Saturday 30 March 2013

A journey through learning-Knights and castles

Lapbooking has been a word that has made me feel anxious so I wasn't too sure when we had the opportunity to review a lapbook with study guide from A journey through learning.
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 However, Younger Daughter loves history so was very enthusiastic to make a lapbook about Knights and Castles. She is a bit younger than the suggested age range of grades two to seven but wasn't daunted.

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First of all, what is a lapbook? This is simply, a way of displaying work usually in a card file folder. Often, the work is made up of smaller paper booklets which are glued onto the folder. These booklets can be arranged in different ways; some are typical books, others have flaps to lift or are folded in different ways.

We received the knights and castles lapbook as a PDF download. Reassuringly, the download starts with information about these mysterious folds: hamburger and hotdog. These turn out to be horizontal and vertical so not difficult, at all. There are clear explanations throughout about what to do with the various components. For example, where to glue:

There is also information about how to fold the actual lapbook folder. This is also on the A journey through learning website on videos. I had been dubious about finding the correct sort of file in the UK but it turns out that these are just common file folders. I would say though that it is important to buy card file folders. I doubt that plastic file folders would work so well. Knights and castles is a three folder lapbook which means that it uses three file folders glued together.

We printed out the download. This consists of the study guide written by Michelle Miller and the lapbook itself which was designed by Paula Winget and Nancy Fileccia. I read a section of the study guide each day and Younger Daughter filled in the lapbook. The lapbook does include a fair amount of writing. Younger Daughter did all her own drawing but she dictated some of the writing to me. We were able to complete the lapbook in a month.

The study guide covers the end of the Roman Empire, a fair amount about knights including armour, becoming a knight and heraldry, it also looks at castles, life and the church in the Middle Ages. It is written from a Christian worldview.

So what did we think?
Both Younger Daughter and I learnt a fair amount especially about heraldry and the process of becoming a knight. This was also a great topic for linking in with other resources. The guide suggests a few and also provides a reading log to document these and other books read. We finished up with a visit to a real castle.

The study guide itself was occasionally not easy to follow with some references to writing by a mysterious  Mr Tunis. I did paraphrase on occasion.

The lapbook was well designed and presented even for someone who knew little about this process. The different styles on the paper inserted makes for an attractive appearance. It would really help though, if the pages could be numbered. I managed to muddle ours and had to refer back to the PDF to sort this out.

I was also sent two other lapbooks:

and a study guide on astronomy and space for grades 2-7.

The lapbook on the Earth seems suitable for Younger Daughter to use next year so I had a careful look at this especially as she and Youngest Son have been asking questions are about what is under the ground.

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 This book states right at the start that if the child finds writing difficult in the small spaces in the lapbook then it is reasonable to scribe for them so that they still enjoy the process. We had taken this approach anyway for the Knights and Castles lapbook but it was good to see this confirmed.

The study guide for this book is in larger font so that a child could read along too or read for themselves. It is a shorter lapbook made up of two rather than three file folders but does have some craft activities and songs added. Having looked at this, I am very keen to use this with the younger children; the text is simple and accessible and again, the lapbook itself is well designed.

Overall, we have enjoyed this journey into lapbooking and hope to use the Earth learning lapbook as well as another historical lapbook from A journey through learning.

Knights and castles is available as an instant download at $13 (£8.55 at the time of writing), as a CD at $14 and printed at $21. Each of the other lapbooks/unit studies that I have mentioned are also available as instant downloads for $13. The earth lapbook is available in printed format at $21.

To read more reviews of A Journey in Learning, pop over to the Schoolhouse Crew Review blog.

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  1. Yes, I was also confused about the reference to Mr. Tunis, but forgot to mention that! :)

  2. I'm not too keen on lap booking because of the sheer amount of cutting required. The older ones would be happy to do it, I just think it's busy work. That said, we do use them occasionally to very good effect, when I feel the children need slightly more relaxed schooling. We also just stick them on sheets of card so that they can be stored inside our three inch binders in the historically correct place.
    This was a great review. Very thorough.

    1. There was a fair amount of cutting-I did much of it as it just seemed more efficient that way. I like the idea of sticking the paper on card to go in your binders. I'm thinking about making something similar for next year-like our timeline but in a file. Our timeline is so long that it rarely ever sees the light of day!

  3. I love A Journey Through Learning lapbooks! Knights and Castles sound very interesting and I think my son would enjoy it. I am going to share this on pinterest. Have a great Saturday!

    1. Yes, this was a definite success-hopefully to be followed up by more castle visits this summer.

  4. We're working on the Earth one right now and love it!