Thursday, October 22, 2009

Product Review: Educaching

My thoughts about Educaching, a cross-curricular treasure hunt, can be summed up in one statement.

Why didn't I find this sooner?

The concept is ingenious. Educaching takes the widely-popular pastime, geocaching, a step further and provides all the instructions you need to set up a GPS-led treasure hunt that has your kids performing educational tasks along the way. A variety of hunt ideas are included, each of which puts skills from most subject areas into practice. Though I would not necessarily use it to introduce these skills, Educaching proved to be a fun way to integrate learning and give previously-mastered skills a real-world application.

Lesson Plans for 20 different hunts are included. These hunts are designed for students in 4th-8th grades and vary in difficulty. We completed four beginner-level hunts. There are also intermediate and advanced hunts for older students. The quality and thoroughness of the plans demonstrate the professionalism and experience of the author, Jason Hubbard.

Although the lessons are not written from a Christian worldview, there were no teachings that contradict the Bible. In other words… no evolution, Big Bang, etc. One lesson does involve art work based on Native American rain birds. The meaning behind the symbols is presented in a way that explains, but does not necessarily promote, the Native American belief system.

What most impressed me about Educaching was that it took me much less time to prepare for the hunts than I anticipated. The plans are very well written and easy to follow. I was able to gather everything needed for the four hunts we completed and hide the caches in about two hours. Set-up time would have been considerably less had we only completed one hunt.

Also important to me was that I had all the materials needed for all four hunts on-hand. I did not have to buy special containers or supplies. Rubbermaids and Tupperware held our caches. The items within were things like candles, candy, and clothing.

There are also instructions included for using your GPS receiver and ideas for teaching children how to use this technology. Forms are included to make your hunt easier and more profitable, like field sheets for recording data.

One difficulty I encountered was finding a location for our hunt. We live in-town and do not have a large enough yard to hide several containers far enough away from each other to be distinct on our GPS. Because I needed to set up when the children were not present, I felt uneasy about using public parks. I feared the caches might be tampered with or stolen while I traveled home and back again. I also needed to set up without the children around which meant I had to schedule this at a time when Dad was home.

However, it was worth the trouble because my children LOVED Educaching. They were able to complete the tasks with little difficulty. It took a few minutes to acquaint them with the technology, but once they figured it out, I had a hard time keeping up with them. The hunts kept them fully engaged. There were no opportunities for off-task behaviors. The motivation of wanting to find the cache kept them moving. Then when found, the task within made them really work and think. Once a task was complete, they were ready to head to the next cache.

In the course of an hour, they accomplished a lot, too. They inspected items and determined if they had undergone physical or chemical changes. They recorded information on charts and plotted points on a map. They measured length, calculated averages, solved word problems, made change, and determined a number of permutations. When we returned from the hunt to complete the suggested wrap-up discussions, the learning that had taken place was undeniable.

They really had FUN, too! When I asked them to rank Educaching on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being "no fun at all and I did not learn anything" and 10 being "best lesson ever- I had so much fun and learned a lot", Wilbur gave Educaching a perfect 10. Orville insisted that he be allowed to give it an 11.

Though not happy about donning one of the combinations of silly clothes created during one activity, Wilbur still gave Educaching a perfect 10!

Orville liked it all, even the silly clothes. He insisted on giving Educaching an 11!

I give it a 10, too! Admittedly, this was right up my educational-philosphy alley. I have made up treasure-hunt lessons for my children before, just sans GPS. I like to keep my boys active. I don't like to teach isolated skills and like to find real-world applications for as much as possible. If you like a more traditional approach to education, you probably will not like Educaching, though I still encourage you to give it a try. ;)


  • Detailed lesson plans

  • Instructions for using and teaching children to use a GPS

  • Printable forms (you can print only as needed)

  • Other than a hand-held GPS, requires common, household supplies

  • Easy to set-up

  • Covers a variety of topics

  • Integrates subjects

  • Provides real-world experience

  • Gives children the opportunity to apply what they learn

  • FUN!


  • Not homeschool-specific, requires some adapting

  • Can be difficult to find a place to hold your hunt

  • Most activities would be better with two or more groups of four (though not required)

  • Not written from a distinctly Christian worldview (though not anti-Christian in any way)

Overall, I think I have found a real treasure in Educaching and look forward to completing more of the activities with my boys. I plan to complete another Educaching hunt with my Mathletes Linkteam next month. Return soon for pictures from that event.

You can download Educaching samples here. The entire program can be purchased at their website for $32.00 plus shipping and handling.

Disclosure: I received one copy of Educaching for free in order to complete this review. I have received no other compensation. The opinions expressed in this review are solely mine and are my honest evaluation of the product based on my experience with it. Your experience with this product could be very different from mine. If you would like a second opinion (or as many 124 more), please click the icon below to be redirected to the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.


argsmommy said...

It does sound like a lot of fun!

A Joyful Chaos said...

Sounds very interesting. I had never heard of it before.