Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Journey Through Learning - a review

I have the wonderful privilege of reviewing a variety of great products for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. This time around, I was especially looking forward to a vendor whose name I recognized, but had yet to try out with the girls.
A Journey Through Learning has some interesting looking lapbooks, and they were gracious enough to send me downloads to 4 of their lapbooks:

 Letters, Numbers, and Shapes
The Earth
 Knights and Castles
Astronomy and Space

We have been immensely enjoying working on Knights and Castles. We've been learning about how to become a knight, how they dressed, the meaning of a coat of arms, what serfs and heralding are, and all sorts of fun middle ages knightly kinds of things :) Not only does this include study guides, but there are so many great lesson stretchers. You'll find lists of books that relate to the theme, sheets that highlight a favorite lesson of the day, and other appropriate pages. You can make this as simple or drawn out as desired. Taylor it to fit in with the younger grades it includes, or add more complex activities for the slightly older ones.

If you're not familiar with the concept of lapbooking, it might look like a really fun way to introduce various topics to your children. Guess what, it is! Using common items that you may already have stocked in the house, you'll put together a colorful book based on a specific theme.
And we could not wait to dive into this one. The first thing I did was to gather the necessary items. Happily, I did not need to purchase one thing.
Most of the pages required the simplest of materials.
*3 File Folders
*Brass Fasteners
I'll admit that I initially felt a little intimidated at the start, when you put the base of the book together. My girls wanted a little bit of help with this first part. Now I would consider myself a crafty kind of gal, and I love to play with art and get all creative, but I was sure happy to see that within the first few pages of the instructions are actual pictures of how to put the file folders together to make the lapbook base. And really, that was the trickiest part, and if I tell the truth, the one place that I need to work on. Why? Well let's just say that my work is a little lopsided on this one, and doesn't really lay the way I would like it too, but I'm sure my technique will improve with practice.
Written from a Christian perspective, this (and all of the other lapbooks) could not be easier to work with and put together. Everything is laid out in the exact order to be completed. The main theme is broken down into smaller sections and begin with a page, maybe two, to read. I made two copies of the reading pages and I would read and have the girls follow along with their copy, and then they would take a turn reading.
After this, there are a few pages following that involve cutting out pictures and then writing out definitions, explaining details, drawing pictures, etc. . . about the material. Then, the page illustrates where to glue the finished section in the lapbook. That really helped us as we were, and are, just getting familiar with the whole process of lapbooking.
I think that once we do this another time or two, we'll feel comfortable to branch out a little more and not feel tied to the given model, although the girls are really enjoying it this way. There is just enough structure balanced with creativity that it has held their attention. A page or two a day has been just right to putting this together in about a month.
To put it simply, my daughters are liking this process a lot! I continually hear "how fun this is!" I guess there's just something satisfying about creating a personal work of art :) You'll probably find (as I have) that the reading leans towards the higher spectrum of the suggested grades. My girls, at the 2nd and 3rd grade level, had no trouble with this. When we come to a word that needs defining, we do just that, and actually, it's brought about some interesting discussions about the middle ages and such. Always finding those teachable moments, aren't we?
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that we received four downloads of lapbooks, and we cannot wait to complete them all. The next one we'll be tackling is going to be The Earth. There are already a lot of activities in that one that my girls - and I truthfully - will have so much fun with. There are songs, some great looking crafts like an earth diorama and salt map, and loads of resources for science experiments, and really good reading in general. I think we'll also be adding a field trip or two to some of the local museums. Yay! Why don't you take a peek at these and so many more titles. I bet you'll find something that catches your eye!
Ages: Grades 2- 7
Price: Instant download - $13.00
CD - $14.00
Printed - $21.00
The Review Crew tried out several different titles in this lapbook series. To check them out, Click here to read more reviews

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