Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks


Jumping Frogs and Leaping Lizards! We had the opportunity to review several lapbooks created by A Journey Through Learning authors Nancy Fileccia and Paula Winget. TOS Crewmembers received five lapbooks to download and choose from for reviews. My boys chose Amphibians, designed for second through sixth graders and Reptiles for second through seventh graders.

First, let me say that I only recently heard of lapbooks. Initially, I thought that they were just little, lap-sized books for pre-schoolers. At that point, I had no interest in trying to make any for our homeschool learning program. Then I asked around and discovered that “lapbook” actually means “learning scrapbook". Ah! So that’s why lapbooks are so popular in the homeschooling movement.

Not being very good at crafts and yet still being interested in designs and art, I was curious about this other type of scrapbooking that would include learning. And who knew? I, the left brainer, two-left thumber, actually learned how to make a craft with my children!

Though I am not, my children are kinesthetic learners. Lapbooking was the perfect opportunity for my children to try hands-on learning.

After downloading the e-books, we selected our folders and assembled them as instructed. First, we had to learn what hamburger and hotdog folds were and how they related to lapbooking. There was a fair amount of cutting, folding and pasting. Fortunately, each page of the lapbook came with good directions so the boys were able to do most of it independently. They clipped the pictures and mini-booklets and glued or stapled them into place. One cut and glued while the other read from the study guide. Of course, we all viewed the pictures and discussed the materials. They took turns at the computer. (I only printed the "scrapbooking" portion of the lapbooks, keeping the study guide and educational information on my laptop for easy reference. Each boy did the hands-on work on his own lapbook but both learned from each other's projects while listening to the reading aloud and looking at his brother's completed work.)

These books are designed to take about a month but you can choose how much time or what schedule in which to work on the lapbooks. We dedicated several days to doing nothing but the lapbooks. Since I'm not a person who can deal with paper clippings on the floor or things spread out in our little rooms for a whole month, doing it this way was great for me and for the boys. They learned it better as well because of being able to focus specifically on this topic.

Each lapbook had educational information as well as pages on which to list extra reading. It also had NICK NOTES for the boys to write down quick reference notes in summary of the information they read. This came in handy as we borrowed from the library several books and videos about the topics as well.

Here is what each of the lapbooks chosen by my boys contained.

Reptiles. Turtles, lizards and snake defense, venomous or non-venomous snakes, what to do about snake bites, info on reptile eggs, crocodiles, habitat and characteristics of reptiles.

Amphibians. Life Cycles and defense systems, differences between frogs and toads, lists of amphibians, food chain and diet as well as tons of pictures and vocabulary lists.

We were, however surprised to learn of some characteristics of these animals about which we had no previous knowledge and wished that the lapbook had more information on these characteristics. They were pretty thorough on most things, though.

Both were creatively designed and skillfully organized, making it more likely that a non-crafty person like me would be able to do it. In fact, I may even try the other lapbooks we received (Since I'm not too into the craft end of it, we may do them like more a unit study or old-fashioned scrapboook and glue the pictures and "booklets" into a notebook. Instead, we followed the instructions for the two we already did.)

The other lapbooks we received were: Parables of King, Autumn and Desert. I read through each and thought they were quite detailed and interesting.

Parables of a King looked very attractive to me. Based on the parables of Jesus in the Gospels, it seems to blend information from biblical and agricultural type topics to make it educational on a spiritual and physical level both.

Autumn also looks appealing. It contains recipes for Fall (reminding me of my New England Heritage), a list of holidays and biblical feast found in Autumn, calendars, vocabulary lists, facts about bird migration and a plethora of other info.

Desert contains information of vegetation and wildlife on the desert, climate, creatures (mammals, reptiles, birds and people), as well as locations on five continents and loads of colorful pictures and illustrations.

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and Unit Studies has many more options on a variety of topics.

The lapbooks I reviewed books price for: $13 for the downloadable version, $14 for a CD ROM and $21.00 for the print version. You can visit the web link below to order or see sample pages. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter so you can receive updated codes and discounts on products.

To read more reviews from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Homeschool Review Crew, visit the banners on the right top and bottom sidebars of my Leaders in Learning blog. Clicking on the links will take you directly to the crew pages where you can read more about this product and other great choices.


JoJo Tabares said...

My son loves unit studies.

Cristy said...

We love lapbooks. We have done several, and the kids are always excited when we do another one. They don't realize they are learning until it's all over. And the number of folds you can do for mini books are amazing. We are doing one on inventors that is three folders put together. Like the review.

oneblessedmamma said...

Hey! Will you copy and paste your review into an e-mail and post it to the homeschool group? I like your review better than mine, LOL. We will probably overwhelm everyone if all three of us post our reviews, but at least one of us should post it each time.

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

Thank you, ladies. Amy, I'd be glad to post it. :>)