For those who were an 80’s or 90’s kid, there’s a chance some book series that were part of your childhood. Whether you preferred the spooky tales from Goosebumps, the thrills of Animorphs, the girl power of The Babysitter Clubs, the twin power of Sweet Valley High, (those two were two of my favorites as an 80’s kiddo) or the adventures of the Magic School Bus, there were certain series that everyone knew about.
One such series was The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne. The first book, Dinosaurs Before Dark, was released in 1992 (way to make you feel old, huh? Lol!). Over the past 25 years, Osborne has written 57 Magic Treehouse fiction books that are broken up into two separate (but related) series.
The Magic Treehouse series contains 30 books (one of which was just released in 2018). In this series, readers follow two characters, Jack and Annie, as they are whisked away on adventures through time via a (you guessed it) magic treehouse going on quests for their magical librarian, Morgan Lefay. They explore the age of dinosaurs, medieval times, ancient Egypt, pirates…and that’s just in the first four books. And they don’t just cover history topics! They cover science as well! Jack and Annie also run into things like rainforests, polar bears, space, tornadoes, and tsunamis. These books are perfect for readers ages 6 to 9 who are just starting to read chapter books.
The second is entitled the Magic Tree House “Merlin Missions” series. Geared toward 7 to 10 year olds. In these 27 books, the siblings are sent on missions by none other than the wizard, Merlin. Jack and Annie are often joined on their adventures by apprentices Teddy and Kathleen. These books are a bit longer and take place in fantasy realms like Camelot (hence, Merlin).
There are also 38 non-fiction companion books called Magic Tree House Fact Trackers. They go into even more detail about the topics covered in the fiction novels.
As you can imagine, these books are a rich source of not only entertainment for kids, but education. They are a great series to supplement literature, science, and social studies lessons, which makes them a prime resource for homeschooling. Curious about how you can implement the Magic Treehouse series in your homeschool? Here are 3 fun ideas.
Use Them As Part of Unit Studies
If you do a lot of unit studies in your homeschool, there’s a good chance that you can find a Magic Treehouse book to accompany it. For example, if you are doing a unit study on, say Vikings, you can integrate literature into it by reading Midnight on the Moon (Magic Tree House Book #8) and the accompanying Fact Tracker book, conveniently titled Space. This can be a great way to add even more fun and education to your unit studies.
Start a Book Club
Do your kids have friends that live nearby? Perhaps you have a substantial local homeschool community. If so, get others involved in the fun. Hit up your local library for additional copies of the first Magic Treehouse book and have each family check out their own copy. Set up days when you can get together at an agreed upon location to discuss portions of the book. At each meeting, come prepared with a few discussion questions to get the ball rolling. You can also provide refreshments to make it into more of an event.
Use Mary Pope Osborne’s Classroom Adventures Program
Wish there was a “done for you” lesson plan for Magic School House? You’re in luck! Mary Pope Osborne has actually created a FREE Classroom Adventures Program for educators called the Gift of Time. She encourages teachers and students to use both the fiction novels and their nonfiction Fact Tracker companions to have discussions and practice critical thinking skills. On the website, you can access lesson plans for each Magic Treehouse novel and lessons for most of the fact tracker books.
Each lesson addresses core standards for kids such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They include activities such as collecting clues to solve a mystery, story mapping, summarizing the story, making acrostic poems with vocabulary words, and presenting interesting facts to the class. They also provide guidelines on running cluster book studies, which is kind of perfect. She has even gone the extra step to provide lessons specifically for special needs students, which includes additional activities to engage presymbolic learners. If Need to find a Magic Treehouse book on a specific topic? Osborne has a handy search feature that enables you to find Magic Treehouse books based on the subject. The subjects include:
- Language Arts
- Character Building Lessons
- Visual Arts
- Theatre Arts
- Social Studies
- Animals and Wildlife
- Nature and Conservation
- Mythology and Legends
She also has a handy Reading Levels tool that breaks down the reading level for each book (they range from 2nd grade to 5th grade). This enables you to read the books based on reading age rather than chronological order.
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past NoonMagic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 5-8: Night of the Ninjas, Afternoon on the Amazon, Sunset of the Sabertooth, and Midnight on the MoonMagic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 9-12: Dolphins at Daybreak, Ghost Town at Sundown, Lions at Lunchtime, and Polar Bears Past BedtimeMagic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 13-16: Vacation Under the Volcano, Day of the Dragon King, Viking Ships at Sunrise, and Hour of the OlympicsMagic Tree House Volumes 17-20 Boxed Set: The Mystery of the Enchanted Dog (Magic Tree House (R))
I have a surprise for you! I put together several unit studies that go along with The Magic Treehouse series. For the next week or so you can pick all of them up for FREE! This is another great way to use these books in your homeschool. When you go to download the unit studies use the code: magictreehousefree to pick up your bundle for FREE! This is a $25 value!!! Here’s a preview of them-
These are just a few way that you can use Magic Treehouse books in your homeschool. Do you have any other fun ideas? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.