The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Andrea Carter and the Family Secret Lapbook with Study Guide Review by Donna Campos

By Nancy Fileccia and Paula Winget
A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and Unit Studies

Andrea Carter and the Family Secret is a chapter book written for "tweens" by Susan Marlow, and it is book three of the Circle C Adventure series. This fictional series, which is about the life of Andrea Carter in the 1880s, is published by Kregel and includes historically accurate references. This review is for the Lapbook with Study Guide that is designed to be used with the chapter book, which must be purchased separately. Designed for children from 2nd to 6th grades, this lapbook is available in several formats--a downloadable format for $7, a CD format for $11, a printed format for $15, and an assembled format for $30. This review is for the printed format, which comes in a thin plastic bag with sticky closure strip. Prefolded lapbook file folders are also available for $1 each. Three file folders are necessary for this lapbook, but they do not have to be prefolded or brightly colored. Standard manila file folders will suffice. You will also need scissors, markers, pens, brass brads, a stapler, and glue to assemble the product.

Included are 47 pages of lapbook components, informational text pages, and instructions for assembling the lapbook. A "Things to Know" page explains the folding patterns for lapbooks, placement of the mini-booklets, and lapbook assembly choices. All necessary instructions are included. Several pages of diagrams are included to show how to make the three-folder lapbook, including detailed, color-coded diagrams specific to this particular lapbook.

Topics include the coloring of horses, Johnny Appleseed, the history of canning, the railroad, a rattlesnake's rattle, the circus, and the game of checkers. Subjects such as Andi feeling betrayed, discipline in an 1880 school, Andi's family, and medicine in the 1880s are also covered. You may complete the components and build your lapbook as you read through the book or after completing the whole book. It is necessary to find pictures to complete the lapbook components via the Internet, so we urge parents to use the Internet with caution. Occasional typos once again frustrated us (e.g., "medal" used instead of "metal," "murders" instead of "murderers," and "bring" instead of "bringing"). These are things that should have been caught in the editing process, as these reading portions are not lengthy. Students at any level of lapbooking skill will be able to easily complete the lapbook--and will likely enjoy the process thoroughly! All of the graphics are vivid with bright colors, and the variety of lapbook components is broad so that children are not simply making the same type of mini-book over and over. Students can even personalize the placement of the various components and design a truly unique lapbook.

Susan Marlow and her wonderful series captured the heart of our family long ago. Enjoying extension activities built around her books is an educational explosion! We enjoyed great science information about the pollination of flowers on apple trees and the formation of this spectacular fruit. One activity involved cooking applesauce, and several recipes for apples are included. We loved the little train graphic for the information on the railroad. Chapter references are given on the pages so that students can easily tell where the information is to be found within the book. As with all of the books in the series, this Lapbook with Study Guide holds biblical truths and extends the lessons. An activity is included for comparing Andi and her friends' behavior to that of the Good Samaritan. And our family loved the "Treasure box" lapbook component, as it includes the Scripture that mentions storing "treasures in Heaven." The rattlesnake rattle information is interesting, and we liked the vivid graphic. And the page on the flora and fauna of California provides great information. Don't miss the Checkers board and markers included in a simple grid pattern. What a fun find when sharing this lapbook with grandparents and friends!

We are pleased that A Journey Through Learning chose to offer a lapbook guide for each of the books in the Circle C Adventure series. The activities are fun, the colors are vibrant and creative, and the lapbook itself is just plain enjoyable to work on! Andrea Carter and the Family Secret is one of the books in the series with deeper emotional meaning, as it tackles some tough family issues. So enjoy the opportunity for some deeper discussions as you complete the lapbook with your children. Learning abounds with A Journey Through Learning!

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2010