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Monday, April 29, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Home School in the Woods 20th Century Lap-Pak

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My children and I have been reviewing the Hands-On History Lap-Pak the 20th Century in America from Home School in the Woods.

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What I discovered is that this is much more than just a lap book. It is really an entire unit study of the 20th century. It comes with a long book list of suggested reading that corresponds with the studies. It also has a pre-written section that you, as the instructor, can choose to read in segments or all at once. You are free to elaborate upon this lesson plan as much, or as little, as you like.

I received this product as a download in PDF format. This only required me to have an Adobe reader installed on my computer. I already had this on my computer that runs on a Windows 7.  If you don’t have it already, it’s a free download from Adobe.com.

It also required using a file folder (you can choose a color of your choice if you like). I used a total of three file folders. I folded one to form the binding and the covers. I then, cut the others to form the additional page flaps that were taped to the cover file folder. I also used colored pencils, packing tape, scissors, a brad pin and glue.

The download came in a Zip File with sets of PDFs for:

-Instructions and Directions
-Lap-Pak Project Masters
-Reading Text Pages

The PDFs included instructions on how to print it.   It presented many choices, such as printing each unit as a group; printing the pages from front to back, or back to front (depending on your type of printer), and gave many printing options to accommodate a variety of printers.  It also allows you to choose whether you want to print it as a half-page booklet or a full-page Lap-Pak.

The Lap-Pak costs $21.95 for the download, or you can order it on a CD for $22.95.

This Lap-Pak is designed to be used with children in grades 3-8. I sat down with with all three children – Ages 12 (Grade 7), age 11 (Grade 5) and age 6 (a Kindergartner doing 1st Grade work) – to present the Lap-Pak and get them all involved as a unit study.

My 11-year-old wanted to read everything out loud when we started, but I eventually took over. As I read, I handed each child the portion of the Lap-Pak that needed to be cut out. I directed them how to cut out individual pieces and then guided them to glue the pieces down onto the booklet. Sometimes, I opted to cut and glue it down, or to put portions of it entirely together myself.

Our favorite was the record player that really turns.  Our kids don't remember record players, except for a Fisher Price one I let them use, but my husband and I got a kick out of playing with this one.

I really liked the way that the Lap-Pak included a detailed synopsis of the major events of the entire 20th century. I was amazed as to how much was covered in the booklet. I also liked how it was broken apart into smaller, bite-sized studies on various aspects:

World Wars
Other Conflicts:  In the Americas & Global
Political Events
Movements that Made a Mark in History
Modern Missionaries
The Stock Market Crash of 1929
Science & Invention in the 20th Century
Medical Advancements
The Space Race
Art Movements of the Modern Era
Accomplishments in Architecture
20th-Century Authors and their Literature
Music of the Century
Transportation in America
News & Media of the 20th Century
Sports Figures Who Made Their Mark in History
People of Interest
Diner Menu "Dining through the Decades"
Fashion through the Decades
Slang Terminology
Timeline of the 20th Century

Just about any possible topic of interest seemed to be covered, with an entire section devoted to it.

I liked how everything was black print, leaving it up to the instructor to decide whether or not to use colored paper or file folders, or to allow the children to color it themselves. I opted for the latter, as my children enjoy coloring very much.

I was happy that it included instructions on how to build and put together the Lap-Pak book. For the most part, I found it very easy to compile by following the instructions.  Some sections served as a bit of a challenge for my youngest, as they required more mature dexterity.  It is definitely appropriately labeled for mid to upper elementary through Middle School - for subject matter, writing activities, and overall dexterity with arts and craft lap scrapbooks.

Please read other Schoolhouse Review Crew reviews on this and other products from Home School in the Woods.


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