You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2009.
Lapbooking? Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, as they say in Britain. I am married to and have raised self-proclaiming”geeks”. Truth be known, I am probably a little on the geek side, too. I have just never cared for things that seemed like art. I was about to dismiss this review as “not very useful” if I am being honest. I wouldn’t give a bad review for that reason, of course, but I don’t know if I would have put a good effort into it, though. My conscience wouldn’t let me do that really, so I asked around and got other opinions about lapbooking in general and this particular set from A Journey through Learning. Boy, did I get a surprise!
Almost every parent in my school for homeschoolers had heard of lapbooking and loved it. The parents find it so useful for their children in learning and more importantly, retaining the information they learn. These parents felt that the process of building presentation booklets on specific topics increased their students’ interest level in the subjects, too. The ability to make lapbooks almost 3D with the use of various paper folds adds additional interest and skill to the unit studies. This method is very similar to scrapbooking and just as versatile, it seems. A Journey through Learning unit studies take a great method and make it easy to learn with the detailed instructions and tip guides. The well-designed templates and colorful photos and clip art helps make it easy to create advanced and spectacular booklets. The study guide provided with each one gives your student a great start at learning. Lapbooking and A Journey through Learning cover all the modalities needed to make learning a success with the ability to teach the skills of following instructions and working together (when a family tackles each project). You can then tie it all together with the ability to express themselves creatively.
Accessibility for these projects is there for the .pdf since Adobe has the text-to-speech ability. Of course, there is no braille output for this, but the authors do have the ability to copy text for accessibility turned on which will allow it to be pulled into other screenreading programs for large print, better voices for the blind, and braille for the deafblind. The great colors available in the templates are good for low vision, and the templates can be printed out at larger scales for those with low vision. These can definitely be modified for many special needs students.
These great lapbook units on all kinds of subjects from amphibians to reptiles, to the Civil War to the Bible can be found at the web site, http://www.ajourneythroughlearning.com. The prices are very affordable and are available in three formats: downloadable .pdf at $13.00, CD_ROM at $14.00, and print at $21.00. Created by two homeschooling moms for homeschoolers who understand what you do and what you need to teach your students, these lapbook sets are just the ticket to success.
Nutrition guides and fad diet information can be found anywhere. Many are not worth the junk science they are based on. I wouldn’t want to bring that kind of program into a classroom of any type, but my fears were totally unfounded on this program. This is not just another nutrition guide, and it is not based on junk science. Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is a full nutrition and health curriculum. Its design is an excellent way to bring the study of health into the homeschool way of doing things.
Nutrition 101: Choose Life! written cooperatively by Debra Raybern, N. D. and Sera Johnson and Laura Hopkins and Karen Hopkins as part of Growing Healthy Homes, LLC. brings the study of the body and how it works into the homeschooling way by integrating the program into the lifestyle of the family. The resource itself is full of interesting reading about each of the body’s systems complete with colorful pictures and diagrams loaded with details. Biology study alone, it isn’t either, though. The delightful twist is nutrition and how food affects the workings of the body systems. The ultimate goal of this project is to help the family “develop lifelong habits and desires to eat wholesome foods that support great health”. The authors’ goal is definitely well-supported by the wealth of researched information, exciting family activities, and delicious healthy recipes. Scripture is referenced throughout the program modeling for your family what God has intended for our bodies, His temple. The activities are designed to get your students thinking and finding out for themselves what amazing bodies God made for us and how it is our responsibility to care for them properly. The delicious recipes are specifically chosen for each lesson to emphasize the many points taught in each area. They are designed with the family in mind including the picky eaters. The design is visually attractive to the eye as well as conducive to learning using the added visual cues of boldly colored and attractive fonts for vocabulary, pronunciation key facts, and fun fact side boxes. The appendix is also packed with good resources for almost anything you might wish to learn more about such as selecting fresh produce, kitchen safety, calcium, asthma helps, mold, and more. This program really takes health to more than just “a check off the box” course .
The visual organization, though designed for the sighted, is still suitable for many low vision students. The colors and boxes help to separate the main lesson from the added information and to highlight the vocabulary and other features. The e-book version of the curriculum is in Adobe .pdf, and thankfully, the authors turned on the accessibility features that are present in Adobe. Unfortunately, this will not help braille readers at all, since Adobe has locked the .pdf to use only its speech-to-text reader which has no braille output features, and the Adobe .pdf format is not accessible to JAWS or other screenreaders for speech or braille output. I am not faulting the authors for this at all, and I hope they will educate themselves to the needs of the blind and deafblind market. There are homeschooling families who need these accessibility features including braille.
Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is an amazing curriculum for homeschool use. It is so versatile being in the digital e-book format and a print format. The program can be purchased on their website for $79.95 for the CD-ROM, $99.95 for the print book, or a combo pack of the CD-ROM and book for $ 129.95. This curriculum really can deliver on its promise to help “develop lifelong habits that support great health”. Find out more about this great curriculum at http://www.GrowingHealthyHomes.com.