Friday, August 16, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: In the Hands of a Child

As much I love hands-on learning you would think I would have tried a lap book by now.  However, they seemed rather complicated so not knowing how to even do it I have shied away from them. Recently I was able to review the lap book project pack Words, Words, Words - Using a Dictionary & Thesaurus from In the Hands of a Child so I thought this might be a good time to try one.

Lap booking is really a lot of work and that is one of the reasons In the Hands of a Child has published over 450 lap books.  Since they prepare the lap book project pack for you, it allows you to spend less time making the book so you can use your time actually working with it.  I certainly would not have tried my hand at lap booking otherwise, I can assure you that.  As it was it still took me a couple of hours to print, cut and prepare all the components for the book.

Because lap books are something you can hang on to for quite some time it becomes a handy tool for review.  With that in mind I chose the project pack Words, Words, Words which teaches a child how to use a dictionary and thesaurus because that is a skill we will definitely want to keep working on.

The project pack comes with everything you need to make a lap book, even for a beginner like me.  It has explanations about what the project pack is and exactly how to use it.  There were detailed instructions about how to assemble the lab book, as well as each individual activity in it. It comes with a planning guide and lesson plans to go along with each project as well as reproducible graphics for you to use making them.  The word portions came fully printed or traceable so you can choose how much writing your child does.  You can also use your own paper and have the child write the entire thing. Since Gess has special needs we went with the fully printed options.

Being a hands on learner Gess really enjoyed all aspects of the program.  She loved gluing the components together as well as the activities themselves.

Each lesson had activities to do that required some assebly.  Sometimes it was a matching cards that were kept in a pocket or just basic information that you glued on to something like the one above.  She learned what a each book was for and how to properly use them.  The activities were great for learning and since it was portable we took it with us to the library to practice.  Here is Gess identifying the 10 parts of a word entry.

The lessons were very clear and easy both for me to teach and for Gess to understand.  After learning all the parts of a dictionary and thesaurus, a little bit of their history and detailed information about how they work the child is ready to use them.  They make a handy little folder to glue on their lap book and keep a list of all the words they look up.  Here is Gess finding the definition of the word storm along with its appropriate synonyms and antonyms.

Each time we completed a section Gess would place that item in the lap book where ever she wanted.  Here is our final product, our complete Words, Words, Words - Using a Dictionary & Thesaurus lap book project.

We did one lesson each day which took 5 days to complete and by the time we had finished all the projects Gess really had an understanding of how to use both a dictionary and thesaurus, though we focused more on the dictionary work.  The hands-on activities were fun and certainly aided in her retention of the facts.  There were a couple of activities that I omitted but most of them were great.  I really think the lessons as well as the activities were very well done. It was nice to have it all planned out for me.

While I loved the hands-on aspect I still felt it was a lot of work and too much printing for me.  While I love adding in the hands-on aspect I don't know that I would actually assemble the lap book itself very often.  I live in a pretty small house so I don't have lots of room to keep things like that laying around.  I would still consider getting the packs for subjects like this one that I think might be beneficial for long term use.  As I said, they have made over 450 of them so there are plenty to choose from.  If you love lap booking you will definitely want to check out In the Hands of a Child.

Words, Words, Words - Using a Dictionary & Thesaurus is geared towards children in grades 2-5 and can be purchased for $10.00. However, it is currently on sale for 50% off so if you order before the end of this month you will get it for only $5.00!   To learn more about this or the other lap book and project packs they offer visit their website or you can see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought about this and some of their many other titles by clicking on the banner below.  There were several titles reviewed in many different subjects with age ranges all the way from grades K-12.


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