Monday, April 1, 2013

TOS CREW Review- A Journey Through Learning

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks is a delightful company created and owned by two best friends, Paula and Nancy.  Started on a whim to fill in the gap of much needed hands on materials for their own children, this company has since grown to include lapbooks, notebooking pages, copywork practice sheets and unit studies that support Apologia, Veggie Tales, Truth Quest History and more.  Between the $1.00 Quick lapbooks, a $5.00 lapbook of the month, and tons of amazing, reasonably priced lapbooks and unit studies, you can teach your children for years to come! 

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For the past four weeks we have had the privilege to review FOUR of A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks using the downloadable versions.  The downloads are easy to use. Just download the product you chose, copy the pages on white or colored paper and go! New to lapbooking? You will need two to three file folders to make each lapbook. All it takes is a few easy folds, which are illustrated in the printed material for those who need a little guidance.

What we received-

Letters, Numbers and Shapes is intended for early learners.  This lapbook includes letter and number recognition, counting and shapes.
  Instant download-$13.00
The Earth, a lapbook for grades 1st-4th, covers the Earth- from the layers of the earth to the layers to the atmosphere to everything in between.
  Instant download-$13.00
Knights and Castles, our favorite lapbook, is for grades 2nd-7th.  Here you will learn about the middle ages, and the knights that lived them.  From what they wore, to the weapons they carried, your child will soon want to become a knight!
  Instant download-$13.00
  Printed- $21.00
Astronomy and Space Unit Study is a little different as it is not an actual cut and paste lapbook.  Instead it is a unit study intended for grades 2nd-7th, including sections to read followed by questions to answer.
  Instant download-$13.00

How we used these products-

I was not sure we would use the Letters, Numbers and Shapes once we got the downloads, but since CJ had never done a lapbook before and because he wanted to do one like his older brother, we jumped in.  I am so glad we did!  Though he is on the upper age limit for this particular lapbook, we had such fun with it.  Each page provided an extra opportunity for him to review concepts he already knew, but they also gave him the opportunity to practice his cutting, gluing and coloring skills.  No small thing for a 5 year old BOY! 

One of the fun things about these lapbooks is that they come with several additional resources.  For Letters, Numbers and Shapes there were finger plays,  game suggestions and other related activities, recommended book lists and an A-Z list of things to do with each letter.

How do I know he liked it?  Once he was finished, he wanted to show everyone!  Now that we are done, he pulls it out frequently to look through it by himself.

For my 11year old son, currently a 5th grader, we tried out the Knights and Castles lapbook as well as The Earth.  Because of the higher levels these lapbooks are presented a little differently.  Each day you have a page or so to read teaching you the lesson for the day.  Then the child notebooks the facts learned into various little books which they will then cut out, assemble and glue into their lapbooks.  I love notebooking, but have found in the past that it can intimidate my son.  He just seems to look at a large piece of notebook paper and freeze up.  By having a smaller scale "book" to write in, he was more easily engaged and complained a lot less!  Yea!  The Knights and Castles Lapbook was, by far, his favorite, but we enjoyed doing both.  I even noticed that he had pulled out many of his knights books in his room once we began this study.  There is no doubt that the lapbook fostered a desire to know more and therefore could be used easily in a unit study.  Included also in these lapbooks are additional book lists and resource guides as well as additional activities to do to take your learning to the next level. 

Now that we have completed the first three lapbooks we have decided to continue on, starting today, with the Astronomy and Space unit study.  Again, I just printed out the study but this time bound it so it would be easy to use in a book form.  Why do I love this study already?  The very first thing you will see when you start is Genesis 1 quoted and then copy work using Genesis 1:2!  Trust me from experience when I tell you that finding a science program of any kind that teaches Creation is hard!  I was thrilled to find it in a unit study!  From the first lesson, your child will read a section of information and then answer a few questions about what they learned.  Some readings are followed by a fun activity such as making a diorama of outer space or making Sun S'mores.  Throughout the study are underlined vocabulary words that can be defined in the back pages of your study, resulting in your own little space dictionary.  There is also a book report template, with versions of it for older children as well as younger children.

So what do we think?
We have done a few lapbooks in the past with my two older girls, and quite honestly, I was not sold on the concept.  But, hey, a girl can change her mind, right?  I love this company!  I love their lapbooks!  I love that they have ones to go with holidays, historical events and other popular homeschool companies.  For my girls, I think we got to caught up in the artsy side of things and got distracted from the learning.  But this time around I found that the lapbooking helped my boys focus in on the lesson and what I was reading to them.  The smaller scale of notebooking in the mini books intimidated them less and allowed them to really enjoy what they were learning.  The cutting and pasting even encouraged them to slow down and pay attention to what they were doing!  The only complaint my oldest son had was that he thought the pictures on the mini books were a bit babyish for his age group. We would have loved to have seen more museum quality pictures, rather than cartoon type ones.

Will we do more?  You bet!  I already have a growing list of the ones next on our agenda!


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