I have some new Bible lapbook and notebook printables posted to my site. Twenty-nine pages of activities cover a variety of subjects like purity, character traits, making right choices, etc. I’ve also uploaded some more Bible handwriting and copywork pages in several popular handwriting fonts such as Handwriting Without Tears, D’Nealian and more. Click on the image to go to the free downloadable printables. Feel free to pin the image below at Pinterest or share on your website!
P.S. I didn’t forget about posting part 2 to my “Sometimes Homeschoolers Worry Too Much About College” series of posts. I’ll hopefully get to that soon!
I’ve always liked lapbooks. They offer a hands-on, interactive way of learning a subject. Lapbooks are crafty, they break up writing into manageable chunks and they look GREAT as a finished project.
In the Hands of a Child contacted me and asked me if I was interested in reviewing one of their lapbooks. I jumped at the chance. Our history study was heading into the Renaissance and this offer came along at the right time! Over the years we’ve finished lots of lapbook projects. Some have been absolute hits (like this one I made for nutrition) and others have been disastrous flops! Here are my impressions of this particular lapbook project pack.
My project pack came as a PDF. Instead of printing out the entire thing I only printed out the items/elements I wanted to use and read the instructions from my computer.
Graphics / Illustrations:
All of the graphics and illustrations are in black and white or grayscale.
Printing only in black helps save expensive color ink.
Some may find black and white graphics boring.
A creative child may enjoy coloring things in.
A kid who doesn’t like coloring might think it’s busywork to decorate his lapbook.
The sample lapbook displayed inside shows most of the lapbook elements printed on colored paper, which kind of jazzes things up a bit more (note: the picture below only shows part of the lapbook). I think the sample actually looks quite nice:
Everything appears to be clip art-based with different fonts for variety. This is not a beautifully “hand” illustrated lapbook like the ones featured at Homeschool in the Woods. However, the graphics are mostly crisp, clean and print well.
This lapbook covers a wide variety of topics from the Renaissance. All of the research for each lapbook element has been done for you and put together in an easy-to-read format sprinkled with pictures and clip art. Culture, art & artists, religion, architecture, music, literature, government, and exploration are all explored.
Because the lapbook is intended to cover only a 7 day period, nothing is covered in great depth. However, you get a good overview of the main topics and what the Renaissance was all about. I think this lapbook would be a good addition to just about any history curriculum and it could stand alone as well if you didn’t want to linger in this particular time period too long.
There are quite a few different lapbook elements to create (20 in all). A few of the items you can make are:
Booklet for vocabulary words
Flip flap book about Renaissance facts
Venn book comparing the Middle Ages to the Renaissance period
Shape book about Gutenberg
All of the lapbook elements come with written instructions on how to construct each one. I thought it was a little inconvenient that the instructions were separate from the actual lapbook element pages (all instructions are together in the beginning of the lapbook guide), but you could easily print the instructions out for reference. Perhaps it was designed this way so that they aren’t cluttering up each project page.
Answers for each lapbook element are contained at the end of the guidebook. Most of the answers are suggestions showing what your child could write on each project piece.
Reluctant writers may like how each element breaks down the task of writing into a smaller chunk. Instead of writing papers, information is displayed on each lapbook element.
Crafty kids who love to cut, paste and color will most likely enjoy completing this lapbook. Kids who like their schoolwork to be cut-and-dry will probably groan their way through it. If you already know your children like lapbooks, then I think this particular one will probably go over pretty well. It’s one of the better ones I’ve seen for this topic. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the most awesome activity we’ve ever done in our entire school career) I’d give this lapbook about a 6 1/2. Otter rated it as a 2. When I asked him why, he said there was too much writing and he didn’t think it was varied enough (with drawing or cut/paste activities, etc.). He also disliked the lack of color.
I think the In the Hands of a Child Renaissance Project Pack Lapbook is a solid choice if you are a fan of lapbooks or want to give one a try to add some variety to your studies. I think this particular project pack is a great overview of the Renaissance with plenty of activities at an affordable price. This is definitely something I would have considered purchasing to supplement our history lessons and add in a hands-on element. It’s well put together and saves a LOT of time! Unfortunately though, Otter doesn’t like it at all and while I like the content, I’m not in love with all of the graphics. I think it’s a professional product but not as polished as I personally would like it to be.
Check out the free sample at the In the Hands of a Child website and see for yourself whether it would work for you and yours!
*Note: All our reviews reflect only our personal opinion(s) of materials. We aren’t experts! We’re just a homeschooling family with 3 kids and ideas of our own about what works and what doesn’t for US.
School is coming along nicely. The kids have been enjoying their work and everything has been really lovely and peaceful. I decided to squash a couple of Winter Promise weeks together since we are getting sick of the sea portion of Adventures in Sea & Sky. It’s been interesting and educational, but I think we’re all ready to move into the sky portion.
Otter has recently been working on a jellyfish lapbook I got for free from Homeschool Share. Here’s a pic of a couple of “matchbooks” and fast fact files.
A jellyfish lifecycle booklet:
A small shapebook about sizes and a fold out about protection from predators:
We also continue to work out of the 1-2-3 Draw Ocean Life book. Otter made this squid after reading about the giant squid in one of our science books:
I liked that he included creatures from the book I’m currently reading out loud to him (Pagoo) like gooseneck barnacles and sea anemones.
Pagoo is a wonderfully illustrated book about a hermit crab. While you read about his adventures you learn about the lives of many little creatures of the tide pools and all kinds of ocean science.
You can get free notebooking pages and lesson ideas over at Homeschool Share to go along with the book.
The clam’s “foot” can actually move in and out of the shell. Notice how the clam’s siphons and gills are 3-D. We learned a lot from this project. It was easy to put together and well worth the 15-20 minutes we spent on it.
This series of books has really great, detailed and action oriented pictures with fun story lines. In the back of each book there is an illustrated notes for the reader section that explains the real history behind each fictional story.
He also worked on a coral reef lapbook we got for free from Homeschool Share. Today he mapped out where coral reefs are in the world and learned why they are important.
The top part of the picture below is blurry but I was too lazy to take it again!
Otter is also doing science activities with The Young Scientist Series kits. The kits come with everything (just about) that you need for the various experiments. The experiment he’s working on this week is growing some wheat grass, measuring its growth daily and making a graph of the measurements.
He loves the kits and so do I because I don’t have to hunt down all of the materials. The only downside is that the kits are expensive. On Amazon they run from about $15 to $24 or you can get all twelve kits from Steve Spangler’s Science for $299.95. Each box comes with 3 different themes with several experiments to do per theme. We started out with Set 1. It has the following kits inside:
Kit 1 covers recycling with activities for decomposition, making homemade paper and labeling recycling bags/boxes with homemade labels.
Kit 2 is all about scientific measurements. You grow wheat grass & beans, measure them and graph the results. Another activity is to measure towers of ice cubes as they melt and graph the results. The last activity is to measure and graph some foam capsules after they get wet (and slowly expand).
Kit 3 covers magnets and has activities where you do different things with magnets like make a compass.
Each kit comes with instructions for the teacher covering the purpose, materials, methods, results and conclusions. They also come with student pages. The student pages guide you through each step of the experiment with Celsius the Science Bug explaining concepts and asking questions as you go along. There are also areas to draw pictures, write down data and answers. Writing is kept to a minimum, but you end up with a nice record of each experiment to put into your student’s science notebook.
I got these kits as a sort of “science treat” for Otter. He loves science so much – it’s nice to be able to hand him a kit every now and then to “play” with.
This book is chock full of great verbs like: feast, rip, scavenge, launches, gorge, dives, hunts, twitches, struggles, protect, grazes, etc.
We had a little impromptu language arts lesson when I had Otter point some out to me.
We’re really enjoying all of the free lapbooks I’ve found online. I’m so thankful to all of the moms who share their hard work and talent with the rest of the homeschooling community. This particular lapbook is available at Homeschool Share.
Here are some pics of some of the shark lapbook elements Otter completed:
I like how you can incorporate lots of different subjects in lapbooks: reading (information), dictation, writing, handwriting, copywork, science, history, art and even math:
Putting up pics of Otter’s work has really been a recent motivator in his quality of handwriting. So thank you all for looking…you are helping me out! LOL! All it takes it just a little reminder, “You know this is going up on the blog…”
We finally finished reading Stowaway in our Sea & Sky program. It turns out in the end that Otter decided he liked it. I’m glad we stuck with it. Although there were parts that were tedious at times, I don’t think either one of us will soon forget Captain Cook’s first voyage around the world and the discovery of Australia.
Our new book is Raiders of the Sea, a story about some children captured by Viking raiders. The book is written from a Christian perspective and so far Otter really loves it.
I think it should be switched out as a reader and Voyage of Ice (which is a reader) be made a read-aloud. The text and reading level of Raiders of the Sea is more appropriate, in my opinion, for the target S&S age and I haven’t found anything inappropriate in it.
This week in Sea & Sky we are studying the “Age of Exploration” for the history portion and how the ocean affects the weather for the science portion. Today we did an experiment: “rain in a jar”.
As the hot water from jar evaporated, it hit the plastic bag containing ice, condensed and fell back down as “rain drops”.
Before our experiment we watched a movie about the water cycle over at BrainPop. I tend to use BrainPop a lot because the explanations are short, easy to understand and entertaining. I also like it that I can check Otter’s comprehension afterwards with an interactive 10 question quiz.
Bear also finished one of his projects he did for Sea & Sky (not scheduled via WinterPromise), a model ship:
It’s constructed entirely out of paper and you can get the printables and instructions to make it for free from the Canon Website.
Otter also started a new lapbook. As an extra, he is studying sharks. There is a free lapbook over at Homeschool Share I printed out for him to work on. One of the elements he made today is a little vocabulary book:
He also read a printable book from A to Z reading: Sharks.
A to Z reading is a site with lots of printable books with accompanying worksheets and other activities. The levels span from beginning phonics an approximate 5th grade reading level. The books are great for Otter and very helpful for building fluency. They aren’t too long, there are lots of different and interesting subjects covered (as well as some non fiction) and there are tons of books spanning different levels that work very well with our Sea & Sky program this year.
I haven’t been able to get around to blogging because I’ve been working on a project with a deadline of August 1st. I’ve been writing a guide and creating some materials for a “major” homeschool curriculum company. I’ll post more info on that when I get the official “O.K.”.
Now I’m finished (I hope!) and so I can get back to working on American History 2 and updating my blog. PHEW! I must say, it was a lot of work in a small amount of time. Homeschooling itself is a full time job (which we ARE doing over the summer) and my husband and I also had a website job for a local service club. Besides all of that we were melting in 108 degree temps! Ok, so those are my official excuses for not keeping things up to date.
Now that you know I am still alive, here are some pics of Otter’s viking lapbook he’s been working on:
Don’t you just love the messy handwriting and the lack of capitalization? (To Otter’s credit, he does have some processing difficulties and writing is one specific area we continue to work on).
If you lift up the big flap, there is a drawing of a longhouse underneath. The other flaps will be answered when we glue everything into the lapbook folder. One thing we’ve learned is to WAIT to glue lapbook components down until the very end of a project. Otherwise, sometimes things don’t “fit” as well as they could have.
Inside the little red booklet is a map. Inside the other are some questions Otter had to answer about Vikings and education. He decided today he’d like to be a Viking since Vikings got to farm and learn how to fight with swords instead of do school.
Below is a lapbook element with a fold out area for a story. Otter actually got into it and even included a moral at the end Aesop style: “Never underestimate someone and don’t be greedy.” After writing his story, he said he wanted to rewrite it tomorrow. You would have to understand his history with writing to know how totally thrilled I was to hear those words. The cool thing about it too is that it didn’t take an expensive writing curriculum to get that result! Maybe the moral of “this” story should be never underestimate free homeschooling stuff… or at least to sometimes be creative and not afraid to try something new or different (like lapbooking, etc.).
This time we have a capital letter, but no period….hmmm…..
I don’t know why, but I love these little matchbooks:
Here is part of the inside of one of the lapbook components about Viking weapons:
We are in week 8 in Adventures in Sea & Sky. This week’s history is about Columbus and this week’s science is about ocean currents.
Otter still likes to do little crafty things so he made this stand-up Columbus:
He also did an experiment from Awesome Ocean Science that demonstrated how deep water ocean currents move. He took a pan of warm water and then placed an ice pack at one end. We put a drop of food coloring in front of the ice pack and waited to see what would happen. As you can see in the pictures below, the colored water began to move toward the other end of the pan.
Last week, when we were studying some maritime medieval history, Otter made a T-O map:
Here is a little booklet that helped him learn some whale behavior related terms. We also watched online videos that showed the different types of behavior.
A whale classification petal book
A 5 page tabbed whale vocabulary booklet
In our Sea & Sky program he’s learning about a variety of other things this week like the ocean floor (continental shelf/slope, trenches, abyssal plains, etc.), some facts about early sailors in the book Sailors, Whalers, Fantastic Sea Voyages and a bit about the early sailing history of the Egyptians.
We watched a short video online about the formation of the volcanic island Surtsey and a couple others featuring the sailor’s hornpipe dance(s).
Besides all of our regular studies, Otter is also participating in a math pilot for a Houghton Mifflin California math textbook. Normally I wouldn’t be interested in trying out a program like this. It’s totally scripted for the classroom and well…it’s so….public school like. The last time I used a public school math textbook was when Emily was in 1st grade using Calvert. However, it’s free for me to use in exchange for participating in the pilot program. I figure it can’t hurt to try it out. It helps feed my curricula junkie habit and I’m weird anyway about math programs. For having grown up hating math, I love looking over different math programs and sampling them with my kids. I’ve also found that my kids have benefited from a variety of approaches.
I must admit I’m actually a bit surprised at how easy it is to use. I have access to an online teacher’s guide that’s really easy to use. The manual is scripted more or less and there are LOTS of worksheets and alternative practice pages and so on in PDF format you can access with a click of your mouse. You can view a page with the answers and you can also hide the answers.
The textbook includes games and makes use of math manipulatives. It also recommends various “math readers” – books with stories that connect to the concepts being taught. There are also different levels of printables available: extra support, on level, and challenge.
So far, I like it. I’ll write more after we’ve used it for a longer period of time. You can take a look at a free preview here.