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Homeschool Crew Review: Lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning

 

 

 

We have rarely made lapbooks in all our years of learning together.  To me they have always seemed to be vague, messy, time-consuming projects, but A Journey Through Learning, a lapbook company, disagrees:  A lapbook is a FUN, HANDS-ON and CREATIVE way for your child to record information that he/she has learned about a certain subject.” 

 

 Obviously, the company and I are starting from different perspectives, but what we’re talking about is the same:  Lapbooks, defined as student-made displays of creative mini booklets mounted in one or more file folders.  As a Homeschool Crew reviewer, I received some of these to try, so we ventured forth into a new world, open to being convinced that lapbooks are indeed fun and creative.

 

 

Product Description

A Journey Through Learning: Lapbooks and Unit Studies offers dozens of lapbooks for children ranging from preschool to grade 8 on topics from autumn to inventors and from preschool letters to historical overviews. Although the authors are Christian, specifically Christian elements were present only in the Bible study I read.  Most of the lapbooks contain a study guide, and some have accompanying unit studies, copywork and notebooking pages.  For each lapbook on the website, you can access sample pages, including a table of contents, by clicking on the picture.

 

These lapbooks are full of colored illustrations, but for people without color printers it works perfectly well to print them out in black and white and have the children color them.  This does, of course, add to the project time, but it also makes each booklet more a child’s own.

 

We received five downloadable lapbooks with study guides to review, Autumn, Parables of the King, Reptiles (shiver), Amphibians, and Deserts.  Each of these involves many booklets, and requires three file folders to put together, although mini lapbooks containing fewer booklets are also available.  Each one ends with enrichment pages including suggestions for further reading and a sheet to record books read.  Note-taking and narration forms are provided for both older and younger students. 

 

Autumn (56p)

This lapbook with study guide includes more than twenty booklet topics ranging from autumn foods and colors to nature, Thanksgiving, leaf rubbings, and migration.  All a child needs to know to fill in the lapbook pages is mentioned in the study.  This topic was perfect for us to begin our lapbooking adventure.

 

Parables of a King ( 88 p)

Beginning with a definition of the word ‘parable’, this lapbook covers 18 parables using actual verses from the Bible.  The background of each one is explained simply, and its most basic lesson is given so that the children will learn how to apply the parables to their own lives.  The authors are careful not to give deeper and possibly controversial interpretations, preferring to leave that to the parents.  We plan to do this lapbook next.  I noticed more typos in this lapbook than in the others but I’ll be able to work around them by reading out loud as the Little Misses cut and color.

 

Reptiles (64p)

You know, I don’t even want to open this file, and none of my children are asking me to.  (Thankful smile.)  If anyone is interested in reptiles—and I know there are people who love them—please look at the sample pages on the website and excuse me for not telling you about this lapbook. 

 

Desert (62 p)

In this lapbook and study guide, different deserts throughout the world are discussed.  Other topics include rain, desert people, and desert plants, mammals, reptiles (uh huh!), insects, and birds.  Without using the words ‘adapted’ or ‘evolved’ or ‘struggle for survival,’ the study guide explains how different living beings are equipped to live in harsh desert habitats. 

 

Amphibians (64 p)

This lapbook and study guide discusses amphibians’ defenses and life cycles, as well as food chains, habitats, tadpoles, frogs, toads, salamanders, and more.  Did you know that amphibians can easily live to be 10 years old, and may even reach 40?  And did you know that there is a snake-like amphibian?  But it doesn’t live in North America.  Phew!

 

 

Our Journey into Lapbooking

My three youngest girls, ages 6-11, chose to do Autumn.  I worked with the two Little Misses but Miss 11 Year-Old worked independently, occasionally showing up to inspire us with her artwork.

 

Somewhat hesitantly we got the project started.  I printed out the lapbook pages, the Little Misses collected crayons, scissors, and art supplies, and we were ready to go.  Wow, it seemed easy after all! 

 

The girls settled at the kitchen table, listened to me reading the first information page, and then looked at their first booklet project.  Then the trouble began. Comments like “You mean I have to CUT this?!” and “What’s the use!” and “I can’t do this!” flew through the kitchen, accompanied by tears.  As positively as possible for a mama in the midst of a doubtful project, I assured them they could easily do it, that it would be fun, and that they would learn things.  Then I fled to other duties.

 

Not much later I peeked back into the kitchen to see blonde heads bent over tiny books, coloring away happily and discussing equinoxes.  It continued that way.  Each time, once they had started their booklet for the day, they were happy and creative.  Miss 11 Year-Old introduced the younger girls to sponge painting their booklets in coordinating colors.  Slowly a little pile of colourful booklets built up, representing various aspects of autumn.

 

When we were almost ready to glue the booklets into the file folders, the Little Misses looked at examples of completed lapbooks.  Having decorated the backs of their booklets as well as the front, they were horrified at the thought of gluing them onto file folders. Instead we’re planning to carefully store the little booklets in large envelopes, hole punched to fit into binders.  We’ll paste the cover page on the front of the envelope, and the table of contents on the back, and the girls can take out and enjoy their booklets, front and back, whenever they wish.  Perhaps we will eventually glue them onto file folders for safekeeping. 

 

Our Autumn lapbook was for grades 2 to 7.  Littlest Miss couldn’t identify with some of the concepts, but she learned what she was ready for.  The whole project was well-suited to Miss 9 Year-Old’s level.  For Miss 11 Year-Old the project was mostly review and an excuse to be artistic.  She added an age-appropriate project to the lapbook, tracking the sun’s rising and setting time to study the equinox.  Miss 11 Year-Old plans to finish her lapbook off the traditional way.  She has now also decided to design her own lapbooks for her history. 

 

 

Our Opinions

We may not be totally hooked by lapbooks, but I’m looking forward to doing A Journey Through Learning’s Parables of a King with the Little Misses.  My children enjoyed being creative while learning, and I am pleased by how little extra work is involved for me.     

 

If you are at all interested in lapbooking, sign up for A Journey Through Learning’s newsletter, available here and get the freebie, An Overview of the 17th Century.  This will give you a chance to see what these lapbooks are like.

 

The TOS Homeschool Crew Website has links to other homeschoolers’ reviews.  

 

Purchase information

The lapbooks are available as instant downloads for $13, as CD’s for $14, or as a printed version for $21, although prices do occasionally vary.  You can also buy unit studies ($13, $14, $21) and notebooks ($8, $9, $12) on some topics.  All prices are in US dollars.  The mini lapbooks, involving only two file folders instead of three, cost slightly less.  To double-check the price of your selection and to order it, you’ll need to click on the cover picture of your choice in A Journey Through Learning’s website 

 

Disclosure Policy:   As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the five lapbooks mentioned above for review.

 

2 Comments

  1. proverbsmama says:

    We bought several lapbooks from Hands of a Child and thought they were pretty neat to put together. Unfortunately, dd didn't feel like she learned much from them. I won't buy them again.

  2. jesmicwilmom says:

    Your review blogs are crisp, clear, and easy to read. Can't tell for sure which Crewmember you are, but you do a good job!

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