Monday, March 16, 2009

Homeschool In The Woods New Testament Activity Pak: A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Okay, I'll just say it: I did not know what a "lapbook" is. I quickly learned that a lapbook is a way to display a collection of related and creative activities (a unit study, perhaps) in one place, on a poster board or folder. There's a scrapbook feeling about them, although they're not really scrapbooks. And I learned that lapbooks can be dreamed up as you go along, a kind of "winging it", or you can find them already designed and developed for you. Homeschool in the Woods products "ready made" activity-paks for families to use at home. We reviewed the brand new New Testament Activity Pak, as a download ($18.95) from the "Hands on History" selection of unit studies. This product is also available for purchase on CD ($19.95).

Homeschool In The Woods explains in the introduction of the downloadable lapbooking project, the New Testament Activity Pak that, "We believe that the best way for a child to cement the lessons he or she has learned is through hands-on activities and projects! The more that a child has contact with the subject, whether visually, orally, audibly, or kinesthetically, the more of a chance the material has of staying put where it belongs... in the child’s mind!"

THERE'S SO MUCH GREAT STUFF IN HERE!!!!! I was so excited as I began going through the activities!

The New Testament Activity Pak includes projects that illustrate

1. The Lineage from David to Jesus
2. Triptych of the Birth of Jesus Christ
3. Miracles of Jesus
4. The Beatitudes Pie Book
5. Fruit of the Spirit
6. The Parables of Jesus
7. The Last Supper
8. The Crucifixion
9. The Ascension
10. Pentecost
11. The Resurrection
12. Prophesies Fulfilled
13. The Twelve Disciples
14. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
15. Postcards from Paul
16. “The New Testament News”
17. The Armor of God

There is a supply list provided at the beginning of each activity, so Mom or Dad knows what to gather before you begin. You'll need items you probably already have around the house: plain paper, colored paper (if you choose), card stock (optional, but preferred, in my opinion, for some activities), markers, crayons, glue sticks, pens or pencils, tape, ribbon, scissors (an adult needs to cut out some of the activities) and some you may have to buy, for example, the wooden dowels for the scroll in "The New Testament News" activity. I like the fact that Homeschool in the Woods includes a file that shows you what the finished product looks like.

The content is fabulous--there's a lot of "meat" that children (and parents) can bite into here! The attention to detail is impressive! This activity-pak is really beautiful!

Every time I print a section for us to try at home, my daughter balks. :( The balking has nothing to do with the activity-pak. Let me explain: My daughter began early intervention at the age of 19 months, and quite honestly, she's done more arts and crafts than most children her age, because occupational therapists and speech therapists and teachers and tutors have used arts and crafts to give her work on fine motor skills like holding a pencil and cutting. From a very early age, she didn't get to ENJOY arts and crafts -- they were her "work".

As we work to undo some of that perspective for her, I don't *make* her do an activity like this one if she reacts with great resistance. I want her to see the activity and imagine the fun she'll have with it, and join me enthusiastically, not, in her mind as a "chore" or "have to". I have to admit, I want her to want to be interested in a big project like this one, but for *now*, she's not. She sees too many words. She sees "work" in the pages to be colored, and in the drawings she must do, and the words she must write. She has some new discoveries to make about herself and about learning before we tackle together a project as thorough as this one. I soooooooo look forward to the day when I bring out the materials and she jumps into it with anticipation and excitement! One of these days, she WILL, and when that day comes, I will rejoice! :) (In the meantime, I am still trying to let go of the regret of a lot of the "therapy" we did in the name of "early intervention".)

In the meantime, I have the files containing the New Testament Activity Pak on a memory stick, not taking up any space on my bookshelves, waiting for the time when we WILL use it.

Be sure to check out the Homeschool in the Woods web site to see all the wonderful products (including some FREE UNIT STUDIES) that they offer, and be sure to sign up for the monthly newsletter that contains free teaching tips.

Please check out the reviews of my Crewmates, here.

A March 18, 2009 PS: My daughter picked up the New Testament Activity I'd assembled called, "The Parables of Jesus" today and showed interest in it for the first time! :) Assembled, it's a book that is sized for the hands of children, with a parable on one side of the page, and a blank page on the other, where we are to illustrate the parable on the blank page. We'll take our time, work through it as my daughter continues to show interest. My hint for the day for parents of children who are resistant because they've been through too much early intervention is to print activities and, where applicable, complete the assembly, and just leave them in places that are accessible to your children. Allowing your children to SEE the activity and know you're not going to force them to "work" gives them some space to develop comfort with it, space to develop curiosity and interest. When the child's curiosity is driving the activity, the task is no longer "work".

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