Prior to this, we had never done any kind of lap book. We'd been curious about what they entailed, having heard about them from homeschooling friends, so we were happy to give this U.S. Elections Lap-pak a shot. We received the downloadable version of HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections. (You can also order this product on CD.) This included:
The lap-pak is loaded with well-written information that my daughter, Big Sis, found absolutely intriguing. She was passionately interested and the study spurred many more questions and lots of productive discussions about the U.S. government and elections. While this lap book study could take several weeks or even a few months to get through, Big Sis asked to work on our "elections pak" every day, which put us well ahead of our planned schedule and we have nearly completed the project in just over a month. Nonetheless, because of the density of information in this product, we plan to continue studying the U.S. election process over the next several months, along with this year's presidential elections, continuing to review and return to the lap book as a reference throughout.
To be honest, it's a lot of work in terms of preparation and assembly. We spent about two hours total, added up over time, printing and cutting out the pieces, and I'd estimate another three or four (added up, over time) in assembling the projects - things like gluing, taping, gathering materials, punching holes, adding glitter, and coloring. Luckily, however, when you spread out the material over many weeks, the time per day and per project is usually minor: possibly as low as 5 or as much as 20 minutes per project (depending on how much coloring one desires to do). But those estimates do not include time spent on the learning aspects such as reading, listening to the audio, researching, or writing. This could, therefore, be an issue for someone looking for everything to be ready-made and already put together, or for those that don't enjoy crafting, coloring, cutting, gluing, and assembling small projects. For others, that will be part of the fun! There is never a homeschool material or curriculum that is perfect for every family. But if you or your child enjoy lap books, projects, and/or crafts, then this could be right up your alley!
My daughter was one of those that love the prep and assembly. I felt it was worth it and am glad we spent the time on it. All our effort resulted in a finished product that was something my daughter could be - and very much is - proud of. She now has something substantial to showcase what she has learned and can reference in the months to come, leading up to the presidential elections this fall, whenever she has questions or needs to refresh her memory. This was nothing like filling out a worksheet that will soon be forgotten or taking notes that all look the same and she likely would never look at again. Instead, this was- especially for my daughter- an enjoyable process that piqued her curiosity and interest in elections, our government, and politics in a way that left her hungry for more, yet with a good initial foundation and overall view of things that gives her the framework she needs for further research and digging deeper into the topic.
Some of our favorite projects included a pop up that showed presidential candidates in a debate and an audience listening, a project that has a fabric curtain (we used felt, which was a bit thick but worked well enough), and the one that shows the steps that lead to an election with a man that slides from one side to the other. Generally, my daughter's top choices were those that were more unique in appearance or design. A few of the projects were more simple, such as a folded page with an image or words inside or a little booklet that was folded and stapled together. Overall, the projects were varied enough from one to the next, providing contrast, visual interest, and hands-on depth. For my visual and hands-on learner, this was a huge plus!
The accompanying written text was concise and to the point. It is not highly in-depth or full of details, but from my understanding, it was not designed to be so. I'd say that it's goal seemed to be to give an overall tour of the U.S. election system and government structure, allowing for a solid understanding of the major points and most important or helpful-to-know facts. Of course, they also offer a list of resources for further reading and study. This is helpful and can really expand on the information presented in the Lap-Pak itself. I found it to be a perfect start for my daughter and she found the text easy to understand and was not at all overwhelmed with too many particulars. We also utilized the provided audio narration of the text, maximizing our homeschool and home life time by studying and reviewing what we had read while folding and sorting laundry. So we got some education and some housework done! Win-win!
All in all, Home School in the Woods' "HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections" was a product that we quite enjoyed working on (as evidenced by the fact that we blazed though much of it because my daughter just couldn't get enough)! If you are interested in learning more about this lap-pak or want to know what other products Home School in the Woods offers, you can find them at their website, on Facebook, at Google+, on Pinterest, or follow them on Twitter. And if you'd like to read others' opinions about the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak, click on the banner below for more!
I'm a homeschooling mom of three, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.