September 11 lapbook review

I’m sure we’re all aware that Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the attack on our country.  I felt like my 3 oldest kids were old enough this year to study about September 11.  We decided to do the Hands of a Child lapbook (which is only $1 if you buy it before September 11!

I received this lapbook for free in order to do this review.

This particular project pack was written for grades 2nd through 8th.  The kids I had working on it were 2nd, 4th, and 5th grades.

We started by reading the research guide over two days.  It was so comprehensive that I didn’t add anything else to it.  (The only thing that I might still add is some information about Todd Beamer, a Christian passenger on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.  There is information in the project pack about each of the flights, the buildings that were attacked, a timeline of events, Osama bin Laden, Islamic extremists and terrorism, the rescue heroes, long-term impact, and memorials.  There are 21 lapbook activities ranging from interviewing someone, writing a letter, designing a memorial, and playing a game.  One activity that I felt was really neat was the Hero Qualities Game.  I’m always trying to help my children grow in character, and it’s wonderful to focus on something great that came out of this tragedy–the heroes who did wonderful things to help and save others.

In view of the little time we had to spend on this subject (it wasn’t originally in my plans), I decided that the kids would do one lapbook with 7 activities each.  We were able to finish all of it in one day (plus the 2 days of reading).

I do recommend this lapbook to anyone who would like to study September 11.  Lapbooks are always a fun way to learn a subject, even a very difficult subject such as this.

Pictures of our September 11 lapbook:


Notice that he drew an octagon in the first picture, then changed it to a pentagon in the next!










A review of Katy’s Big Snow Day lapbook

Below is a review of the Hands of a Child project pack “Katy’s Big Snow Day.”  It is a literature lapbook unit based on the book “Katy and the Big Snow” by Virginia Lee Burton.  It can be purchased at CurrClick.


I did the Katy’s Big Snow Day lapbook with 3 of my kids, ages 3, 4, and 6.  We had a lot of fun with it.  I definitely recommend it for the preschool set. The book is old and sweet.  It had some interesting words in it, so my kids learned some new things.  The lapbook activities were enjoyable for them, too.   The project pack says it was written for up to 3rd grade; I’m sure there are some kids older than 6 years who would like it, but not my older boys (2nd and 3rd grade).  The book was too childish for them.

Included in the project guide were lots of questions to ask the kids while we were reading.  There were 20 lapbook activities.  It took me about an hour to cut it all out, but my 6 year-old daughter was able to help a little.  We were able to adapt many activities for my younger set by cutting and pasting the answers, drawing them, or dictating while I wrote, instead of having the kids write so much.   Much of this was included by the authors.  My 4 year-old was able to trace the answers for some of the minit-books; it was nice that they were included in the project pack, too.

I loved how the book was a jumping off point for studying directions (north, south, east, west) and compasses.  We also studied about blizzards.  Both compasses and blizzards had quite a few lapbook activities included.  I found a few more things to explore which weren’t included in the project guide:  measurement (they talk about how deep the snow fell), big construction trucks (by 3 year-old boy loved this), street signs, and counting by 5 (the first page counts by 5s up to 55 to show that Katy is 55 horsepower).  We also added in another activity of drawing a map of our own town, and compared it to the map of Geoppolis.  A verse I thought fitted in well was Proverbs 31:17 which says “She sets about her work vigorously;  her arms are strong for her tasks.”  That was a good description of Katy! 

Now, here is the cutest thing.  These 3 kids were running about chasing each other yesterday and kept saying, “I’ll be Katy now.  You’re Katy.  It’s my turn to be Katy.  Etc.”  Finally, I asked them what they were doing.  I could tell that “Katy” was the leader , so I said, “Why don’t you just say you’ll be the leader?”  Then, I realized they were acting out the book!  When someone asks for help, Katy always says, “Follow me.” And then she plows out the street while they all follow her!  It just confirms for me again how kids learn so much on their own if you gently guide them and then give them the freedom (and time) to explore!

So, try out this lapbook with your preschooler(s).  It’s great for the winter-time!

Here are some pictures.  I still can’t figure out how to turn these.  Sorry!

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Cowboy lapbook and unit study

Cowboy Unit Study

Last month we did a fun study on cowboys.

Here are the books we read:

A biography of Will Rogers
Armadillo Rodeo (Brett),
C is for Cowboy: A Wyoming Alphabet (Gagliano),
Cowboys (Penner),
Cowboys and Cowgirls: Yippee Yay! (Gibbons),
I Want to be a Cowboy (Liebman),
Why Cowboys Sleep With Their Boots On (Why Cowboys Series)(Knowlton),

Riding the Range: Western Activities for Kids (Drinkard),
Little Sure-Shot: The story of Annie Oakley (Spinner),
Justin Morgan Had a Horse (Henry, on CD),
B is for Buckaroo:  A Cowboy Alphabet (Gleaves),
Bronco Busters (Herzig),
Rodeo (Bellville)
Kickin’ Up Some Cowboy Fun (Cook)

And movies we watched:
Annie Get Your Gun (movie),
All About the Circus & All About Rodeos (movie),
All About Dinosaurs & All About Horses (movie)

Music CD:
All about cowboys for kids  (CD)

Experience History Through Music: Westward Ho! The Heart of the Old West (book, songs, and CD)

Diana Waring Westward Ho

As usual, the kids spent a lot of time acting like cowboys (and cowgirls) and pretending to be in rodeo events.  We had a couple of ropes which they had made at a farm festival last year.  I know they are really understanding what we’re learning in books when they actually act it out!

Here are the cowboy lapbook pictures.  Most of this was from Hands of a Child “Cowboys.”
Find this and lots of other great studies and lapbooks at CurrClick:

cowboy lapbook

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American Indian unit study and lapbook

We did a really neat American Indian unit study and lapbook a while back.

Here is my daughter with her cradle board that we made out of an orange juice container:

Pictures of our lapbook (materials from Hands of a Child and Dover):

The boys put together the Pueblo Village you see in the lapbook above.
Here are the books we read:

Tapenum’s day : a Wampanoag Indian boy in Pilgrim times (Waters, Kate)

One little, two little, three little pilgrims (Barbara G.)

Giving thanks : the 1621 harvest feast (Waters, Kate)

Native Americans   (Hirschfelder, Arlene B.)

The Ojibwa  (Lomberg, Michelle).

American Indian foods  (Miller, Jay)

Traditional crafts from native North America

More than moccasins : a kid’s activity guide to traditional North American Indian life  
  (Carlson, Laurie M)

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Rainforest Unit Study and Lapbook

The above graphics for the lapbook are fromHands of a Child Rainforest Habitats and Jena the Jaguar, Squidoo, and Homeschool Share.  See some great pictures of Jimmie’s lapbook here.

Rainforest Books that we read

The Jungle Book (Kipling, Rudyard)

Afternoon on the Amazon (Osborne, Mary Pope)

The great kapok tree : a tale of the Amazon rainforest     (Cherry, Lynne)

 Rainforest birds (Kalman, Bobbie)

Tropical rain forest (Silver, Donald M.)

Over in the jungle : a rainforest rhyme (Berkes, Marianne Collins)

Rainforest colors (Canizares, Susan)

Rain forests : tropical treasures

Draw! rainforest animals (DuBosque, D. C.)

Rainforests : an activity guide for ages 6-9 (Castaldo, Nancy F.)

Rain, rain, rain forest (Guiberson, Brenda Z.)

Rain forests  (Osborne, Will)

Crafts for kids who are wild about rainforests (Ross, Kathy)

The umbrella (Brett, Jan)

A walk in the rainforest (Pratt-Serafini, Kristin Joy)

One day in the tropical rain forest (George, Jean Craighead)

More or less : a rain forest counting book (Davis, Rebecca Fjelland)

Unit Study and Lapbook on Martin Luther and the Reformation

Martin Luther Lapbook
We’ve spent the last month studying about Martin Luther and the Reformation.  I wrote a unit study about Martin Luther and the Reformation that is posted at Homeschool Helper Online.  We enjoyed reading the book Martin Luther by Maier

and the Trailblazers book called Spy for the Night Riders by Jackson.
My husband and I love the movie Luther.  It’s PG-13 and not appropriate for some of our kids yet, though.

We also put together a lapbook on Martin Luther and the Reformation.  See pictures and ideas of what to include below.  I used the Type it In Template Pack from Hands of a Child to make the mini-booklets for this lapbook.

Lapbook Mini-Books on Martin Luther and the Reformation

What Experience Led Martin Luther to Become a Monk?  (He was almost killed by a lightning strike.  He told God he would become a monk.) Define the following words:  Protestant Reformation, Monk, Nun, Catholic Church, Heresy, Sacraments, Penance, Indulgences, Relics, Purgatory, Diet, Recant, Pilgrimage, Excommunicate

Copywork of his hymn (translated into English) “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

Map of Germany:  Label Eisleben, Wittenberg, Worms, Eisenach, and Wartburg Castle.

Timeline of Martin Luther’s life:  Tell what happened during these years:  1483 (born), 1505 (almost struck by lightning, leaves law to become a monk), 1508 (begins teaching at University of Wittenberg), 1510 (visits Rome), 1517 (posts 95 Theses), 1521 (Diet of Worms), 1525 (marries Katherine von Bora), 1534 (completes translation of Bible into German), 1546 (dies).

Ninety-five Theses:  Answer the following questions.  Where were they put (Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany), what was the date (Oct. 31, 1517), what did they talk about (complaints he had with Catholic Church doctrine, particularly indulgences), why did he put the list up (to encourage discussion and debate among students and faculty at the University of Wittenberg)

German words:  Love (Liebe), God (Gott), Church (Kirche).

Tell about Martin Luther’s parents:  (Hans Luder was a miner and was able to pay for Martin’s schooling, his mother Margarethe was a strict disciplinarian.  They were not happy with his decision to leave law to become a monk.)

Tell about Martin’s Marriage and Children:  (He married a former nun named Katharine von Bora on June 13, 1525.  She was 26, and he was 41.  They had 6 children together, and adopted a number of children, too.  They had a busy household, often having many people over for dinner and to sleep.)

Which book of the Bible helped Martin Luther understand God better and salvation by grace rather than works?  (Romans)

Which verse was particularly meaningful to Martin Luther?  Write it out.  (Roman 1:17)

Tell about indulgences:  What are they?  What was the money to be used for (to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome), Who was John Tetzel (a man who sold many indulgences in Germany and made a lot of money for the church.)

What were some of the disagreements Martin Luther had with the Catholic Church?  (Christ, not the pope, should be head of the church.  Indulgences are meaningless, and they give the people false hope of getting into heaven, as well as stealing money from them.  Christ offers free grace for salvation; we don’t have to and can’t earn it.  We don’t need a priest to be a mediator between us and God; we can reach Him ourselves.  There should only be two sacraments (baptism and Lord’s Supper/Communion) and not seven.  The Bible and church services should be in the language of the people, and not Latin.)

The Times of Martin Luther:  It was a transition between the Medieval Times and the Renaissance.   Tell about the food, clothes, entertainment (plays, jugglers, jesters), Knights, Artists (Cranach, Durer, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Bruegher the Elder), Explorers (Columbus, Balboa, Vasco da Gama, Magellan, Coronado). etc.

Wartburg Castle:  Tell about the kidnapping.  How did he get there, whose idea was it (Frederick the Wise), why did he need to be there (he would have been killed if caught by someone else), who did he pretend to be (Knight George), how long was he there (10 months), what did he do while there (translated the New Testament into German and wrote other books).

Who are some other Protestant Reformers?  (Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, John Knox, etc.)

Why was the Printing Press invented by Gutenberg so significant for the Protestant Reformation?  (the Bible was printed in people?s everyday language, communication increased, people learned quicker and were able to mobilize, the gospel spread quicker)

Match people’s names to their job or position.  Leo X (Pope), Philip Melanchthon (Luther’s co-worker), Frederick the Wise (Prince/Elector of Saxony), Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor), Katherine (his wife).

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This post is linked up here:  Notebooking Nook


Polar Regions unit study and lapbook


Polar Regions unit study and lapbook
We have finished our Polar Regions unit study and lapbook and had a great time with it!  My kids made snow goggles and soapstone carvings (out of soap!).  We also ate some  “Eskimo” food. 

We’re reading a neat book about Arctic missionaries called Mik-Shrok (Repp)  

Here are the other books we read:

Reindeer Trail (Hadar)

The Emperor’s Egg (Jenkins)

Explore Antarctic (Kalman)

Living in the Tundra (Loughran)

North Pole, South Pole (Levinson)

Polar Bear, Arctic Hare (Spinelli)

Arctic and Antarctic (DK)

Keiko’s Story: A Killer Whale Goes Home (Kurth)

Into the Ice: The Story of Arctic Exploration (Curlee)

Alaska ABC Book (Kreeger)

The Bravest Dog Ever:  The True Story of Balto (Standiford)

The Arctic (Lynch)

Dog Sledder: Racing Across the Snow in Alaska (Brode)

Welcome to the Ice House (Regan)

Cultures of the World: Iceland (Wilcox)

The March of the Penguins (the book) (Jacquet)

Snow Bear (Harper)

And a non-fiction book on dog sledding

We also watched some documentaries:

March of the Penguins

The Free Willy Story: Keiko’s Journey Home

The activities we included in the lapbook are: 
  • maps of Arctic and Antarctica,
  • graph of glaciers, polar explorers,
  • animals of Arctic vs. Antarctic,
  • food chain,
  • info on polar bears,
  • lots of info on penguins,
  • info on dog sledding,
  • clothes of the Eskimo,
  • vocabulary words,
  • info on snow,
  • poems about snowmen,
  • pocket reports on Keiko the Killer Whale (star of Free Willy movies) and Balto the sled dog
  • colored flags of the Arctic countries.  
Here are some pictures:

Some of the lapbook templates were from 2 different Hands of a Child project packs:  Snow and Sled Dogs.  You can download these at CurrClick.


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Review of Ten Commandments Lapbook

Review of Ten Commandments Lapbook
My kids and I just completed a unit study on The Ten Commandments, using a project pack from Hands of a Child as our main source of materials. 
You can find it at


Below is a review of the project pack:  Overall, I really enjoyed doing the Hands of a Child lapbook of The Ten Commandments.  It’s a 50-page packet which includes a research guide, 15 activities, and explanations on how to put together a lapbook.  The age is listed as Multi-Level, and almost every activity has adaptations for younger children who can?t write.  They will either copy over dotted lines, draw a picture, or cut and paste the answer.

My kids (mostly just the 5 yo and 6 yo, but occasionally the 3 yo joined us) started out by reading from Exodus and read most of chapters 1-20 (in several sittings, of course!).  We talked quite a bit about Moses and his life.  The research guide in the project pack gave a great background of his life, but I wanted to include even more, such as his marriage and two sons and specifics of the Ten Plagues. 

The first activity was a set of memory cards to aid in memorization of  the Ten Commandments in the King James Version.  We had previously memorized the Ten Commandments in NIV.  At first I wished that they had given the Scripture in NIV, or at least in both KJV and NIV, but then I realized that I was glad to have the opportunity to teach my kids some of the wording from KJV.  I felt the research guide was very good in explaining each commandment in an easy-to-understand way for a child.

The explanations about the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant were good, too, and had activities for each.

One of the best things about the whole guide was bringing in Jesus.  They explained Jesus’ answer of what the greatest commandment is (from Matthew 22:36-39).  And then there were ample opportunities for the kids to apply the Ten Commandments to their own lives.  They were asked to explore why they need to obey the Ten Commandments, which are hardest for them to obey and why, and to start a journal about ways to stop their temptations to break a commandment.

My favorite activities were where my kids drew pictures.  I am just now realizing that my kids are able to draw from their own imaginations!  There were several activities where older kids could write an answer while younger ones (like mine) would draw the answer.  They did a great job!

My kids’ favorite activity was to rewrite the Ten Commandments in their own words and then “age” the paper.  After writing it, we tore the edges of the paper and then carefully placed in in a plate full of tea.  We let the papers dry on a towel and then scrunched them up.  It really made the papers look old!

I added 3 activities of my own: a map of the Exodus (Egypt, Red Sea, Wilderness, Mt. Sinai), a math activity showing the Roman numerals 1-10 (I-X), and the Cowboy version of the Ten Commandments.

The other things we did to round out our study was to listen to “Sir Oliver’s Song”

— a favorite from my childhood! and watch Veggie Tales “Mo and the Big Exit.”

I would recommend the Hands of a Child project pack if anyone wants to study the Ten Commandments in a more in depth way.  See pictures of our lapbook below:



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