Friday, February 19, 2016

Don't know much about U.S. Elections? Lap-Pak from Home School in the Woods (Review)

Goodness, I just LOVE Amy Pak's Home School in the Woods products! Really, you don't hear me gush too often, but I'm telling you, she creates something really special!  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may have seen other Home School in the Woods products that I have reviewed in the past, one as recently as this summer (Home School in the Woods: Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt), as well as near the very beginning of my blogging with the New Testament Activity Pak in Spring 2009, and a couple in-between, Olde World Style Maps in winter 2010, and the Great Empires Review in spring 2013. This time we were sent a very timely and appropriate product for review, HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections.

Eldest is all set to vote in the
Super Tuesday Primary!
For the purposes of our review (especially with this specific pak, given that it *is* an election year, and I have a new "Millennial Voter" in the house), we chose to do this study together, and everyone had a part. This was a great gap-filler/review for my olders, and introduction for my youngest into the political process.

This particular product was sent to us as a digital download. When you open the zip file up it should look something like this:

The easiest way to go about things is to click that "Start" file at the bottom. It will open up in a browser window that has everything laid out for you. You can see that I have the main page open, as well as the Full Page Text, the Project Directions, and the Lapbook Assembly Directions.

The Homes School in the Woods products do require a little organization on our end, but the end product is sooooo worth it! (And so much of the organizing has been done for us, we just need to put it into action!) All the way through, with almost every project, my 18 year old daughter kept exclaiming how neat each one was, and how almost each one surpassed the next. This truly is a product for all ages. :) 

Our Process I decided to print ALL the pieces ahead of time so that we wouldn't have to stop to print before each section. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour to collect the assorted papers/cardstock sheets, put them in the correct order, and to print them.

The text:
One can choose to:

  • Use the audio MP3s (this is great if mom has lost her voice, or even just to give her a break... my kids greatly prefer when I read to them, so we listened to the audio enough to note that it is read by a very pleasant male voice)
  • ***Read aloud (via the "Full Page Text")*** (This was our choice)
  • Have the student independently read the printable booklet. (We didn't print it up ourselves, so I'm including a photo of the booklet for your information)

Projects for Lap-Pak:
When completing the projects, it is important to use and follow the project directions, as some answers are found there, and not in the text.
cooperative coloring project between 8 and 18 year olds
  • Mom read the text out loud (With the exception of our brief foray into the well done audio).
  • Eldest (who has an affinity for things paper-pieced) was in charge of the cutting/pasting/assembling of each project. She also helped out with some of the coloring, which ended up being a cooperative effort. 
  • Middlest was mostly responsible for anything that required being hand-written, as well as being on the hook to help answer questions. He did a little bit of cutting, and coloring as well. 
  • Youngest did the majority of the coloring, and was also involved in answering questions, "dictating" some of them to his older brother. ;)
A few things to note: There are 21 different labbook projects which correspond to the text. I didn't time it, but I would guess that if you do 2-3 projects/day it will take about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes (depending on your student, whether they are coloring in detail, or whether you simply print on colored paper, with no coloring), reading to finished project. You choose how much time to spend by how much you do each day.
*You should allow for 1-2 hours to assemble the lapbook once all the project pieces are assembled, and you will probably go through almost an entire roll of double stick tape. :) 

Finished Lapbook

Here are some more photos of our project with a few closer details (kids were camera shy as everyone is dealing with colds and feeling a little miserable, so you just get to see their handiwork):

As you can see, my 18 year old daughter had fun adding some detail to various parts of different projects~ stars, stripes, and fireworks, anyone? This was very enjoyable to do as a family project. As I mentioned before, it was definitely a good review/gap-filler for my older children, as well as a good introduction to the political process for our youngest. Now he understands more of what we're talking about as we've listened to some of the debates and have discussed the caucus and primaries that have taken place thus far. I highly recommend the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak for any homeschool. 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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