Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Schoolhouse Crew Review: In the Hands of a Child

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We've always enjoyed lapbooks. It's a fun, creative way to document what the children are learning about. So, when In the Hands of a Child gave us the opportunity to choose from a huge list of their lapbooks, we were excited. There was MUCH debating between Sassy and MiniMe before they finally agreed that our first choice would be Natural Wonders. And that's what we got!

We received the download version of the Natural Wonders project pack.  This is a ready-to-use lapbook kit to learn about the 7 natural wonders of the world. It includes directions for making a lapbook, printable minibooks for the student to fill out (or, the .pdf is available with a "type it in" option that allows the student to type the answers into the minibooks before printing), a short write-up about each of the natural wonders that gives all the information needed to fill in the minibooks, additional recommended books on the topics, and a schedule for completing the lapbook in 6 days.

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This project pack is intended for grades 4-8. The regular price is $12, but it is currently on sale for $5!!!! (that is an AMAZING bargain!)

As soon as I recieved the download I headed over to my library's online catalog and reserved the recommended books that our library had available. Once they came in, we got started. I printed out one copy of the information about the natural wonders, and also the directions for assembling each lapbook. Then each morning when I gave Sassy and MiniMe their day's assignments, I told them which natural wonder to read about, including checking the library book basket to see if any of the library books related to that topic, and gave them the printouts of that day's minibook(s). I opted to have them hand-write their minibooks because, quite frankly, they need th handwriting practice AND that way they could work on them anywhere, and anytime instead of fighting over my computer.

I opted to spread this over 2 weeks instead of one week, dividing each day's suggested activities in half. That was a good pace for us, with everything else we have going on.

I've used a few other In the Hands of a Child project packs over the years and I have to say, this truly is the GOLD STANDARD of lapbook packs! Of all the lapbooks we've done, theirs are the most complete and well laid-out. The girls were able to do this lapbook completely independently, which was great! Really the only thing that's kept me from using LOTS of their lapbooks over the year is the price. You "get what you pay for" and I do think they are worth the money, but my budget still doesn't allow for many of them. The current sale makes that a non-issue! While we were able to complete this quickly, even with doubling the time suggested, and it would be great to use this, as suggested, if you are looking for a more in-depth, and longer-term, study on the subject, you could easily make this take longer, spending a week or more on each of the natural wonders, using the suggested resources.  So whether you're looking for something quick to fill in a short gap in your other curriculum, or something to last a couple months, this would be a great option!

Since I pretty much turned the girls loose on this one, I asked them to tell me what "our" opinion of this specific lapbook is.  MiniMe, not surprisingly, thinks there should be more extra art projects. Both agreed that it wasn't too challenging, and that the directions for making the minibooks were clear. Sassy found some of the questions "boring" (she's 10, pretty everything is "boring" these days. The fact that she didn't groan and whine when I told her to do the assignments is, in and of itself, high praise, and a sign that, by normal peoples' standards it is NOT boring LOL.

I had to laugh, pretty early on, she declared that it was "too much work" to go through the library basket and read or look at the additional books I'd gotten on the various "wonders".  I decided to not force that as long as she could complete the lapbook without it. Now, as I was asking her what she thought of the lapbook overall, her "complaint" was that there wasn't enough detailed information and there weren't enough pictures. Umm, sweetie, that's what the library books were for!

To see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this and a whole slew of other products from In the Hands of a Child, click the banner, below.


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