In the Hands of a Child ~ Product Review

Lapbooking, unit studies, project packs? Do these ring a bell. If not, then I am really excited to share with you a bit about an alternative method for learning separate from the traditional textbook/workbook that most of us used while in the public school system. Our family has enjoyed using a a variety of unit studies and lapbooks over the years. One of our favorite publishers of these studies is In the Hands of a Child. Our experience with this premiere company in lapbooking has been primarily in the use of their history and literature studies for the elementary and middle school levels. When we were offered the opportunity to review one of their high school level units, we were anxious to broaden our wings. This review is focused on our use of America’s Civil Rights Movement: 1954-1968. In the Hands of a Child also offers units on an array of other topics outside of literature and history. You will want to be sure to explore their other offerings at their website.

Hands of A Child

What is in a Project Pack and What do we do?

Project packs from In the Hands of a Child are a winner in our home, because they come with everything already done for the homeschooling parent in developing a unit study, but have lots for the kids to still do. Some of the different elements included in a typical project pack from In the Hands of a Child are:

  • A suggested daily schedule of activities, reading, and vocabulary terms to complete and the total number of days needed to allow for completion. The study we reviewed was scheduled to take 7 days.  We actually expanded it a little bit to fill two complete weeks of school.
  • A bibliography of suggested books and resources that are great supplements to what is already contained in the project pack.  Our family loves literature and loves to combine great books with our study of various history topics.
  • The actual bibliography of the sources used by the author in compiling the materials in the project  pack.
  • Text of the information that will be used by the student in completing the activities and assignments.  I love this feature as a parent in that everything I need is there, but I still have the freedom to do additional research if I would choose to.
  • A list of instructions for completing each of the activities and assembling them into a lapbook.
  • A list of definitions for each of the vocabulary terms that the students are to define. America’s Civil Rights Movement had a total of 18 vocabulary terms with the student defining 2-3 terms on most days.
  • Templates of all of the activities that will be completed in the lapbook format.
  • An answer key in the back of the unit with appropriate responses for each of the activities.
A sample view of what your lapbook might look like when completed.
A sample view of what your lapbook might look like when completed.

A bit About our Unit and What we Did

America’s Civil Rights Movement came as a 62 page pdf file that we downloaded from the vendor’s website. It was very easy to navigate through. When I first start a project pack from In the Hands of the Child, I print the daily schedule, vocabulary terms, text, and answer key and place them in that order in a three ring binder. This becomes my teacher lesson plans. I then print the activity templates on colorful cardstock. These templates are placed in a file folder or the inside pocket of my teacher binder. We gather together file folders, which act as the base for our unit study activities to be glued on to.

America’s Civil Rights Movement is designed to be used with students in grades 7-12. Since I was choosing to use it with our daughter who will be a sophomore this year, I chose to have her use a binder rather than file folders. She completed the activities and glued them to pieces of cardstock in the front section of the binder. We inserted the text from the unit along with the bibliographies in the back. I felt that this lends itself to a more permanent preserving of the materials for her to use in future research projects and studies.

This particular study is designed to take 7 school days to complete or about 1 1/2 weeks. We stretched this out a bit. Our daughter was completing this unit independently during her summer break as part of a personal interest she has. She was allowed to work at her own pace and incorporate as much literature as she wanted into the study. Her choices in books began from the suggested reading list that came with the study. From a practicality standpoint, I would like to share that we were able to find a majority of the books on the list at our local library. About half of them were from the children’s section and half were from the adult non-fiction. I was concerned at first about the reading level of the books, but then remembered that the addition of the children’s section books was appropriate since the study could be used with an early middle school student.

Our Thoughts:

Already lovers of the products from In the Hands of the Child, we were not disappointed with this study. It provided a good amount of content to cover the key elements of this period in our country’s history. The activities were a good way for our daughter to solidify the content in her mind. If we were doing this study as part of our “official” school year, I may have incorporated an additional research paper on a related topic of her choosing and may have challenged her with a longer paper to write using some critical thinking skills to look at the more complex issues of the events of these days. Maybe a bit of research on the perspective of those that did not see the Civil Rights Movement as all positive and why their views were or were not valid?

America’s Civil Rights Movement: 1954-1968 normally retails for $12. It is currently part of a site wide sale at the In the Hands of a Child website and is marked down to $5 at the time this post is being originally published. Most of the studies on the website have an option to download a sample so you can preview a bit before making your purchase. One of the things that I love about these studies is that you are purchasing them. Once you make the purchase and download them, they do not expire. They are yours to use with multiple children over the years. You can also print several copies of the templates to use with more than one child at a time.

Click on the box below to read reviews from other members of the TOS Review Crew.  Crew members have been reviewing lapbooks and project packs from In the Hands of a Child for all grade levels and subjects.



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