Review Crew: A Journey Through Learning

We’re just lapbooking away this spring………….

Here’s my review of A Journey Through Learning lapbook products!

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A Journey Through Learning was started by two homeschool moms who wanted to create hands-on learning experiences through lapbooking.  They teamed up and have created lapbooks to compliment learning in all subject areas and even offer lapbooks for specific curricula programs.

Wait, what’s a lapbook?

Until I began homeschooling a few years ago I had never heard of a lapbook.  So, let me try to explain.  A lapbook is a form of taking notes in a creative and hands on way-it’s much like a simple scrapbooking project.  There are little paper booklets and pictures to cut out with places to write information learned during the study.  Then all the elements and papers are glued onto file folders, creating a mini-scrapbook of numerous interactive elements.  It’s a great way to make a portfolio of your child’s studies.

What did we receive?
We were able to review 4 different lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning.

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The lapbooks can be purchased as an instant download for $13 each.  Just download, save, and then print what you need!
You can also order a CD version, a printed version, or a fully-assembled lapbook for various prices as listed on the website.

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How did we use this product?
I chose the Letters, Numbers, and Shapes lapbook for Tiger and Bee to work on together and Curly chose the Knights and Castles lapbook since we are studying the medieval period in history.
I printed off all the pages, grabbed some file folders, scissors, and glues and we were ready to begin.

Tiger and Bee started out working together but I quickly discovered that Tiger isn’t too much into lapbooks.  He was willing to cut pieces out for Bee so she could color or draw on them.  She worked on her lapbook about 3 days a week for several weeks.  We completed several booklets in each session.  Tiger would cut out pieces and I would help her color them in.  She really enjoyed the letters portion and thinking of an object that started with each letter.  She then drew the object under the little flap.  I will admit that most of her drawings were very abstract and she’s probably the only one who has any idea what she drew!

Curly and I worked on her lapbook together.  She would sit and cut out the pieces while I read the sections to her.  The Knights and Castles lapbook comes with text to go along with the lapbook components.  All the information to complete each element is included in the pages of text with the book, making it more like a mini-unit study.  Some of the text was a little challenging for her so she needed me to read and discuss it with her.  She then worked to fill out her little booklets.  Most of the booklets required writing and she’s not very confident in her writing and spelling skills so I would fill in the mini books for her.  She would narrate the information while I wrote it down for her.  We would work on her lapbook several times a week while the other kids were having some playtime.  Curly was able to complete several booklets during our lapbooking afternoons.  It was our fun project time together.

Ohh, and did I mention that Dad even helped out???

What didn’t we like?
With lapbooks I’m learning that I get to do a lot of the work-the cutting and gluing.  Assembly can be quite a feat with little people.  It’s best to spread the lapbooks out over many weeks to prevent lapbook burnout!

We did have one small issue with the Letters, Numbers, and Shapes lapbook.  Some of the little pockets that were created to hold the number cards were too small for those cards.  I ended up trimming the number cards in order to get them to fit in the pockets.  Then I decided to reprint the pockets and fold them outside the fold lines to make them bigger so they could more easily hold the number cards.

What did we like?

The Letters, Numbers, and Shapes lapbook was a perfect skill level for my little people.  They enjoyed the cutting and pasting and were able to complete each section of the lapbook with only minimal direction from me.  I loved that they had a project that they could complete and they were so proud of their finished product.  This lapbook required no writing which is perfect for the younger crowd.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Knights and Castles lapbook.  I didn’t need outside resources to complete the lapbook.  I assumed I would need a library trip to find the texts to help Curly complete the lapbook components, but no, pages of text are included!  This was by far my favorite part of this lapbook.  I printed everything off and we were ready to go-nothing else needed!!!  The text had lots of great information about the medieval time period and the lapbook elements were clearly labelled to correspond to each of the pages of text.  It was so easy to find the information needed to complete each element.  (The other lapbooks that I reviewed are the same way-text is included).

I am not a lapbooking pro.  Lapbooks can be a lot of work when your kids are small.  So, I very much appreciated all the very clear directions-that also included pictures!  There were instructions regarding how to fold your file folders and assemble them.  There were great instructions about how to fold each mini-book.  But the best part was the page that showed where each element was to be placed in the assembled file folders.  I did not have to guess where all the mini-books would fit inside all the file folders.  I just looked at the guide and we could glue them on-and everything fit in perfectly!  Yay for instructions that we can follow!

What did we think overall?
We have really enjoyed our lapbooks.  We loved working on them as a “group” project.  Curly liked to help Tiger and Bee with theirs and they liked to listen in on her book and “help” her cut things out (she didn’t always appreciate their help though).

I thought the lapbook for the younger kids was just perfectly on their level while the lapbook for Curly was a nice challenge.  However, I would love to see some lapbooks that were more geared for 1st-2nd only.  These books would have very little writing needed or would provide handwriting lines for students and the information would be more for this level.  The lapbook for ages 3-5 is perfect for those ages but the other lapbooks were a little bit of a jump up for Curly in amount of information and amount of writing required.  I would love a lapbook that only required one word answers or drawing pictures rather than writing sentences.  Maybe I am looking for a fill-in-the-blank lapbook or one that had everything typed out to be cut and pasted in the proper place.  (The lapbook geared for 1st-4th grade had a few elements with this cut and paste option which would be a better fit for Curly.)  My Curly just wanted to cut and glue and was not thrilled with the writing.  So, I scribed for her so she didn’t have too much writing to do.

We really enjoyed our lapbook studies and they were such a nice break and change of pace from our regular studies.  I think we’ll have to mix up our school and do a lapbook every few months, slowly working through each element.  I found these lapbooks to be very high quality and easy to use, so we plan to try out a few more.  My kids want to do a holiday one now!

See what the rest of the Crew thought about A Journey Through Learning!

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