“I highly recommend this”
Reviewed by Debra Brinkman, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC
When I was a homeschool mom of young children, I worried a bit about some of the things I wanted my boys to learn when they were teens. There are so many life skills that I feel competent to teach, but many that don’t seem so straightforward. Those include some very important areas, though, such as being comfortable with taking care of a car.
I’m okay with some basics. I know how to change a tire, check – and even change – the oil, add fluids, but that is really about it. How do I get my kids to learn things that are outside my comfort zone?
Dad could teach a lot of this, and he has, but that is rather hit-or-miss. Which child is available when we need to replace the brake pads? Who can change a tire fastest as we need the car right now?
Enter Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair, and their Homeschool Curriculum Kit. This kit includes a textbook, a student workbook, and a Homeschool CD. Additional students would need a workbook for sure, and you may want them to have their own textbooks.
The course includes twenty chapters on many aspects of automobiles. A syllabus breaks it down into 90 straightforward days of work, where you spend 4-5 days per chapter. This course covers a lot:
- Some history and basic information about cars
- Discussion of costs involved from purchasing an automobile to the basic expenses
- A chapter on taking your car to a repair shop
- Introductory material on safety, tools, keeping the car clean, and checking fluids
- Chapters on the various systems, including electrical, lubrication, fuel, cooling/climate control, ignition, suspension/steering/tires, braking, drivetrain, and exhaust and emission
- A chapter on alternative fuels and designs
- A chapter on accessories
- And finally, a great chapter on common problems and roadside emergencies
The course is a combination of classroom instruction with the text and workbook, along with lab/shop work. You only need some basic tools to complete the lab work, though if you do have access to more you certainly can do more specialized work.
I have all three of my high school boys working through this. We quickly made the decision that my senior needed to take a faster plan, so he could complete it before graduation. The course as outlined on the Course Syllabus Outline (included on the Homeschool CD) is roughly 135 hours of instruction. To make it a ½ credit course for my senior, we planned to cut back on some of the activities and not having him do some of the research activities.
As it turned out, though, we decided to give him credit for some activities he had already completed, such as changing a flat tire, replacing windshield wipers, jump-starting a vehicle, etc. He read the material in the text, and went through the material in the workbook, but he didn’t necessarily complete the activities if they were things he had done frequently enough to be comfortable.
My freshman and sophomore, however, are doing many of the activities (I especially love the chapter on auto care and cleaning!) and we are keeping track of things that they can do with their workbooks as they come up. By having them do some of these activities on multiple vehicles, they will easily earn a full credit each. At the very least, that involves doing a fluid check on a big Ford pickup, an old minivan, and a fairly new, small commuter vehicle.
One thing I really love about this curriculum is that it is easy to implement. The syllabus outlines just what to do, there are tests for each chapter, midterm and final exams, and lots and lots of photos.
At $57 for the paperback version of the set, this is a fantastic bargain. Additional workbooks are available for $18, and once you complete the workbook, it will make an excellent resource to carry into adult life.
I highly recommend this, even if you only use it to supplement a driver’s ed course. Working through the first few chapters would be good for any teen. Then, when car problems occur in the future, this would be an excellent resource for grasping just what is going on and what is involved in getting the vehicle running again. (Read review at The Old Schoolhouse magazine.)
“This course is for everyone.”
Reviewed by Amy Christy, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC
We have a new driver in our home, and though he was familiar with cars and their maintenance, I thought it would be a great time to introduce this curriculum into our homeschool. Now that we have used this, I can see that these books can be used in any household! This is especially true with today’s economy and the fact that people are driving their cars longer and paying special attention to maintenance.
This kit is very well put together. You will receive a hardbound textbook (we also have a paperback text edition), workbook and homeschool Resource CD. I was amazed at what this course has to offer within its 20 chapters! It has everything one needs to know for choosing a car, car ownership, maintenance, repair, roadside emergency, and more! This curriculum was written by Michael and Linda Gray, a husband and wife team with years of experience in the automotive field.
Beginning with an “Introduction and How Cars Work” students will learn about major contributors to the automotive industry and a timeline of automotive milestones. They’ll be able to identify parts of an engine as well as a Vehicle Identification Number, and will check out vehicles of the future in this chapter. Chapter 2 is all about buying an automobile. You’ll determine your budget, learn about financing and payment calculations, how to work with car dealerships and the Lemon Law. Chapter 3 covers the expense of automobile ownership: car payments, insurance, fuel and routine maintenance.
Chapter 4 gives tips for finding reputable repair facilities and warranty information. Chapter 5 is a very important chapter and is all about safety around your vehicle, while Chapter 6 is called “Basic Tools.” This was perfect for a “girlie girl” like me who doesn’t really know my way around the garage. Each tool is pictured and explained in detail, which I appreciated. Chapter 7 is all about auto care and cleaning and gives some excellent advice. Chapters 8- 17 dig into the systems of your car. You’ll learn in detail about the electrical, lubrication, fuel, cooling, ignition, suspension, braking, and exhaust and emission systems.
There are so many wonderful additions to the text. Not only do you have a thorough look at each topic, but there are many extras. The authors have included what they call “Tech Tip,” “Career Paths,” “Price Guide,” “Q&A,” “Web Links,” and “Servicing” throughout each chapter. These are great pieces of information! The “Tech Tips” are wonderful. It’s like having your own hotline to an experienced mechanic! There are no color illustrations, but you will not miss them. There are many clear drawings and photographs. This curriculum is definitely geared toward the visual learner.
The workbook is an excellent study guide with activities that correlate with the textbook, or you may download the activities free in an online workbook on their website www.autoupkeep.com. This website is another wonderful resource for the users of Auto Upkeep. You’ll find the answers to many of your car related questions there. Recently, they have added a “Car Q & A” forum at www.Forum.AutoUpkeep.com and free car care videos at www.Video.AutoUpkeep.com as well.
The Homeschool Resource CD is a fantastic addition for the teacher. It includes a Syllabus and Competency Profile and lab activities for each chapter. We loved the lab activities. I’ll be honest with you. When I first thought about this course, I envisioned this being more of a “father son” project, but I ended up being the one who participated in these labs. They were great! I am not a “technical” person at all and that’s just the point. This course is for everyone. In fact, I think it was created with people like me in mind especially. The text is so easy to follow and learn from, that a person who feels quite out of their element in a mechanical situation can now be more at ease! The CD also has Power Point slides, study questions and answer keys, texts and exams as well as suggested grading. I was also happy to see in the “Extras” something called “Career Exploration.” This is something that is woven through the whole curriculum.
As I had mentioned, my son began this curriculum with some knowledge of his vehicle and how to care for it, but after completing this course, I know he is fully prepared for car ownership. I learned a lot along the way, myself! I wish that my parents would have had something like this for me when I was sixteen. For new drivers, Auto Upkeep is a must! The kit is around $70.00 (hardcover edition is $70, paperback edition is $50), but I believe that with the knowledge you’ll gain about your vehicle from the Gray’s, you will definitely save your family money in the long run. I highly recommend this curriculum. (Read review at The Old Schoolhouse magazine.)
“I highly recommend this program…”
Reviewed by Barb-Harmony Art mom for TheCurriculumChoice.com
My husband and I have had the goal of offering our sons an auto shop type class once they hit their teen years. I stumbled upon Auto UpKeep doing an internet search and then read the review on Rainbow Resource. I was convinced to give it a try.
We are in the third chapter of the book and both my son and I are finding it to be an excellent program. It is a great mix of reading, researching, and lab activities. Each chapter has lab activities to perform with a car in real life. This program is going to prepare my son to not only complete light maintenance for an auto but it also includes chapters on buying cars, safety, and emergency information. He will be learning how to change a tire, change the oil, check the spark plugs, and many more things that every person should know who owns a car. I highly recommend this program which includes a workbook, lab sheets, and tests in the homeschool kit.
“They thought of everything!”
Reviewed by Jocelyn Dixon, Homeschooler – APponderingHeart.com
When I was contacted about reviewing the Auto Upkeep kit I was very excited and pleased to be able to use it. It’s courses like these that people think homeschoolers miss out on, but there is opportunity in everything to learn. The Auto Upkeep curriculum was written by a husband and wife team, Mike and Linda Gray, who both grew up knowing how to handle cars by helping with their family automotive businesses. They wrote this curriculum to enable everyday people to know the basics of car maintenance.
Excerpt from AutoUpkeep.com “Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care was first published in July 2003, but that date really only represents the starting point for Rolling Hills Publishing. By 2003 Auto Upkeep had already been a work in progress for several years. The author Michael Gray has always been interested in the automobile. He started in the automotive field at the early age of twelve in his family’s service station. In the mid 90s Michael implemented and taught a basic high school automotive program. This program is still a popular elective at that high school.”
The kit includes a workbook, textbook, and instruction resource disc. These are sturdy materials with thick pages and large text. The workbook is pre-made to be placed in a three-ring binder and the textbook has a nice hardcover so they can be placed anywhere without being easily damaged.
This curriculum is set up for middle and high school grades, but my 11year-old brother could easily go through it and still I think a younger age could use it. Throughout both books there are over 400 illustrations and drawings to make it easy for the student to understand in given details of text and images. On the disc you will find documents and PDFs of syllabuses, activities, questions, examines, and more to use on your computer or print off.
The student uses this curriculum by reading over a chapter in the textbook and then going to the workbook to complete activities, questions, and quizzes based on each chapter. Both are easy to follow and read. I really liked how there are different signs for different topics of information, in balloons and sidebars, in both books. These not only inform the student, but keep them interested while completing the chapter. They make this a well-rounded curriculum with including information that may not be directly on auto upkeep, but certainly is important. In the beginning of the textbook a history is given of the automotive’s progression and impact on the course of the world since the 1770’s. You don’t often get to read about this kind of information, unless the guy at the mechanics is quite friendly. Ha!
They make this an interactive course. It’s not just reading or writing. It’s getting involved and getting to put into practice what you’ve learned. They have you going out to your own car to find parts that are important to locate and identify. Giving you info on what to look for in a car, buying, expenses, and safety.
Excerpt from AutoUpkeep.com “We want to provide you with the best resources possible. We value your input. We are constantly working to develop and improve Auto Upkeep and additional teaching resources to make learning about car care easy and fun. If you have suggestions on how to improve our products, please email us.”
This is a curriculum that can be used for a one on one or in a group. You can buy them in sets for co-ops or buy just a replacement workbook to use with the textbook and disc again and again. On their website you can find frequently asked questions, ask a question, visit their blog or watch videos on their YouTube channel. They thought of everything!
Whether you have someone to show how to keep basic auto maintenance or not this curriculum will benefit you. As a young lady this type of job will be something I’ll let the men do, but it is useful knowledge I need if ever I should be put into a position where I have to do it myself. Being prepared for anything, even changing a tire yourself, is one of the best traits of a homekeeper can have.
“Auto Upkeep is a must have for every home.”
Reviewed by Linda Foster, The Link Homeschool Magazine
Do you know how to check the tire pressure in your tires? How can you conserve fuel? What does it mean when the engine light comes on? These, and hundreds of other questions are answered in Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance and Repair, a straightforward consumer guide designed to help keep you safe and save you thousands of dollars. Although written as a textbook, this comprehensive do-it-yourself guide is an excellent resource for anyone desiring a basic knowledge of automobile operation and maintenance and offers tips from choosingan auto insurance policy to performing basic maintenance and repairs.
Using hundreds of detailed drawings and diagrams, Auto Upkeep walks you through the inner workings of the automobile, explaining in short, concise passages, subjects such as Introduction and How Cars Work, Buying an Automobile, Safety Around the Automobile, Basic Tools, and Auto Care and Cleaning. You’ll learn about each vehicle system including electrical, lubrication, fuel, ignition, etc.
This introductory automotive book will teach you how to handle roadside emergencies, diagnose common problems and communicate effectively with your auto mechanic.
And now, the Homeschool Curriculum Kit combines the Auto Upkeep book, an accompanying workbook and resource CD to provide homeschoolers with access to information provided in over 300 schools in over 47 states with introductory automotive programs.
Whether your goal is to incorporate the information into a homeschool curriculum or simply teach your children and yourself about basic automotive maintenance, Auto Upkeep is a “must have” for every home. Especially in today’s economy, the information and cost-saving tips are invaluable.
Auto Upkeep helps prepare teens and adults alike to be responsible vehicle drivers and owners.
“If you’re looking for a good elective for your high school students, check out Auto Upkeep.”
Reviewed by Jonathan Lewis, Home School Enrichment
I’m not a car guy. In my book, cars are tools, not toys. I appreciate having a good set of wheels, but I don’t get all revved up about the details. And when it comes to maintenance? I’d far rather pay someone to change my oil than try to do it myself.
That said, we depend a lot on our cars. And having some knowledge of how they work and how to perform basic care and maintenance is a good thing. That’s where Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair by Michael and Linda Gray comes in. Designed as a high school elective course, Auto Upkeep can count as either a full or half credit depending on how you opt to structure it.
The course consists of a textbook, workbook, and CD (or USB for an additional $10); you’ll also find supplemental videos on the course’s website (www.Homeschool.AutoUpkeep.com). The textbook’s twenty chapters cover topics such as buying an automobile, care and cleaning, checking fluids, common problems and roadside emergencies, and the car’s major systems, such as electrical, fuel, ignition, suspension, cooling, and more. Numerous practical activities (detailed in the workbook) will get your students learning in a hands-on way as they take what they’ve learned in the textbook and apply it in a real-world situation (for example, checking fluid levels, replacing a belt, cleaning the battery, etc.).
Now, I’m going to be honest with you: I’m probably not the best person in the world to review this resource. I’m one of the most nonmechanical people you’ll ever meet, and there’s no way I can vouch for the accuracy of the information included. What I can say is that the material generally appears to be well presented, and I would probably learn a lot myself if I went through the whole course!
One feature that stood out to me was the number of photos included in the workbook to illustrate the hands-on activities. A student undertaking the fluid check or tire inspection and rotation activities, for example, will find plenty of photos to illustrate the procedures, help him or her identify the correct parts, etc. That’s particularly helpful for people like me who benefit from seeing things rather than just reading directions.
If you’re looking for a good elective for your high school students, check out Auto Upkeep. If they’re mechanically oriented, they’ll most likely enjoy the course while gaining useful knowledge and experience. And if they’re like me and don’t really like getting their hands dirty under the hood, it wouldn’t hurt them to learn the basics. So check it out. Who knows? You just might find the course pays for itself after your teen learns how to change the oil at home. Double win! (Read review at Home School Enrichment.)
“Exactly what I had hoped to find…”
Reviewed by Sherri O., Homeschool Mom, Missouri
Auto Upkeep Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair (2nd Edition) has turned out to be exactly what I had hoped to find (and more) for my 15 year-old son. As he approaches legal driving age, I thought it was important for him to know basic car care. However, your curriculum is teaching him more than I had ever thought important in the subject, like being a smart consumer when purchasing an automobile and finding a reputable mechanic. I especially like the websites you’ve provided in the book to aid in his research, too. The book is easy to read, with short and concise explanations, and easy enough to understand that we have had no trouble learning the lessons. Reinforcing each lesson with the hands-on activities has given him something fun to look forward to at the end of each chapter, also.
Thank you for producing a great curriculum for the home school community!
“Auto Upkeep is a must buy curriculum…”
Reviewed by Keith Jones, HSAdvisor.com
Auto Upkeep is a basic car care, maintenance, and repair, curriculum designed with the homeschool family in mind. I was so amazed after looking through this curriculum that I simply have to give it a two thumbs up. Authors, Michael and Linda Gray have made Auto Upkeep an easy to use, yet captivating curriculum giving the student a solid understanding of the basics in automotive care. Beginning with a brief history of the automobile and moving along through 20 chapters of instruction and 400+ illustrations, the student will have learned everything they need to know about purchasing, caring for, and maintaining an automobile. Each textbook chapter includes an introduction, objectives, core teaching, and a summary. Included is a workbook that contains objectives, a summary, study questions, activities, and a journal, all of which corresponds with each chapter of the textbook. But that’s not all! Along with the aforementioned there is an Auto Upkeep Homeschool Resource CD which features lab activities, study questions, chapter tests, exams, final exam, and answer keys. The CD also includes helpful power point presentations to enhance the program. Auto Upkeep is a “must buy” curriculum for anyone interested in starting a career in automotive repair or just saving money through the knowledge and skill obtained through this study.
“Easy to read information…”
Reviewed by L. D., Home Educator
I discovered your Basic Car Care course when I picked up some information at the Washington State Homeschool Organization (WHO) Convention last June. I was interested in it because, when my husband taught an automotive course two years ago at our co-op, we had to scrounge together curriculum. Since my husband is a mechanic, he already knew a lot and was able to lecture and do some hands-on activities with the kids. But when I finally looked over the papers collected from the convention, I knew we had to check it out before committing to teaching the course again. We are both excited about the material and know we will be blessing this group of students with the knowledge they will receive. Thanks for putting such thorough and easy-to-read information out there. Even I am finally learning more about cars. I really blew my husband’s mind this week when I was able to explain the 4-stroke compression system to him. Thanks for the free preview. It really helped to seal the deal.
“We highly recommend it!!!”
Reviewed by Cindy Huff, Homeschool Parent, Sacramento, CA
We are a Home Educating family (12th year) and have 2 teenagers and 2 more coming up. After reviewing this book online, we ordered a copy, along with 2 workbooks as our son had requested “Auto Shop” as an elective this year. It is our primary text for the first semester, covering everything from purchasing your car to maintenance/repairs and basic auto care. Our son is getting more out of it than we could hope for and wants to know when there will be a sequel on ‘customizing’ your car! =) We decided to make it a required course/text for all teens in our fam who are looking to purchase/own their own car. We highly recommend it!!! Oh, and the CD that comes with the kit puts the ‘icing on the cake’, including all the administrative extras you, as instructor, will need.+++