Wednesday, February 17, 2016

HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections - A Review

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will see how big a supporter of Home School in the Woods I am. There isn't anything Amy Pak has put out that I don't love! Her creative beautiful artwork, and careful study and presentation of each subject she tackles, result in excellent homeschool resources! HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections is no different.

I have used many of her resources, and genuinely love her lapbooks. This is one of her more thorough ones, that is just packed with awesome educational and crafting opportunities for your students. As a reviewer for the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was sent a digital download of the whole "Lap-Pak." You won't believe what you have access to for only $18.95! After downloading and extracting onto my computer, all I needed to do was click, "Start." The whole program loaded before my eyes. Because I have used her products over many years, I am familiar with how they work, but she has simplified and streamlined her newest offering. Included, are two audio recordings of the text provided in booklet format, read by Jaron Pak. He has a perfect reading voice that is highly enjoyable to listen to. The 24-page booklet itself is thorough and covers the following subjects in detail:

Elections in the United States of America
The Different Forms of Goverment
(The Rule of One, The Rule of a Few, The Rule of Many, and Anarchy)
Governments of the People in History
(Athens, Rome, England)
America: A New Creation from Old Roots
The Three Branches of Government
Qualifications to Vote
The Election Process
Running for Office and Political Parties
Caucuses and Primaries
Running a Presidential Campaign
The Electoral College and more!

This is written for students in grades 3-8, and anyone within that age range (and beyond) will certainly walk away with a solid understanding of the American election process after listening to or reading the informative booklet. Because we are in the midst of an election, this could not come at a better time!

So the meat of the program is found in the booklet, but just how do you help your students to really grasp it? That's where the Lap-Pak comes in! Never put together a lapbook before? Never fear, you'll have no trouble because photographic step by step instructions are included, and they are very thorough. You and your students will put together 21 different projects that each reflect a different aspect of your election education. She even gives you a cover. All printables are in black and white and you can print on colored paper or white and design it yourself. We did both things. You will, of course, need a printer.

Some of my favorite projects included the three forms of government craft. As you scroll through the resource as it is open on your desktop, you will see this:
Notice the "PHOTO" button in the right corner. There is a full-color photograph of every single project found within so you don't have to wonder if you are doing it right. All of the grey-colored lines of text are clickable PDF files that will bring up the four different pages of the printable craft that your student will put together to form this:

It will go into your lapbook underneath another project called The American Experiment. Your completed full page will look like this:

As you can see, inside the branches of the government tree, it defines who is included in each branch, and a write-up about each one. You are even provided printable leaves - she thinks of everything! We decided to color ours in. Colored pencils and pens have played their role in this review too.

Here are some of the other projects that we particularly liked. Suffrage was a flip-up craft that explained the fight for the right to vote - not only for women, but former slaves too. The 15th and 19th Amendments are focused on here, and the inside includes a write-up that explains suffrage over the years.

I also really liked the Political Parties project. This book has a flip-open tab for six political parties that gives a brief explanation of the party's past and/or current ideas. The parties included are: Federalist, Democratic-Republican, Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and the Green Parties.

We also enjoyed putting together the Statistics and Who do we vote for? projects. Inside the Statistics flip book, we learned how the elephant and the donkey came to be, and the statistics mentions the reliance on polls and a candidate's charisma. 

The Who do we vote for? project is a rotating craft that defines the candidates we vote for (President, Vice President, Senators, and Representative), and what qualifications they must fill in order to run. 

These are only a few of the projects found in this awesome Lap-Pak! I have left out a lot of other projects and a whole vocabulary glossary found inside that is beautifully decorated. I just don't have space to tell you about it all! We can't escape that this is an election year because it is all over the news. We homeschoolers are notorious (I prefer to think of us as smart!) for utilizing what is going on around us to facilitate our home learning. HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-on History Lap-Pak: U.S. Elections is an unbelievably thorough and interesting way to take advantage of what is going on right now. Home School in the Woods has done it again!

Want to find out how other homeschool families with the Crew used this, click the banner below!

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak  Review

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