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!

Creating Books with Children 2 DVD/CD Set Review by Marisa Corless

By Valerie Bendt
Valerie Bendt Books
333 W. Rio Vista Court
Tampa, FL 33604-6940

Creating Books with Children is a 2 DVD/CD set designed to teach the parent to carry out a six-week unit study on book making. The CD has some sample books, full instructions for organizing a six-week study, and a quick start book that is useable only if you have Microsoft Publisher. While the quick start book is not useable by everyone, it is not necessary for the course because the instructions are so clear--from the first step of prewriting to writing, illustrating, and finally binding the book. The first DVD is a video of Valerie Bendt's workshop "Making Memorable Books with Children." During her lecture, she shares cute stories to inspire the audience as well as tips on motivating children with both writing and drawing. She also shares some examples of the books her children have made over the years. The second DVD is a step-by-step instructional video that shows exactly how to make the books. Valerie uses one of her children to demonstrate making a mock-up book, making a cover, stitching, making a jacket, assembly, etc. Mrs. Bendt also shares helpful tips, such as how to trim the book just before stitching to make it look neater.

In order to complete this unit study, you will need to take a trip to the library for picture books. Other necessary supplies include sketch paper, construction paper, cardboard, and illustration materials. Mrs. Bendt suggests markers or colored pencils for the clearest and longest lasting pictures. While this set is presented as a unit study, the principles can be used independent of a unit study and can be applied to other projects or studies as well.

I loved the workshop and found the CD helpful; it made me feel confident that I can get my children to create a beautiful book they can be proud of. I also liked the layout of the CD instruction manual. The how-to DVD is especially nice because it allows you to see what Mrs. Bendt describes in her instructions. One minor disadvantage is that many people don't have Microsoft Publisher, although Mrs. Bendt does point out that a free trial version is available for download from Microsoft. With all the information presented in this product, $24 for the set seems like a bargain. I recommend this set if you have any desire to make books with your children.

Product review by Marisa Corless, MH, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2011