Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Home School in the Woods - New Testament Activity Pak

You may have heard about lapbooking, but not quite sure exactly what it means. Lapbooking is a hands-on activity that results in a creative portfolio of subject matter studied and learned, typically of a single topic. Students create mini-books, paper crafts, pop-up displays, time lines, pictures and more to arrange on a file folder or poster board, which can easily be filed away as a record or for future review. Think scrapbooking with an injection of homeschooling. Much like scrapbooking, those that are not familiar with the process may be intimidated by the impressive results, especially those that claim to be craft-challenged. I would definitely fall within that category and have never mustered up the courage to try a lapbook. That was, until, Home School in the Woods sent me their New Testament Activity Pak.
Home School in the Woods is a company that is "committed to the educating, training, loving, nurturing, and raising up of our sons and daughters in the knowledge of Jesus Christ to be heirs of His kingdom and ambassadors of His calling..." through their history products. I was sent the digital version of the New Testament Activity-Pak for grades 3-8, one of the three available Activity-Pak topics available.

The download for this product comes in 10 files, a total of 92 pages of detailed instructions and images. There are seventeen projects included.

1. The Lineage from David to Jesus
2. Triptych of the Birth of Jesus Christ
3. Miracles of Jesus
4. The Beatitudes Pie Book
5. Fruit of the Spirit
6. The Parables of Jesus
7. The Last Supper
8. The Crucifixion
9. The Ascension
10. Pentecost
11. The Resurrection
12. Prophesies Fulfilled
13. The Twelve Disciples
14. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
15. Postcards from Paul
16. “The New Testament News”
17. The Armor of God

The first fifteen are for the lapbook and the last two are stand-alone projects. You can see pictures of these last two projects at the bottom of the photo above.

One of the first things I noticed was the wonderful illustrations. I soon found out that Amy Pak, owner of Home School in the Woods, is the artist of these detailed pictures. The second thing I noticed was that the instructions were clear, including a photo gallery file to give users and idea of what the end project should look like. In addition to the download, card stock (white and colored), paper (white and colored), a file folder, color pencils, glue sticks, double-sided tape, scissors, single-hole punch, paper fasteners, clear tape, velcro, an exacto knife and a functional printer are needed to complete the lapbook.

Some of the projects are quite simple and others a little more involved, so this really would be a great for a variety of ages to work together. I would suggest sticking with colored pencils since markers will smear and the end result looks better than crayons. For the hands-on learner who likes crafty projects, a lapbook would be a great end to a unit study. The components could also be made throughout the study and concluded with the assembly. Neither of my children are fond of cut, color and assemble type projects, so I did this project solo. I'll admit, I was rather curious if I could pull it off. This would be a true test of the product's usability.

News Alert: Craft-challenged Mom Tackles Lapbook

I can't say my results look as good as the example, but I do think they are respectable for a non-crafty mom's first attempt at a lapbook. I used a pocket folder instead of a file folder, since that is what I had on hand. The pocket folder worked, but I think a file folder would have been better. If I were to do it again, I would have color-coordinated the cardstock, folder and paper and not have gone so lightly with the colored pencil. The pie-shaped book (top right picture, upper right-hand corner) looked complicated at first, but I was able to follow the step-by-step directions with no problems. My only complaint would be all the printing that needed to be done, but that obviously can't be avoided. Older kids would have easily done this entire project on their own. Younger children may need some help with the cutting and assembly.

If you think you'd like to give lapbooking a try with your children, this Activity-Pak would be a great start! Those that are familiar with lapbooking are sure to be pleased with the quality as well. It is available as a download for $18.95 or on CD for $19.95 plus shipping. Be sure to check out the History Through the Ages timeline products and the Time Traveler's history-based activity studies also available at Home School in the Woods.

Visit the TOS Crew Official Blog to read more reviews on this product.

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