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SonlightAmerican History II: From 1850's to Early 21st Century Lapbook Kit Review by Jennifer Ladewig

Sonlight Curriculum
8042 South Grant Way
Littleton, CO 80122

Sonlight’sAmerican History II: From 1850’s to Early 21st Century Lapbook Kit is a hands-on activity kit containing 45 history-based projects for the student to complete. Project templates, a 55-page instruction book, most supplies needed to complete the projects, as well as the preassembled lapbook cover are included in the kit box. The instruction book contains colorful photographs of what each project should look like when completed. A brief historical write-up about the significance of each project is included at the top of every page. Step-by-step instructions guide the student so that they are able to successfully complete projects on their own. Thick cardstock consisting of various colors as well as regular paper are used to make the templates for each project. A ziploc bag is included in the kit which is filled with various supplies that the student will need for completing their projects. Some of the supplies included in the bag are: glue sticks, double sided tape, paper fasteners, velcro dots, and Dura-Lar sheets. There is a small list of supplies that you will have to provide such as: scissors, a stapler, colored pencils, hole punch, etc. The cost of the kit is $39.99.

This American History II kit is part of Sonlight’s Level E History/Bible/Literature program. The kit is geared for ages 9-12. On average each project should take approximately one to two hours to complete. I for the most part found this to be true. This is geared for the homeschool setting.

The projects included in the kit are:

  1. Causes for Conflict
  2. The United States in 1860
  3. Abolitionist Newspaper, “The Liberator”
  4. Routes of the Underground Railroad
  5. Gettysburg: The Turning Point
  6. The Indian Wars
  7. Grocery Flyer
  8. Innovations of the 19th& 20th Centuries
  9. Business Tycoons
  10. Henry Ford & the Ford Motor Company
  11. The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
  12. Carpetbaggers
  13. The Transcontinental Railroad
  14. The Land of Promise
  15. Women Suffragists
  16. Amendments
  17. The Ammo Belt
  18. Map of Europe During WWI
  19. Timeline of WWI
  20. WWI Registration Certificate
  21. WWI Propaganda
  22. WWI Poetry
  23. Victory Metal
  24. The Roaring 20’s
  25. The Stock Market Crash of 1929
  26. The Oklahoma Dust Bowl
  27. What is a Dictator
  28. Major Events in the European Theatre During WWII
  29. Major Events in the Pacific Theatre During WWII
  30. The Home Front Basket
  31. The Bombing of Pearl Harbor
  32. The Holocaust
  33. Ration Book
  34. Scrap Drives
  35. Job Opportunities
  36. Film & Cartoon Propaganda
  37. Printed Propaganda
  38. Canning Food
  39. Victory Gardens
  40. Blue Star Mothers
  41. V-Mail & CARE Packages
  42. Cold War/Korean War/Vietnam War
  43. Civil Rights in 20th Century America
  44. The Space Race
  45. America in the Late 20th Century

When assigning school work it is pretty easy to expect a certain amount of work or lessons in any given week. With lapbook studies I have found this to not be the case. Projects vary in the length of time they take based on so many factors. First, some projects just require more work than others. Second, some subject matter may be less familiar to the student thus it will require more time to read and discuss the topic in order to adequately cover the subject matter before moving on to the next project. Third, there are times that the student is extremely interested in a particular project and subject matter and they want to take some extra time to learn a bit more before moving on. One average we completed two projects a week. A few times we completed three. I’d rather my child focus on slowing down and giving me quality work and really learning each topic verses giving me a completed project that is sloppy and only learning various highlights about the historical topic being discussed.

This all-inclusive kit is awesome! As a busy mother and a teacher to my children this was a huge draw for me. Over the years I have used lapbook curricula from various vendors and they all require you to download and print out the entire lapbook yourself. Then you have to gather the supplies that are needed. My kiddos can forget about cool colored cardstock paper, lol. Having everything in one box is a huge time saver and a teacher's dream come true. 

Project 4 entitled, Routes of the Underground Railroad, includes a map along with nine text blocks that students place along the route. For instance, block two talks about how the Underground Railroad is not actually a railroad but an escape route for slaves to follow north to freedom. It was likened to a railroad because it had conductors, or people who knew the routes and safe houses along the way. These conductors made it their mission to ensure that slaves were protected along the route north to freedom.

Project 7 entitled, Grocery Flyer, was really a fun project. My daughter had a hard time conceiving the concept of a mail order catalog for common household items. Some of the items we were very familiar with such as Jell-O gelatin which you could buy for 3 pkgs. for $.25. And then there were items such as Malta-Vita which was a popular ready-to-serve breakfast food that could be purchased for 3 pkgs. for $.22. The grocery store was Montgomery Ward & Co.

My 10-year-old daughter said, “I have enjoyed the projects in the American History II kit as much as the projects in the American History I kit. So far it doesn’t seem like these projects are taking as long but there are way more projects in History II than there were in History I. So far my favorite project has been the Grocery Flyer project. Learning history through lapbooking is actually fun.

Much like the American History I Kit the American History II Kit has a broad assortment of historical projects from the 1850’s to the Early 20th Century. From the Civil War to World War II and President Roosevelt implementing Ration Books and communities banding together to grown Victory Gardens, students will cover a vast amount of information in American History II. I truly believe that kiddos tend to retain history better when they actually do hands-on activities and projects to learn. It definitely is much more fun than sitting in front of a textbook reading chapter after chapter. The completed lapbook is definitely a project to be proud of. Lapbooks are a bit like a history book in that they tell history through each project represented.

There are so many amazing books in the Sonlight Curriculum that complement this American History II Lapbook Study. You may find your child wanting to dig deeper into a particular subject by going to the library or using the internet. Lapbook learning is definitely one of my favorite ways to have my kiddos learn history.

I would absolutely recommend Sonlight’sAmerican History II: From 1850’s to Early 21st Century Lapbook Kit to friends and other educators. Be sure to check out everything else that Sonlight has to offer.

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