Download N Go … Unit Studies Meet Lapbooking

Download N Go is an exciting new series from TOS that you’re sure to love.  Every homeschooling family approaches education differently. Some like unit studies, some prefer traditional textbooks and some prefer lap booking and other creative ways to get their children to embrace new ideas and concepts.

Amanda Bennett had this great idea to combine two of the more popular educational systems (unit studies and lapbooks) and came up with Download N Go.  Here are some of the features (taken straight from my email):

Units are theme based and full of exciting discoveries and motivation to develop lifelong learners.

  • Each study is one week in length, having five daily lessons with lapbook components for each day.
  • Each student creates a complete lapbook–a finished capsule of learning.
  • All the research and preparation have been done!
  • Hyperlinks are embedded right in the study–saving you time!
  • Integrated studies include history, geography, reading, science, spelling,
    vocabulary, writing, art, and more.
  • Units are reusable year after year–nothing is consumed.
  • There are no expensive resources required!
  • Includes a great list of books that you can use to enrich your study, but
    they are not required.

And here’s the best part — TOS is offering Download and Go in two different flavors.  You can purchase the series based upon a semester or a year of lessons. Since this is just being launched, the semester (19 weekly lessons) is at a discounted introductory rate that you can see here. And you can get a whole year’s worth of lessons (38 in total) by clicking here.

I just got a chance to download my free introduction to Download N Go™ Autumn Treasures. After a quick look around it definitely looks like something my girls will enjoy doing. think you’ll love the way it turns homeschooling into a multi-sensory adventure.

Download Your Free Autumn Gift from TOS

As a member of the TOS Crew I get lots of great products to review.  And now it’s your turn! This week TOS has given non-TOS Crew members a great autumn gift.   Autumn Treasures is now available for free download. This is a lapbooking project that highlights the beauty, science and cooking that occurs during the autumnal season.

A few weeks ago I told you about my new love of lapbooking. If you haven’t tried lapbooking yet or are looking for a new one to start, be sure to click on the Autumn Treasures picture on the right side of this page (or click here). That will take you directly to your download.

Have fun!

I've Located The Queen of Lapbooking

I’ve located the Queen of Lapbooking. She’s hanging out on Squidoo with lots of ideas and advice for new lapbookers like me.  Actually I located her earlier this year, but it wasn’t until I saw the power of lapbooking with my own children did I fully appreciate her approach and creativity in her homeschooling efforts.

Jimmie’s been a working mom and a stay-at-home mom and well knows the struggles of both. She never dreamed that she’d be crowned “The Queen of Minibooks” just by doing what came naturally. Here’s her story in her own words:

“I was a public school teacher for seven years before becoming a SAHM. My daughter was born during that time, and so she spent the first three years of her life going to full time day care. When she was three we moved abroad, and I was able to become a SAHM. I’ve been homeschooling her since kindergarten.

I never thought that I would be a homeschooler. I was a teacher who believed in the public school system. But living abroad made homeschooling a necessity. My background in education made homeschooling an easy choice – I knew that I could do a good job. And I’ve found it far more rewarding to teach my daughter who loves me than to teach resistant middle-schoolers.

We live in China. I have three choices of schooling:

  1. National schools
  2. International schools, and
  3. Homeschooling

Chinese schools are unacceptable to our family for reasons of quality of education, unreasonable pressure that students face, and ideology differences. International schools are exorbitantly expensive. The quality of education is not worth that amount of money.

Homeschooling offers quality education at an affordable price. Plus we have the flexibility of managing our own schedule which gives us opportunities to travel. It’s a perfect fit for our situation.

Because I live abroad and have no access to libraries or even bookstores, I have to plan far in advance and bring books over from America, my home country. I started homeschooling with a complete Sonlight core package. It was a perfect decision because I didn’t have to spend any time piecing together resources. It was all there for me.

As the years went on, I began to branch out and choose materials from many different curriculum companies. Basically, I read a lot online and study several homeschool catalogs to decide what I want to teach and what materials I want to use. Currently, we’re using Winter Promise. Feel free to read my own comparison of Sonlight and Winter Promise.

As the years went on, I began to branch out and choose materials from many different curriculum companies. Basically, I read a lot online and study several homeschool catalogs to decide what I want to teach and what materials I want to use. Currently, we’re using Winter Promise. Feel free to read my own comparison of Sonlight and Winter Promise.

We are loosely Charlotte Mason styled homeschoolers. So that means we use a lot of living books and add in things like nature study, composer study, artist study, and Shakespeare.

We like to use lapbooking and notebooking along with other crafts. We also implement a living math approach and use timelines. You can learn more about our homeschool at my Homeschool Gallery or at my blog.

Because we homeschool, we can travel when we want to. My daughter, at age 9, has been to seven countries besides her own home country. She has seen both the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors. If we didn’t homeschool, there is no way we could do this kind of traveling with her.

Finding time for Sprite to spend time with her peers is, quite honestly, a real challenge for us in two main ways – my daughter is an only child, and Chinese children are very, very busy with school and have little time for free play. That means that we have to be very flexible. When local friends do have time, we drop everything to make play times happen. And we’re proactive. We invite; we seek friends out.

I think that more ridiculous than the questions are the crazy answers we sometimes say just to have fun with people. Chinese people who meet us in public almost always ask about my daughter’s education, “Does she go to school?” is the main question. What they mean is does she go to a local school (there is no other kind of school). My husband and I have been known to have a little fun with them and say something along these lines:

US: School? No way! Why would we do that? She’s a girl! Girls don’t need an education. She’s only going to get married and leave our home anyway!

THEM: (in shock) But I thought Americans valued education! You don’t want her to learn?

US: Who told you that? That’s not true. Americans, we’re so smart, we don’t even need education. You know America is rich! We have money growing around on trees. You just walk out and pick it. Our daughter doesn’t need school.

Of course, then we tell them we’re just kidding and then explain how we do educate her. I have to say, “We teach her at home. She does not go to school to learn. She learns at home. I teach her myself. It’s called homeschool. I have a curriculum from America that I use to teach her myself at home. She studies at home.” Because there is no concept of homeschooling, I have to thoroughly explain it (sometimes a few times).”

There are things that can make being a homeschooler and a budding small business owner easier. Jimmie says:

“Being a planner is helpful, that is, having a long term vision of where you want your child’s education to go, then being able to break that vision down into steps – year long curriculum plans, unit study plans, and lesson plans.

Obviously, a personal love of learning is helpful. If you love studying new things, your joy will rub off on your children. Don’t get worried! It will all come together –reading skills, math skills, even social skills. Take small steps each day. Keep making progress and it will all work out in the end.”

Be sure to check out her Sampler!  Just click the link below to enter Jimmie’s world.

“Queen of Minibooks” Sampler

A Journey Through Learning

Lapbooking is a fun way to teach and teach and reinforce every subject. It’s also something that all members of the family can do regardless of age. Basically a lapbook is a collection of minibooks and/or facts about a subject. These minibooks are placed inside of ordinary file folders that refolded to create a master book that fits in your lap.

A Journey Through Learning makes lapbooking super easy for a beginner like me to get started. I have been familiar with lapbooks for awhile, but this is my first time actually assembling one. Doing the lapbook project on “Autumn” has been a real eye-opener for me in more ways than one:

  1. Lapbooking is not complicated. I think this was one of the biggest points for me. I shied away from the activity because I couldn’t imagine how to choose what to include in a lapbook or how to put it together.
  2. Children learn and remember facts easily. Since there is a three year gap between my ladies so I wasn’t sure if Alaya would get as much out of it as Jade does. The minibooks break each subject down so well that there are few questions from either child.
  3. The organizational benefits. Jade had to deal with an immature auditory system and went to speech for a number of years. I mistakenly thought that once speech was over that was the end of her difficulties. But doing lapbooking has shown me that another quirk of her speech issue has manifested in her organizational skills. While her little sister had no problem organizing her book, Jade was all over the place. So I’m now incorporating lapbooking in every subject possible because she needs to strengthen those skills.

A Journey Through Learning really makes it easy for parents to teach and reinforce lessons in one step. Most of their lapbooks come with unit study guides. This means that there is a lesson before each crafting activity. So, you read the facts and/or story about the subject and then do the crafts. I’ve found that this has helped the children to remember the facts a lot better than through the traditional “read and regurgitate” method.

In addition to the minibooks being created, the A Journey Through Learning has a variety of fun activities as well.  For example, one of the activities in the Autumn lapbook was to pretend that we were birds and using a scavenger list we had to find the materials for making a bird’s nest.  This led to many discussions, lots of memorable fun.

Their catalog contains lapbooks on all kinds of topics including science, history, biblical, literature and also preschool topics.  If you’re lucky enough to live in Louisiana you can even take a lapbooking class with the owners. Their lapbook prices are very reasonable, especially when you consider that you can reprint whatever you need for all of the children in your family. The ebooks are $13, the CD version is $14 and the printed version is $21 per book.

Each book is chock full of stories, templates, charts, minibooks and activities. Many of the books are over 50 pages of information. And the activities are appropriate for a range of ages starting at the preschool level to the seventh grade.  I’m finding this to be one of the greatest appeal of their products because I can work with everyone at the same time. Since I also do work at home, the more subjects that I can combine without compromising either child’s level is really important.

But don’t take my word for it.  You need to head on over to A Journey Through Learning and get your free lapbook to try out. Once you signup for their free newsletter you’ll receive “An Overview of the 17th Century.” I think that once you experience the ease and fun of working with their products you’ll be hooked too!


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