Monday, April 29, 2013

REVIEW: Hands-On History: 20th Century in America Lap-Pak by Home School in the Woods

The kids and I had such an awesome opportunity to complete the Hands-On History: 20th Century in America Lap-Pak by Home School in the Woods.



The Hands-On History: 20th Century in America Lap-Pak is a comprehensive lapbook kit that helps you and your children study the events and culture of 20th century America. 

You’ll cover a myriad of topics (22 different topics, in fact!)…everything from world wars and literature to food and fashion.  There’s something of interest for every child in the variety of topics included!  To see the complete list of included topics, scroll to the bottom of this page on the vendor’s website.

This kit takes lapbooks to a whole new level, but I’ll tell you more about that in our experiences below.

This product is targeted at grades 3-8 and is available in a downloadable format for just $21.95 or on CD for $22.95 plus shipping. 





My children have never before attempted any lapbook projects, and to be honest, I just didn’t know that much about them.  But we’ve developed more of an interest in finding projects that my kids of varying ages can work on together this year, and this looked like something that fit the bill.

My 8-year old daughter, Haylee, and my 13-year old son, Hayden, worked on this project together with me.  They were really excited to give this project a try!  Part of what peaked their interest was the variety of topics included.  Obviously, their interests at their varying ages and genders are quite different, but both of them saw topics on the list that appealed to them, so they were looking forward to working on this as a group project.

We received the downloadable version.  It included an html page that acted as a menu of sorts.  It divided the topics up and had buttons to click on for each page of the respective topics.  Following the instruction letter, I found this menu easy and convenient to use, as I could easily locate the pages I needed as I printed them on either colored or white cardstock and colored or white paper, as instructed.  One quick trip to the store to purchase the cardstock and colored paper, and we were off!  I chose to print up all of the projects, 2 sets of each, up front and organized them into pocket folders for each child in the order they’d be completed.  I printed up the 32-page educational booklet, laminated the cover, and bound it together for us to share.  Then I took out two sets of colored pencils and sharpened them before we began, gathered up some glue sticks and scissors, and we were ready to begin!

We set out to try to accomplish four projects a week at a rate of one project per day for four daysDSCF0421 a week.  As the instructor, I’d read aloud the information about a particular topic from the booklet to them, and then I’d give them their supplies for the project and give them directions for assembly.  Once assembled, there was usually some research that we had to do about the topic.  We mostly used Wikipedia to find out what we needed to know.  Much of the information was provided in the booklet for some of the projects, but others relied solely or mostly on our own research in order to complete the information that the kids had to write inside the elements for the lapbook.  So after coloring, cutting, gluing, researching, and filling in the required information, we stored each project in a zippered storage bag in the back of their pocket folders until we completed all 22 projects and were ready to assemble the lapbook.

Some of the projects gave lists of suggested people to study within the topic, like with musicians or sports figures.  The kids found they really enjoyed those opportunities to vary their studies from one another.  Sometimes they chose people in common, but they also chose others so they could make their lapbooks a little different from each other.  That was great!  I very much enjoyed watching them work together on their projects, but it was also neat to see the way they varied their studies and let their own unique interests and personalities shine through.

We were very impressed with the quality and interactive nature of the individual projects in the DSCF0422lapbook.  The medicine project, for instance, had them create a syringe from cardstock with a cutout window in it, and it contained plungers that you could slide up and down to reveal information through the window.  The project on artists looked like a paint palette, with each lift-able paint color revealing a description of a different period of art.  The sports project had them create their own trading cards that were held within a ticket pouch.  There was also a miniature newspaper they got to illustrate for the media project, and they created a little cardstock record player where the record spun around to reveal information about different kinds of music through little cutout windows in the record.  These are just a handful of the highly unique and interactive projects they completed for this lapbook.

My kids absolutely LOVED this lapbook.  They both told me that they wished we could complete more lapbooks together on other topics in the future.  I immediately set out to research what else was available for them.  This product is the only Lap-Pak available at this time from Home School in the Woods, so I will anxiously await what other new creations they offer in the future.  I did notice their History Through the Ages: Time Traveler kits, which include lapbooks among other hands-on projects, and those look really great.  I have to say that I think we’ve been spoiled by this having been our first lapbook experience, because I didn’t find any lapbooks offered by any other vendors that held a candle to the attractiveness and ease of use of this wonderful product!  I can tell that without a doubt, Home School in the Woods took the concept of a lapbook and went beyond the usual to create something truly exceptional.  This is one of those cases where you truly get what you pay for, and I can’t imagine you’d be disappointed!

At just $21.95 for the downloadable version, you just can’t go wrong with this kit.  That’s just $1 per project, and it sparked lots of learning, research, discussion, and working together between my kids that has been unmatched in the past.  I can’t say enough good things about this product!

Take a look at what other Crew members had to say about this and other products from Home School in the Woods by clicking the banner below.


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