Wednesday, April 3, 2013

TOS Review: A Journey Through Learning

When we were asked if we wanted to review the lapbooks and unit lessons from A Journey Through Learning, I almost said no.  I have been trying to really limit our review products to ones that I feel can truly mesh well with a Montessori home and I just couldn't quite figure out how to mix lapbooks with our style since they contain lots of papers and what some would call 'busy work.'  Then I got an idea :).

There are a couple of things I had been having a hard time working into our Montessori learning: work plans and journals.  I felt that I didn't have enough options to provide a good work plan, and I didn't have a clue how to start journals.  But, when we were offered not one, not two, but THREE different lapbook/units a light bulb went off!!

We were sent three download units: Knights and Castles, Astronomy and Space, and The Earth.  What I did was to go ahead and print 6 sections of each unit and put them out on the shelf.  Then, I added all three units to the work plans.  As Mustang worked through a section of the lapbook, she marked it off on her work plan and also had her lapbook to use as her journal of her work!!  

Each of the lapbook units are laid out in such a way that they were perfect for my idea.  The units are broken down into small sections that are easy to understand and hold attention.  After the section, there is a portion of the lapbook to create, or a few questions to answer.  At that point, the student could continue on to the next section, or spend time digging deeper into that section.  Let me use some examples to help explain :).

The Astronomy and Space unit is not a lapbook, it is a unit that fits into a 3 ring binder.  The first 5 sections are:  

  • Genesis 1
  • Where Do You Live?
  • The Solar System
  • Constellations
  • How Do We Have Day and Night?

Genesis 1 simply is a reading and copywork of Genesis 1 where the heavens and earth are created.   YES!! A Journey Through Learning is written by Christians who use the Bible for their creation source-which is important to me!  

Where Do You Live?  Is a quick look of the planet, galaxy, universe.  

The Solar System-A one page summary of our Solar System, planets, and other items to be found here (like the Kuiper Belt)  This was one place where I expanded the unit.  I found some great 3 part cards to help the kids memorize the planets.  

Constellations-Again, just like all the other sections, there is a small one page summary introduction to the constellations, followed up with questions to help with retention.  We expanded this one a bunch!!  

We purchased a copy of Find the Constellations by H A Rey, made constellations, did some star watching, and more.  You can read about our Astronomy and Space unit in this blog post of mine.  Mustang got quite stuck on Constellations, wanting to research and read about them whenever she could!

The first 5 sections of the Knights and Castle's lapbook are:

  • The Fall of Rome Paves the Way to the Middle Ages
  • How to Become a Knight
  • A Knight's Weapons
  • Knights in Shining Armor
  • A Knight Dresses for Battle
I found lots of extra add ons for this one, too!  We watched a video of a guy getting dressed in Knight's armor, found a set of 3 part cards for the pieces of a knight's armor, and another site that let the kids joust online! There were also a ton of great books that we read. I will do a post on our Knights and Castles lessons very soon, but in the meantime, you can check out my Pinterest board of resources.  

The Knights and Castle book really sparked Mustang's interest and I found her voluntarily taking notes one day while reading a book on Knights!

Due to the way that I have presented our lapbook units, (and the amount of time Mustang wanted to spend on each section) we did not finish any of them.  And, sadly, the Earth book wasn't even touched!  Even though I have some great add-ons for that one, too!!  You can see them on my Pinterest board.   Mustang DID complete all but one of the 10 units listed above. 

The units will all stay on the shelves and work plans until they are completed.  Then, I will replace them with another. I plan to keep 3 or 4 different ones out at a time to offer a solid variety.  We got the Journey through Learning Pioneer Days lapbook at their recent Facebook party and I'm excited to add that one to the shelves, so I am hoping Mustang starts moving a little quicker through the units :).

Overall, I am very pleased with how my 'experiment' is going!  The Journey Through Learning units turned out to be a PERFECT fit for how I wanted to use them.  They are so easy to work with, have little prep required, and have just the right amount of information for my 2nd grader {just for reference she reads at about a 4 grade level}.

I did not help Mustang put her lapbook together.  She was able to follow the instructions given on the page and do it herself!!  This was an extra bonus because I wanted this to feel like it was her work and not a lesson.  

A Journey Through Learning Units are also affordable, ranging in price from $1.00 and up depending on which unit you want to do-they offer TONS of them!!  The ones we received all run $13.00 for the instant download.  You can also order the lapbooks already printed in black and white or color (prices vary).  

A Journey Through Learning company was founded by two homeschooling moms that wanted to create hands-on lessons for homeschool students.  They didn't set out to start a company, but God certainly had a different idea!!  You can read their whole story on their website.  (warning tissue may be needed)

Now, as much as we love them, A Journey Through Learning's units are designed for students up to 7th grade.  I am a little curious if the content could actually hold up to a 7th grader's academic level, so I am off to check out the reviews that my other crew mates have written.  I suggest you do too!

Thanks for stopping by and God Bless!!



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