We’re all about creativity and breathing life into our learning with hands-on projects in our homeschool. It’s easy to do that with nature study, science experiments, art, and music, but when it comes to history and language arts it can get a bit trickier. So what is a homeschool mom supposed to do to make these subjects more delightful and less dull and dry?
One of the things we do is use some of our favorite tools for hands-on homeschooling — lap books. We can easily inject creativity into lap books, which makes the learning all the more interesting. My girls are happiest when they can delve into creative projects so making a lap book automatically adds a level of delight-directed learning. When they can pick and choose which projects to do, it’s even better.
Home School in the Woods A La Carte Projects
So what is an A La Carte Project anyway? Home School in the Woods says:
Compared to our larger studies, which come already filled with many different project options, these are small, “bite-size” projects that are presented in a buffet-style menu. This allows each teacher to pick and choose exactly what they want for their current schooling needs. With dozens already available, many, many more À La Carte projects are planned for the not-too-distant future!
These projects tick every single checkbox on my essentials list:
- Available instantly for download so we can do them when the mood strikes with little to no advanced prep time
- Inexpensive so they fit almost any frugal budget
- Thorough, accurate, and living history topics — this is the way we love to learn with living books! (Charlotte Mason would approve.)
- Lap books, notebooking pages, and other hands-on activities allow for creativity and an impressive finished product
- Supplements that are starting points for more in-depth discussions and further study — this encourages curiosity and an eagerness to learn more
- Works for multiple ages
Unfortunately, one of the most common objections I hear to making a lap book is this: “All that cutting and pasting is just busy work. It’s messy and the kids don’t really learn anything anyway.”
Nothing could be further from the truth! Hear me out on this one, please.
While it’s true that some lap books might just be an exercise in cutting and pasting skills for early learners, Home School in the Woods has taken them to a whole new level. We’ve done loads of lap books in our homeschool in the last 10 years. I mean loads. I will admit that they aren’t all created equal, either. Home School in the Woods has always stood out amongst the others.
The A La Carte projects offer quality illustrations that inspire students to take pride in their work combined with solid history and language arts facts. This kind of hands-on learning really sticks with kids for the long haul, which is an essential principle at the heart of a well-rounded education.
Okay, I will admit that any kind of arts and craft type project has the potential to be messy, but that certainly should NOT be a deterrent to at least trying to include them in your learning experience. I promise, you do not need glitter to make a lap book!
Just look at the line-up of lap books that we got to use and learn from:
A day that will live in infamy… this lap book project helps you make a good hands-on, visual aid of the events that took place on December 7, 1941. Learn about this iconic day in United States history, and see why this event helped launch America fully into the deadly struggle of World War II.
This lap book includes a full text of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It is contained within a cover that looks like an old-fashioned radio from that time. Making this lap book together sparked some interesting conversations with my daughters. We talked about the events of WWII, the fact that my grandfather (their great-grandfather) was actually in the Navy and at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, and even discussions about radio in the days before TV and internet. That is part of the beauty of this type of supplement — it can introduce many different topics around it.
This is geared for grades 3-8, but older students can also appreciate reading FDR’s speech.
Have you ever wondered what it took to travel the Oregon Trail or any of the other western trails during the early 19th century in America? This lap book project helps shed some light on just how much preparation went into the ordeal, not to mention an extra wagon load of information all about travelling through the Wild West!
This lap book is an excellent visual aid for studying the Oregon Trail. It includes a realistic drawing of a covered wagon as well as the essential supplies that families needed to bring on their trip. It helped my daughters understand how little space there was in a wagon, how supplies needed to be carefully measured and rationed out, and how rudimentary everything was compared to today’s standards. Those brave people did not travel in comfort and style!
The Roaring 20s
The Roaring 20s… a wild era including the Prohibition, women’s rights, the founding of the NFL, the stock market crash, and the list goes on. Oh, and don’t forget the rise of Hollywood, too! And what better way to pull it all together than with a film strip lap book / notebooking project? Whether you want to print a few simple masters or go all out and recreate your own film strip of the events, this project is the perfect way to sum up an exciting decade of U.S. history!
This lap book was eye-opening in our study of history. We’ve been studying women’s history, but it was especially interesting to see it in context with the other events of the Roaring 20s. It also covered the Scopes Trial, something that we’ve discussed in our science studies with the evolution versus creation debate.
We haven’t made the transparency film strip yet since we didn’t have the transparencies to print on, but we plan to do that over the summer. It’s such a neat hands-on project and also serves as another part of our history timeline.
These lap books cover a wide range of history in an engaging way. They are just the type of project I like to keep on-hand (or instantly download) for teachable moments that correspond with our current read-alouds/living books. They are excellent supplements for many different types of learning styles, but are particularly suited for our creative approach to relaxed, delightful learning. I love finding resources like this!
The girls and I were excited to dive into these topics. They are a good springboard for further study and discussion. They allow just enough of a glimpse of the topic to encourage curiosity and the projects inspire creativity.
This lap book and mini-study on literary genres is a great way for students to begin to learn about the world of literature. A brief amount of text is included along with the lap book projects, all of which are designed to help deepen the students’ understanding of this important and diverse subject.
This is a really engaging and fun way to introduce literary genres, as well as story elements such as characters, plots, and settings. One of the fun things about it is it is designed to look like a card catalog from the library. Do any libraries actually use card catalogs anymore? My daughters had never seen one in person, so this was a cool bit of history along with the language arts lessons.
The Literary Genres lap book includes five different projects in one:
- Genres Card Catalog
- Book Stack Vocabulary
- Steps to Story Building
- Library of Good Reads
- Reading Tablet
We’re also putting together an informative timeline that covers history, science, and math in one!
Where would we be without so many scientific and mathematical discoveries and inventions? Have you ever wondered who many of the people were that have brought us progress in fields such as space, medicine, agriculture, technology, and SO much more? This timeline captures 120 people, inventions, and events in history that have advanced society and illuminated the world around us. Also included are predated lines and a teacher’s key. All you need to do is print, cut, and glue — it’s the best thing since sliced bread! …and yes, there’s a figure for that invention, too!
The drawings for this timeline are so detailed and produce such a high quality project. I’m impressed with all that is included on this timeline. Most notably there are women represented, which goes along with our women’s history studies.
This is a big project that will take us some time to complete. It can be put together in a binder (that’s how we’re doing it) or there are also instructions included for making an accordion fold base. It is geared toward grades 3-8 like the other projects, but all three of my daughters (8, 10, 16) have been working on it together. We are using the timeline figures and events to help us choose living books and biographies to read and learn more. It has been another great springboard for discussion and further study.
I highly recommend the A La Carte Projects from Home School in the Woods. They are inexpensive yet excellent supplements for any homeschool studies. This is the kind of homeschool enrichment we love! I hope you’ll take the time to visit the website and see which projects you can add to your studies today.
Connect with Home School in the Woods
You can get a free Medieval Times creative writing newspaper project if you sign up for their newsletter!
Home School in the Woods Giveaway
They’re giving 5 winners the choice of any A La Carte Project!
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