Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
History really comes to life when you have access to great materials like those produced by Home School in the Woods. Our family has had the opportunity to use and review a variety of resources from Home School in the Woods including a Project Passport World History Study, a lap-pak for elementary students, and other homeschooling resources. When the opportunity arose to review another product, we chose to review the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak. With this being an election year, and our teen son studying American government, I knew that this would be a great asset for our homeschool. The entire election process may seem like a normal part of our adult life and – as Home School in the Wood shares on their blog – we learn about these electoral processes as we grow up in a republic.
Home School in the Woods is run by the Pak family who give the glory of their business to God. They started with realistic timeline figures in 2002 and continue to add to their collection of homeschooling materials. So whether you prefer to take a Charlotte Mason approach to your homeschool or you are looking to teach children with different learning styles, Home School in the Woods offers many excellent resources from their blog to their many resources that you can use in your homeschool.
What Do You Get?
With the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak you decide upon one of three license types and between a digital download or CD. We received the digital download for our review for use with our homeschooling family. There are 21 lap booking projects in total to teach your children about elections and the election process. Activities include those that promote creative writing, coloring and drawing, research, reading and comprehension, and more skills. (You will need to print everything yourself – see my advice below.)
For each activity, you can use the Project Directions to help you figure out just what pages to print and on what kind of paper (there are instances where they recommend printing the pages on cardstock or different colored paper). Let's take a look at activity number 8: A "Handful" of Political Parties as you complete this in your homeschool. From the Project Directions (as you can see below), you will need to print two pages and gather together scissors and a glue stick or double-sided sticky tape (I prefer to use the double-sided tape for some projects but I have found the glue stick works well for most of the activities). The instructions are quite detailed and explain what to cut out and attach so you can finish your project.
You can also find out where you can listen to the reading from the text for information about the political parties precisely in the audio file. These links are available from the Start Here file that you download. You click on Political Parties-1 (base) and Political Parties-2 (text) to find the necessary downloads and you can even view a photo of a completed project.
|Our son's project as we worked on it.|
|The sample from the instructions.|
How Did We Use the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak in Our Homeschool?
We used the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak primarily with our first-grader (please keep in mind the activities are designed for grades 3-8). I printed out the reading text as a 24-page booklet which we read through as well as used the audio that accompanied our digital download. It was very nice to have the audio play so I did not have read the entire booklet aloud to our son myself. We followed the activities mostly as they were laid out in the instructions prior to my picking and choosing ones to complete this past week. We still have a few projects left as well as the putting together of the entire lap book itself.
During the past few weeks, we learned about the different forms of government (our son really liked the second activity and proudly walked around explaining the governments and definitions), how other nations impacted the type of government the United States has, and how long the president, vice president, and others serve in office. Each of these topics were examined through the booklet we created as well as the different activities that will be included in our Election lapbook.
What Did We Think?
The U.S. Elections Lap-Pak fit perfectly into our homeschooling day. It was quite easy to sit down and read the booklet or listen to the audio to learn about the elections in the United States. Depending upon how much work each activity required and how long our son decided to take coloring, the various parts took from as short as 15 minutes to as long as 45 minutes to finish. I felt that the time it took to work on the Lap-Pak was just right.
I really appreciate the way in which Home School in the Woods organizes everything. Now that I have a bit more experience with the materials, I can quickly get everything together for our son to complete during his homeschooling lessons. It does take a bit of time to print everything but that is mostly because you want to make sure you print out the correct pieces on the correct paper.
I was very impressed with the presentation and variety of information in the Lap-Pak. The booklet was easy to read and understand. For the ideas that our first-grader had trouble grasping, I was able to explain things in more detail using the hands-on activities and a bit of my own research. I like that this was something that could be a stand-alone unit or it could be incorporated into one's government course.
Some of our first-grader's favorite activities included those projects that you could move – like the Raising Money project and the Who Do We Vote For? project. He preferred those with moving parts. He also enjoyed creating the Terms of Office mini-book because he really enjoys making little books about different subjects. When asked to tell me one of the most important things he learned, he referenced The American Experiment project: The United States government is based upon Greek Democracy, the English Protection of Rights, and the Roman Respect of Law.
I would highly recommend the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak to families looking to learn more about the election process. This is a valuable resource for any year but especially for a presidential election year!
Advice to First-Time Users
Now that I have used Home School in the Woods for a couple of years, I am no longer as intimidated as I was when I first had to print out all the materials. As these are digital products, you will need to print and prepare the items on your own (or with the help of your children). At first, it may seem daunting but the instructions are clear and if you make a mistake (like I have), you can always print the page or pages again! And – when you are done – your project may look like the sample below.
|When we are all done, our project will resemble this finished sample project.|
Do You Want to Learn More?
There are so many excellent products from Home School in the Woods. We reviewed the Renaissance & Reformation Project Passport World History Studies and the Knights K-2 Lap-Pak. Please be sure to see what the rest of the Homeschool Review Crew used in their homeschool.