The Curiosity Files: Cicada-Killing Wasp Review

Wasp Study

What Is It and Who Are We?

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine offers The Curiosity Files: Explorations with Professor Ana Lyze, Expert in Outlandish Oddities. These are unit studies on “the unfamiliar, zany, and strange things of nature that kids are so attracted to”.

I had the opportunity to review the Cicada-Killing Wasp E-book package with our children this month and we enjoyed our brief adventure through this fun unit study. Chloe just turned 4 and John is 2 1/2 years old. Obviously, they are still quite young, but they enjoyed several aspects of this study and retained a surprising amount of information. Fall of 2011 will be our first official year of homeschooling.

The Cicada-Killing Wasp unit study is a short, colorful E-book package designed for children 8-13 and up. My husband was kind enough to print it all out, hole-punch it and put it in a binder for us. The first thing that caught my eye was how colorful it was and how crisp, detailed and interesting the photos were.

Upon flipping through the unit study, I discovered a well planned, organized study chock full of information and knowledge, presented in a fun easy-to-follow way. 

What’s Inside?

The study begins with several pages full of information on the cicada-killing wasp, laid out in a question with the answer following in paragraph form. It’s a nice way to present it; lots of information but not overwhelming. It makes it easy to read as much or as little at a time as you’d like, or as your child’s attention span permits! It also makes it easy to reference back to to a particular area. The pictures in this section are fantastic; very engaging for children who will lean forward to study them closely I’m sure. Though young, my tots (4yrs, 2 1/2 yrs) enjoyed the “stories” about the wasp and they were very interested in all the pictures.

Following the subject information, there are several pages of questions ranging from true and false, to fill-in-the-blanks to multiple choice. {A quick skip ahead revealed a complete answer key in the back – hurray for answer keys!} These questions are fairly easy, designed to help you gauge how much information your child has understood and retained.

Next was one of my favorite sections, entitled “In the Beginning”. It shows how, though scary-looking, the cicada-killing wasp is very helpful and part of God’s amazing design and protection. There are several verses that talk about God’s protection and provision, along with thoughts to ponder and questions to help facilitate a discussion.


Following are many pages full of activities that tie in math including plotting and graphing, months, temperatures, measurements, percentages. Though my children were too young to do these activities, they look quite engaging and all relate to the unity study.

In addition to math, language arts is also incorporated. Again, these activities were too advanced for my little ones but I {embarrassed cough} learned a thing or two about proper comma usage. The unit offered a wonderful selection of words for spelling and vocabulary, along with several spelling related tasks and games.  I found it interesting that the copywork presented for completion were all verses {King James Version!} relating to similar insects; a very appealing aspect for me.

History and Geography also make an appearance as does a creative snack suggestion and plenty of hands on craft ideas. There are also some recommended resources in the form of websites and book titles.

What We Thought

As previously mentioned, this study was put together with ages 8-13+ in mind. Obviously at 4 and 2 1/2 years old, my children are a bit young, however, they still learned quite a bit about the cicada-killing wasp, enjoyed our nature walk looking for wasps and drawing their findings. We haven’t yet made the snack “wasps” but plan to do that soon. The craft section had several crafts to make, all with different age ranges. We did find a few that were appropriate for my little ones, with a bit of help from mommy. I’ll add a photo of our toilet paper roll wasp soon!

Overall? Though my homeschooling experience is limited, I think that this is a fantastic unit study. Well laid out, visually appealing, interesting and reasonably priced. I thought it covered necessary subjects well and in a fun way. Having reviewed it, I wouldn’t recommend it for preschoolers, though it certainly can be used for children younger than 8! We will definitely revisit this unit study in a few years!

What’s the Cost and Where Can I Buy?

Cicada-Killing Wasp is on sale right now for only $1.00 (reg. $6.95) in The Old Schoolhouse Store and also available in the Curiosity Files Bundle.


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