Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Home School in the Woods: US Elections Lap-pak {TOS Review}

With this year being an election year, the HISTORY Through the Ages Hands On History Lap-Pak: US Elections from Home School in the Woods was a very timely project! My two older children, Mikaela and Eli, who are in 7th and 5th grades, respectively, were lucky enough to review this! We received one PDF download of the US Elections Lap-Pak to review.

What is a Lap-Pak? That was my first question, as I had never used Home School in the Woods {HITW} products before. A Lap-Pak is a kit with all of the materials needed to make a lap-book. Included in this Lap-Pak are the printable reading materials you need, including the text on audio, 21 hands-on lap booking projects, and the instructions on assembling the projects and the finished lapbook.

{A finished example of the lapbook}
The reading material comes in two different formats to print - full page text or a 24-page booklet. I chose to print it full page, stapling the left side together. This worked well for me. You could even put it in a 3-ring binder or 3-prong folder. There are printing instructions for the booklet, if you choose to do that.

{Example of the printed booklet}
US Elections takes you through the establishment of our government, the process of a presidential campaign and how voters elect a president. It begins with how government first came into existence, why the different types of government have failed, and how our government works, including the branches of government. Then it gives an overview of some of the major parties and how they came about. Finally, it goes through the campaign, debates, and election of the president.

The audio text is great. There are over 60 minutes of audio! Each reading assignment specifies which minute of audio to start on. We listened to it a few times while cutting and gluing our projects together. I prefer to read it to the kids, though. I learn more that way! The audio would be great for a busy mom or older children who work more independently.

{Eli is cutting out a project while listening to the audio}

There is a lapbook project that corresponds with each reading assignment. The lapbook projects are really neat! Some are more time-consuming than others, but they are all pretty simple to create. There are illustrated, printable instructions for each project, which helped me as I am a visual learner. The instructions are very easy to follow and include suggestions for printing on colored paper.

There are also options to print some of the projects with lines {space to write your own information} or printed text {where your child doesn't have to fill in the information}. This is really nice option for kids who don't like to write, like my Eli. There isn't a ton of writing involved, but I was still pleased to see this in the printing options.

{An option with the printed text}

You will need a few simple supplies for your Lap-Pak: colored paper, white paper, a printer and ink, scissors, an exacto knife, double-sided tape, a glue stick, metal paper fasteners, some acetate, glitter, colored pencils,  and, of course, file folders.
{Examples of some of Mikaela's completed projects}
There are 21 projects in this Lap-Pak:

Definition of “Election”
 Different Forms of Government
 The American Experiment
 The Three Branches of Government
 Who Do We Vote For?
 Terms of Office
 A “Handful” of Political Parties
 Caucuses & Primaries
 National Conventions
 The Presidential Campaign: Platform
 The Presidential Campaign: Stump Speaking
 The Presidential Campaign: Media — News Source
 The Presidential Campaign: Campaign Advertising — Spreading the Word!
 Raising Money
 Election Day
 The Electoral College
 Inauguration Day
 The Electoral Race!
 The “Vocabinet”

We used this Lap-Pak around 3 times a week. I would read the assignment while Mikaela and Eli cut out their project pieces. After I read, we would discuss a little, and I would try to answer some questions they had. Then we would complete the project for the day. It took us around 10-30 minutes a day to finish. We aren't quite through with it, but we will finish it and assemble the lap-book!

I really like the way this Lap-Pak is set up. The instructions are easy to understand, and the illustrations are very helpful. A few of the projects are complex and take a little more time to complete than the rest, but nothing is complicated. We found that double-sided tape works much better than glue sticks when assembling the projects! The reading material is very clear and interesting to read and listen to. The three of us are learning a lot about the election process and government in general. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is interested in how the election process works, especially with 2016 being an election year.

You could also expand on these topics, add some extra reading and researching, and make this a complete course for a semester.

The US Elections Lap-Pak is available as a download {$18.95} or on CD {$19.95}. The suggested grade level is 3rd through 8th, but this would work even for high school.

Also available are "The 20th Century in America" and "Wonders of the World". There are two Lap-Paks available for grades K-2 - "Benjamin Franklin" and "Knights".

Check out their website for even more great products!


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