Monday, September 28, 2009

A Journey Through Learning

Fourteen years ago when I began my homeschool journey I was always the odd Mom out. Most of the families in my homeschool support group were lovers of standard textbook curriculum. We were not. I loved the concept of the unit study and chose them as our primary source of learning. I continually searched for non-traditional ways to process our learning adventures and when I enthusiastically explained about them to friends I was usually rewarded with blank stares of disbelief and confusion. More times than not I would hear comments such as “Oh, I’m just not creative enough to do all of that!" or "I could never handle all that mess in my house”.
A Journey through Learning is a company designed to help those less adventuresome families who think “they can’t” when it comes to unit study learning. A Journey Through Learning currently sells 8 different prepared unit studies for families to try covering history and other social studies topics. All unit studies are designed to teach children in grades 2-7 or 8. In addition to unit studies, A Journey Through Learning offers 47 lapbooks complete with study guides designed for students pre-school- grade 7.

If the term LapbookTM is a new one for you it is time you became acquainted. I learned of LapbooksTM a few years ago and quickly fell in love with the idea. Lapbooks consist of a file folder bent into a new form filled with little mini booklets all designed to summarize information in varying ways regarding a topic studied. Lapbooks have an artsy-crafty feel, but serve as a practical educational tool. They work especially well with unit study families as a way to capture all the varied information related to the topic being studied.

A Journey Through Learning e-mailed three lapbooks in e-book format for our family to try. I chose to dive into the Autumn Lapbook with Study Guide first. My test victim, I mean student, was my 2nd grader, Sierra and she has loved every minute of the study. Together we have read through most of the background information provided and chose which mini-books to create as suggested. We began the study trying to incorporate her Kindergarten brother, but quickly discovered that the age suggestions of 2-7th grade were right on target. This lapbook was a bit too challenging for my Kindergarten student.

Preparation consisted of printing off the lapbook pages in their entirety and then placing them in a file folder. A Journey Through Learning suggests putting all pages in a three ring binder, but we were satisfied with using a file folder. Topics covered within the Autumn lapbook include Fall Equinox, calendar of fall months, science of leaf colors, foods of autumn, fall holidays, vocabulary words associated with fall, nature study activities for the fall, migrating birds, and a few jokes and puzzles for fun.

Each day of study is spent reading through the background information provided and then making a small booklet to reinforce the material learned. For example our second day with the the Autumn Lapbook we read a brief article regarding the Fall Equinox. We looked up the date on our family calendar and discussed in great detail the amount of daylight versus darkness. Next, Sierra created a two little booklets one reviewing the fall equinox and another of small calendar pages. We marked important dates on the calendar pages like her sister's birthday and Sierra's birthday. As we placed the little booklets into the file folder delight settled in Sierra's eyes as the vision of a finished product began to unfold.

A Journey Through Learning states their purpose is to "create delight filled learning experiences". Sierra smiled as she gazed at her lapbook and said, "Can we show this at the Project Fair at the end of the year?" "Absolutely", I said, taking note that this experience was not only delight filled, but memory making all in one.

A Journey Through Learning offers their lapbooks as digital downloads for $13.00, CD’s for $14.00 or printed copies for $21.00. Study guides and other useful suggestions for further topical study are included in each lapbook purchase. Full descriptions and sample pages can be viewed on the company’s website at

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