets might include tasks like:

  • Science Worksheet: Answering three fill-in-the-blank questions about an animal’s diet and habitat and illustrating its environment.
  • Geography Worksheet: Pointing to or coloring the “where” on a map.
  • Bible Worksheet: Reading a Bible verse related to the theme.
  • History Worksheet: Reading an additional paragraph with a historical angle on the topic, followed by two questions to pinpoint the when and where of events.
  • Language Arts: Tells the student, “Write your own story about fish today!” then fills the page with blanks.

Campfire Unit Studies: Bringing Lessons to Life

With Campfire, the same “science worksheet” questions are asked THROUGHOUT the lesson’s reading.  The curriculum will pause and ask your student to write down or answer many questions about the animal’s diet and habitat, give interesting facts, and illustrate the environment.  This is, honestly, no different than what you are used to in terms of content covered, content read, and content written/answered by the student in the worksheet-based approach.

In one setup, you ask the questions at the end, on a worksheet.  In the other (Campfire), questions are woven throughout the lesson, requiring the student to write in a notebook–simultaneously prompting immediate thought and discussion.  Campfire’s approach aims to better prepare your child for real-world learning and note-taking. This interactive method mirrors traditional learning but happens in real-time.

Even so, regardless of which method you have used (worksheet-based or Campfire), your student has written the same amount and answered identical questions.

Next in Campfire, you can enter into the final lesson pages and open up your Core Connections Companion.  This is where you find your lessons for history, language arts, and more.  

  • Science: Science was already covered with the main lesson content, as we just mentioned above–with the same (or more) writing and answering than you found in the worksheet-based setup.  It is simply done on a notebook paper instead of a fill-in-the-blank worksheet, so you are showing your state officials the same amount of work, either way (if you are required to report such to your state).
  • Bible: Faith Talks and Think Tanks are at the end of every lesson.  This is where your child gets his Bible and devotional in and also has his ethics and critical thinking lessons, but it is far more than just a Bible verse.  This is interactive, conversational, and often includes more writing while challenging the mind.
  • History/Geography:  Campfire offers more robust teaching content, with full lessons on these additional topics, rather than mere prompts or brief paragraphs found in many standard worksheet-based unit studies.  After our more robust teaching content, your student has questions to answer and/or projects to complete, just as you would expect.  Again, these would be in a notebook instead of a worksheet with empty lines.
  • Language Arts: Likewise, we do not just tell a student to write a story or give them a few sentences of teaching as one might find in a standard worksheet-based approach.  Rather, we incorporate a full lesson and TEACH them how to write the story (etc.), tiered to age level appropriateness. 

What Sets Campfire Apart

Not only does the integrative approach to questions/answers set us apart and prepare your student for real life and higher education, but we *also* have “Cool Teacher Moments.”  These unique opportunities transform lessons into memorable experiences.  For instance, during a study on Meteorology, students might wrap up in blankets, simulating the atmosphere’s layers, adding an unforgettable kinesthetic dimension to their learning.  Campfire’s Cool Teacher Moments look different in each lesson, but they are always creating a different learning environment that is far beyond your traditional worksheet-based approach. This will effectively help the student to retain the lesson for years to come, rather than learning and forgetting it after the worksheet is tossed.

We also have additional and optional learning extensions that come at the end of the lesson to further enhance the learning!  These are not required, but we spend a lot of time coming up with these, for your student, should you want to take advantage of them!

Different Ages

If you notice, in a worksheet-based approach to unit studies, you often see the ages tiered.  In a few popular ones, the worksheets for all ages are almost identical.  If you really pay attention, you’ll see the difference is that a middle school worksheet asks the student to answer a single additional question (beyond elementary level), and the high school student is told to “research more about _____” and answer two additional questions.  This is not any more teaching or instruction.  It is merely worded differently and one directs the student to research.  We have even seen some where the questions weren’t different at all, but a middle school student merely filled in the blank where the high school student had to write a full sentence on his own. 

To help you understand the difference in Campfire, we actually have a higher level of teaching and more instruction for the higher grade levels, far surpassing what you receive in the standard worksheet-based approach.  Campfire tailors its content to ensure a richer, more sophisticated educational experience for older students. This includes more intricate tasks and deeper subject exploration, accommodating a broader range of learning styles (auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile) and ensuring meaningful engagement at every level.  And, any time we have students “research,” we teach them how to do it, give direction, pointers, and pre-screened websites to use as their launching point (to use with parental preference).


At the End of the Day

Ultimately, both approaches aim to enrich the student’s learning experience. Yet, Campfire takes it a step further by incorporating immersive teaching moments, interactive discussions, comprehensive lessons across subjects, and methodologies catering to various learning styles. It’s not just about answering questions or drawing; it’s about engaging, thinking critically, and truly absorbing the lesson. Campfire not only teaches but inspires, making each lesson a memorable journey.


With Campfire, you’re not just teaching; you’re igniting a passion for learning that lasts a lifetime.



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