Monday, September 28, 2009
A Journey Through Learning Lapbook Review
A Journey Through Learning was kind enough to allow the TOS Crew to review five different lapbooks from their numerous offerings. Of those five, each of my older children chose one to work on, so we were able to be working on three different lapbooks at the same time.
If you aren't familiar with lapbooking, it is a way of taking information that your student is learning about whatever they are studying, and summarizing that information in small foldable booklets that you glue into a larger "lapbook". (Usually those larger lapbooks are made out of file folders.) Lapbooks allow the student to preserve the knowledge they acquire about each subject in fun "bite sized" pieces that are usually quiet colorful in presentation too. Anyone can make a lapbook about anything, and you don't need a purchased kit to do it, but it SURE is helpful to have someone else create all the foldables and gather all the graphics and plan the layout, etc.
That's where A Journey Through Learning comes in. Their products are really unit studies and lapbooks combined, in that most of the lapbooks that you purchase from them also contain a study guide, so ALL the information you need to complete your lapbook is ALREADY THERE. It's like "Lapbooking for Dummies". This type of lapbooking even an inexperienced lapbooker like me can do! Now, if you want to supplement what your child studies, they also have suggested resources to go to for more information, but you can completely cover the subject of the lapbook you buy from A Journey Through Learning without ever cracking open another resource, which is great for me, because it means we might actually get it done! They offer more lapbooks that I can count, so the best way to view all their offerings is to go HERE, where you can view sample pages as well. The lapbooks we have been working on are "Autumn", "Reptiles", and "Amphibians". Since these lapbooks are designed to take a month to complete, we aren't done with ours, but the kids and I have really been LOVING working through them. Wondering what a lapbook covers? Autumn covers holidays, recipes, the science of leaves changing colors, bird migration and the first Thanksgiving, just to name a few topics.
The pros? These lapbooks come in 3 formats: e-book, CD, and print version. You can chose which one you want, according to your particular needs. We received the e-books, and they are great. These lapbooks contain FULL color mini-booklets -not the regular black and white like some. They feature unique shapes and graphics specific to the study (in the Reptile Lapbook, one of the mini-booklets is shaped like a turtle and another has photo images of the life cycle of a snake). You receive step-by-step directions on each page for how to fold the mini-book and what to write on it. You also get a full color layout guide for the finished project which is 3 file folders large. They really are VERY impressive. And I LOVED that I could take a page of information and the corresponding mini-booklet, and put that in each child's workbox, and viola! Science was done for the day! Amazing! Most of their lapbooks are geared toward 2nd/3rd grade through 7th/8th grade, so that is perfect for my kiddos too.
The cons? Some of the images, like the above mentioned "life cycle of a snake", are hard to see clearly. That may have been my printer, but still it's hard to see what one of the pictures is meant to be. And there are a few typos, particularly in the Amphibians book. Also, I found in the Amphibians book that the page order was not nearly as intuitive as the other books were. But other than that, which just taught me to carefully look over the whole thing before selecting assignments for the kids, we used them without problem.
The bottom line? These lapbooks have solidly made me a lapbooking fan. And they showed me that having each child work on a different book was something that worked for our household. And because everything is included in the lapbooks, I was able to let each child have their own and not make myself batty in the mean time-it was really revolutionary in our homeschool. At $13 for the instant download e-book, $14 for the CD, or $21 for the print version (shipping is free and that includes 3 file folders too), I don't know that it is really feasible for us to buy a TON of them right now, but by buying 3 e-books (and letting them rotate) I would have 3 months worth of science or history or literature for my kids in an easy, fun format that we are all enjoying. I don't think that's bad, cost wise, and it certainly is worth it from a sanity perspective!
To purchase or view a lapbook from A Journey Through Learning, go HERE.
To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.