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SonlightAmerican History I: From Exploration to 1850 Lapbook Kit Review by Jennifer Ladewig

Sonlight Curriculum
8042 South Grant Way
Littleton, CO 80122

Sonlight’sAmerican History I: From Exploration to 1850 Lapbook Kit is a hands-on activity kit that contains 25 history projects for student to complete. Project templates, a 38-page instruction book, most supplies needed to complete the projects, as well as the pre-assembled lapbook cover are included in the kit box. The instruction book contains a brief historical write-up about each project. Step-by-step instructions guide the student through easily completing each project. Colorful photographs are included for each project so that the student can see what the finished project should look like. Cardstock of various colors as well as printer paper are used for the templates for the various projects. Some of the other materials that are provided in the kit include: double-sided tape, a piece of burlap, velcro, sheets of plastic, glue, brown paper bag, jewels, etc. The cost of the kit is $39.99.

This American History I kit is part of Sonlight’s Level D History/Bible/Literature program. This kit is geared for ages 8-11. On average each project takes about one to two hours to complete. I did find that some of the projects took a bit more than two hours to complete. This is geared for the homeschool setting.

The projects included in the kit are:

  1. Explorer Profiles
  2. Mapping the Routes of Columbus
  3. Five Reasons for Exploration
  4. Native American Tribes
  5. Native Story Bag
  6. Real Estate Brochure
  7. Doc-Pocket
  8. European Exploration and Colonization
  9. Navigational Equipment
  10. Slavery in America
  11. Mitchell Map
  12. Plantation Crops
  13. British Acts
  14. George vs. George
  15. Monarchy vs. Republic
  16. Bad News in Boston
  17. Soldiers of the Revolution
  18. The Famous Duel
  19. The Growth of the United States to 1850
  20. The Lewis & Clark Expedition
  21. War of 1812
  22. The Erie Canal
  23. “The North Star” Abolitionist Newspaper
  24. The Trip West in a Covered Wagon
  25. The Pharmacopoeia

I did not try to schedule or complete a set number of projects within any given week as some projects took longer than others. On average my daughter completed two projects a week. I wanted her to really focus on quality and not rush through a project and end up with a sloppy project at the end. Also, I wanted to ensure that we adequately discussed and read various books, or sections within a book relating to each project. Every once in a while, we were able to complete three projects in a week.

I absolutely loved this all-inclusive kit! The complete kit was a huge draw for me both as a mother and teacher. Most vendors who sell lapbook curricula require the purchaser to both download and print out the entire lapbook themselves. Then you also have to purchase the lapbook supplies and folders. Having everything supplied in one convenient kit is a breath of fresh air and an incredible time saver! As much as I love lapbooks I always dread the printing out of the lapbook pages, instructions, and gathering of all of the materials that will be needed to assemble the lapbook. This kit is worth its weight in gold. Most of my kiddos really enjoy or have enjoyed learning through lapbooks.

My 10-year-old daughter said, “I really like this kit. Normally my mom has to print out our lapbooks on our printer and it is just boring white paper. I am so excited that I get to have not only different colored paper but thick paper too. The lapbook is already put together. The instruction book helps making the projects easy. I like having the pictures so that I know what they should look like. Some of the projects take a LONG time to do!

Project three entitled, 5 Reasons for Exploration, students learn about how explorers set out upon the open seas facing unknown dangers in search of adventure and wealth. In this particular project students create a 5-door flap project using cardstock. The 5 Reasons for Exploration include: Spices of the Orient, Gold and Riches, Land to Conquer, The Spread of Christianity, and Adventure. Under each of the flaps, students are asked to glue various objects that reflect each reason such as gluing cinnamon behind Spices of the Orient and drawing a cross behind The Spread of Christianity.

After completing all 25 of the lapbook projects students have an amazing, colorful lapbook full of all of the adventures that they explored over the many weeks of learning about American History from Exploration to 1850. I really liked the variety of projects included in this kit. From mapping Columbus’s voyages to learning about what it was like traveling via a covered wagon west and the supplies needed to survive such a journey, the plethora of information learned is incredible. In the project entitled, The Trip West in a Covered Wagon, my daughter actually got to use real muslin cloth from the supply kit to cover the bonnet of the wagon. My kiddos always have such a sense of pride after they have completed a lapbook and they look at what they have completed.

A finished lapbook it a bit like a history book, only much more exciting. When wrapping up a lapbook study I often times ask my child various questions about various projects. It is a bit like a final test to see how much they remember about what they learned along the way. Between the hands-on learning through completing each project and the reading that was done for each project it is truly amazing how much knowledge students absorb. Lapbook learning is definitely one of my favorite ways to have my kiddos learn history.

I would most definitely recommend Sonlight’sAmerican History I: From Exploration to 1850 Lapbook Kit to others. Be sure to check out Sonlight for other lapbook kits.

-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2018