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In the Hands of A Child Project Pack: American Government Review by Jacque Dixon

Katie Kubesh, Niki McNeil, and Kimm Belloto
In the Hands of a Child
3271 Kerlikowske Road
Coloma, MI 49038

In the Hands of a Child Project Pack: American Government is a 72-page, complete hands-on unit study for grades 4 and up. It is ready to assemble and includes a 16-page Research Guide and 25 hands-on activities. A Project Pack, as described in the book, is "simply a file folder refolded into a shutter-style book." Another term for the shutter-style book is a lapbook. Lapbooks provide your children with a keepsake and a record of all that they learned during the study.

The spiral-bound manual tells you everything you need to know to make your lapbook. It includes a supplies list and detailed instructions for the pack, and the spiral binding allows you to fold the pages back for easy copying of the reproducible graphics. The Research Guide contains the actual lessons to teach. It is laid out in a chapter-style format and incorporates vocabulary lists and review questions. Also included are a bibliography, a list of related books, and a list of websites you can use with the study. The American Government Activities page has a list of 25 useful questions to start conversation as you work through the activities with your children.

This Project Pack is a particular favorite of mine, because I love to study America. History, patriotism, government, and American heroes are right up our alley. The study starts you off with the purpose of government and then moves on to colonial America and the taxes that were placed upon the colonies by the British parliament. You will then learn about the First Continental Congress. This part of the study involves various important historical documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

As you use this method of learning, your children will be doing hands-on activities, which will increase their retention of the material because they are having so much fun! Your children will learn how American laws are made and will also learn all about elections, from primaries and caucuses to National Conventions and the General Election, including a discussion of the Electoral College system. Additional topics include the Star-Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, and short biographies of the Founding Fathers of our country. A timeline of different laws and historical events is given for your use and coincides with a cute little activity to place into the folders.

For those who have never assembled a lapbooking project, the author has included full-color pictures of completed projects in the manual. The graphics accompanying the activities are very well done, and there are concise and clear instructions for assembling and affixing the various parts of the project. Prep work involves cutting out all of the materials to affix to the folders. This could be viewed as a bothersome task or a great learning experience. If you have never created a shutter-style lapbook in your homeschool before, you will love the many different ways to fold and affix the individual projects to the folders.

I am so thrilled with this Project Pack. I have never used anything like it, and I am looking forward to all the fun we will have putting it together and learning about our country's government.

Product review by: Jacque Dixon, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008