I never dreamed the depth of conversations we would have about our government, politics, beliefs, and about a thousand other topics when we were chosen to review HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections. This is a lapbook-style product from Home School in the Woods and I have been stunned by the learning that has gone on. Both for me and for Miss E.
We had reviewed a Home School In The Woods history product before so I thought I knew what to expect. And, I sort of did. But, I truly feel like this one out did the Project Passport: Ancient Egypt study from last summer and that was quite a stunner. This does not have all of the hands-on projects that the Egypt study did but it does have the mini-books to create that help synthesize all of the ideas that are being discussed.
Home School In The Woods has a series that is titled Hands-On History Lap-Paks. These are a series of topics that include
- Knights (K-2)
- Benjamin Franklin (K-2)
- Wonders of the World (3-8)
- The 20th Century in America (3-8), and
- U.S. Elections (3-8)
There are more on the way, as well.
Each Lap-Pak includes a text booklet and all of the templates and text for a complete lapbook on the topic. Each one includes step-by-step directions for each mini-book, as well as directions and photos to help with assembly. There are also lists of additional resources to help you expand the study even further if your student has the desire.
When the digital product came to me, I was excited so I immediately downloaded the files and began reading. It was downloaded as a zip file. I had no problems with downloading and unzipping it. The only issue I had in accessing the files was the “start” file but, I remembered from last time to right-click it and tell it to open the file in Internet Explorer. When I did that, it was a simple open and I had complete and easy access for printing all of the pieces needed for the entire lapbook and text.
I love the simplicity once you get to the browser-style file for printing. When it is open in IE, everything is a simple click for printing. You can also easily access pictures for each mini-book to see exactly how it should turn out.
We print everything in black and white. This allows the girls to personalize it as much or as little as they choose to. As you can see, Miss E did some really neat coloring as part of hers. Other mini-books, she left exactly as they were. I did print some of the pieces on colored paper or cardstock but most of it was printed on white. Easy peasy and allows personality to be revealed a bit.
After we got about 10 of the mini-books completed, we began assembling our lapbook. We do not do it with the multiple file folders taped together. We use colored construction paper and hole punch that. The girls tape or glue the mini-books onto the construction paper and when the lapbook is complete, we use yarn or ribbon to tie the pages together. We store that in our file box with other completed work. We are continuing to add to the pages as we complete additional mini-books.
As I indicated before, this Home School In The Woods study on U.S. Elections has really brought out some amazing discussions. We were studying the difference between a caucus and a primary election while those were going on. We have studied the various forms of media and their influences, both good and bad, while being able to see them at work in an election cycle. We have talked about debates and public speaking and been able to pull an example of that up for viewing. We have about 6 more lessons to go in this study and we have really enjoyed it.
This afternoon, we were sitting outside, enjoying the February weather (almost 80 – sigh – no winter this year), talking about the impact of media changes through the years, specifically on campaigns. Miss E stopped in the middle, looked at me and said, “I have enjoyed this. Who would have guessed I’d like elections?” That about sums this up. I like it too. I hadn’t planned on covering this with our 4th grader but after going through it, I am thinking that we might go through this with Miss L in late summer or early fall. It will be modified and I don’t expect to have quite the depth of discussion on issues and platforms and such. Still, I think it would be good for her. Though this is labeled as a 3rd – 8th grade level study, I think 4th grade is pushing it on the lower end and probably 5th is best for the average student. I definitely cannot imagine covering it with a 3rd grader. I also think it could easily go up through 10th if you are having the student go in-depth with each topic, though the 10th grader may or may not like doing mini-books. But the topics – those are definitely meaty enough for a 10th grader.
Home School In The Woods has come up with yet another product that I am happy to recommend. There is both a CD version and a download version. With either one you will need access to a computer and printer. If you choose the download, you will need the internet connection for the download but after that, you’ll need to be able to print. Either way, this is an interesting, thorough product for hitting the history of U.S. Elections. And in an election year, this is a very timely study.
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