Monday, September 28, 2009

TOS Review: A Journey Through Learning

You kind of like lapbooking, am I right?

You like the idea of it.

And the end product? How cute is that?

It looks like something that your kids would enjoy, if only you could figure out exactly how put it all together. All those little pieces. And those mini-books. And what on earth is up with those little bradded wheel-dohickeys?

I kind of like lapbooking, too.

But my kids ... well, they love lapbooking. They love it so much that they will actually beg me to come up with some lapbook project that they can throw themselves into. Then, when the folder is finished, they will wait impatiently for Dad to get home from work so that they can vie nosily for his attention as they rattle off the parts of a bee, or pester him to lift flaps to reveal miniatures of various Van Gogh masterpieces, or take their mim flash-card quiz.

Yes, my kids love lapbooks.

But I have to admit, they're a lot of work. I've managed to churn out a couple of completely independent ones over the years. More often than not, I've taken the prepared bits of someone else's ideas and morphed them into a lapbook I know my own family will enjoy. Very, very rarely have I taken a pre-written lapbook project and followed it to the letter. Why? Well ... the truth is ...

Most of them just aren't that good.

Maybe I'm too picky. Or maybe my kids are just a little too ... unique? Maybe it's because so many lapbooks are really designed with early elementary kids in mind. I'm not sure. All I know is that very few lapbook ideas excite me.

A Journey Through Learning
, though, is a little different. First and foremost, their lapbooks are in color. I don't know about you, but I hesitate to pay for grey-scale, line-drawing type lapbooks. I can pull generic lapbook elements off the internet and put together my own ideas if that's all the publisher is selling. A Journey Through Learning's lapbooks, though, are professional and thorough, with directions on assembly, cues for placing specific elements, and detailed text to give meaning to the handiwork your lapbookers are engaging in.

In addition, these lapbooks follow rabbit trails that give a certain depth to their topics. For example, a lapbook on autumn doesn't just stick to leaves and pumpkins. Oh, those important symbols are included (and examined quite thoroughly!). But one side street leads to Thanksgiving. Another meanders to bird nests. Still another follows paths of migration. And yet another leads to autumn recipes.

See? Depth.

A Journey Through Learning lapbooks don't stop at creating a cute keepsake alone. Notebooking and narration are encouraged, and a book log is included for noting other resources that complement the study. A few hands-on activities are sited, as well, extending the learning even further. Topics are varied; I received five lapbooks that touched on eco-systems, seasons, animals and Biblical truths. Each one was a quality unit study in and of itself, with the lapbook as the centerpiece project for a full slate of learning.

A Journey Through Learning lapbooks are available for instant download for $13 each. They are reusable, customizable and chock full of ineteresting nuggets that are bound to take your kids down rabbit trails of their own.

But you do still have to clean up the snippets of paper left over from all that cutting and pasting. Sorry.


Karla @ Ramblin' Roads said...

Yep. I'm right there with ya. They're awfully fiddly, and I've shied away from them before... but I've discovered that my 14yo loves 'em. And she learns best with LOTS of repetition (I mean LOTS... way more than the average child) so this has turned out to be a great way to reinforce (and repeat yet again) the important concepts she really needs to know! I was so impressed with A Journey Through Learning that I splurged and bought the century overview lapbooks for the highlights of American history. We're making a scrapbook with the pieces instead of individual lapbooks. She's loving it! And hopefully, learning.

Beth said...

Just wanted to say thank you for all of your great homeschool reviews! I have found several very helpful... I'm going to try one of these lapbooks with my kiddos. I think they may love it :-)

Kate said...

Loved their lap-books and I received the one I wanted free just for singing up for their newsletter. Thanks for the great resource.

The Hayes Zoo said...

MG -

Yet another reason I think you and I would get along famously. :)

I detest crafts. My children love them. They are the bane of my existence. Well..that might be exaggerating just a wee bit.

I tiptoed into the Lapbooking idea melding it with a core for the art and craft side that is seriously lacking for my children. It's ok. I need extra coffee on craft days to cope.

I may see what you've got here....:)

ThyHandHathProvided said...

Thank you for this review. My kids drool over other kids' lap books when they see them, but we haven't tried one yet- I've been afraid. I visited A Journey Through Learning and ordered the 17th Century lap book in print. I'm not even willing to print these days, oh my. I'm excited about it and can't wait to surprise Sam:-).