Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Homeschool in the Woods New Testament Activity Pak

For those who don't know me, I teach and learn with what is called a classically-eclectic style. When it comes to education, I am a classical-grammar-dialectic-rhetoric-stage-focused, Charlotte-Mason-living-book-and-nature-study-loving, fun-unit-study-and-lapbooking nut. (This just means I'm an intense and scatterbrained mom who has a good deal of ADD tendencies.) So there you have it. I'm glad I got that off my chest.

And for those who started following our blog in the past year, you may not be aware of my complete an utter fascination with Homeschool in the Woods.  Although our original plan for this year was to complete the Homeschool in the Woods Great Empires Project Pak with our Cycle 1 studies, those plans fell through the cracks due to eye surgery and everything else in the whole wide world that happened this year.

And although Classical Conversations piqued my interest in history for the first time in my life just a few years back, it was actually the Homeschool in the Woods Time Traveler studies that instilled an insatiable curiosity of history in our hearts and minds here at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood.

And... honestly... I have never been so thrilled to be asked to review anything ever, ever, ever!!!  Because this is the sort of stuff I have actually purchased multiple times.  And I've always raved about it.  For those who were not around for that, if you dig through the archives, you'll see...

Our Jamestown paper fort
The Wright Brothers Flipbook
Remember the Maine, Fallingwater, and People of the early 1900s
Our other Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression Studies
World War II Conflict Map/Overlays and WWII Uniforms
And our other World War II projects.

These were some of the most fun and incredible projects EVER!  Stephen's fascination with WWII was cemented firmly into place by doing the World War II Projects.  In fact, we're getting them back out as we go into Classical Conversations Cycle 2 again.

So... I finally printed out our Great Empires Project Pak on Saturday morning thinking we might use it this summer as a review of Cycle 1.  Saturday afternoon, Stephen looked longingly at the stack, started flipping through the papers, and asked, "Ummm... Mom-Mom?  Is it okay if I start this stuff?"

On a Saturday evening?!?  "Yes, Son!  Yes!!!"  I love for him to want to learn about history rather than play the Wii or watch TV.  And then I thought, if I had just printed this packet and set it out months ago, that boy would have worked it into our schedule somehow.  Even if that meant doing extra work on the weekends.  Because, as he's said before, "It's not really school work."

And that's what we want, right?  For our kids to just naturally love to learn?  And that is why we love Homeschool in the Woods.  The unit studies make learning just so fun.

I did not have our children pose for any of this.  I promise!  Here our oldest son was just hap-hap-happy that we were doing another project from Homeschool in the Woods.  (And sorry... you can see that we hang out in our pajamas an awful lot around here... less laundry.)

And now...  for the New Testament Hands-On History Activity-Pak

This activity packet (downloadable or on CD-ROM) includes 15 Lapbooking activities for...

The Lineage and Birth of Christ
Miracles and Parables of Jesus
The Beatitudes
Fruit of the Spirit
The Last Supper
The Crucifixion and Resurrection
The Ascension
The Pentecost
Prophesies Fulfilled
The Twelve Disciples
Paul's Missionary Journeys
Postcards from Paul to the Churches/Peoples

It also includes an Ephesians 6 Armor of God poster and a New Testament News Scrolled Newspaper Project.  The Newspaper project contains over 20 different creative writing prompts, such as interviews with famous Biblical characters and even the illustration of advertisements.

Detailed instructions are provided on how to assemble each activity, along with photos and diagrams.  In this particular project pack, the lesson text is not provided (as it is in others) because the text, of course, is the Bible.

Supplies needed are pretty normal for lapbooks:
White and Colored Cardstock
White and Colored Paper
An Exacto Knife
Double-sided Sticky Tape
Colored Pencils
File Folders
Packaging Tape

In addition to these items, two dowel rods and ribbon are needed to make the scrolled newspaper project.

Wait! Wait! Wait!  What's a lapbook?  For those asking this question, visit our blog post here to read "Lapbooking 101" and "Lapbooking vs. Notebooking."

Working on the projects.  While our 4th grader and 1st grader worked on the coloring, cutting out, and assembly of projects, our 4-year-old decided to... play with his GeoTraxx set.  I think he might have colored a fruit.

The Birth of Jesus.  Each project comes with specific printing, cutting and assembling instructions complete with diagrams and pictures of what the final project is supposed to look like.  Here David cuts out a piece of the manger scene, and Stephen works on a folded booklet detailing the Birth of Christ.

The Parables of Jesus booklet, the 3-D Resurrection mini-book, and the Lord's Supper mini book with tab. These projects are bit like the children's books with the interactive tabs you can use to move things around.  As you can see, we have not fully finished our Lapbook yet - we were so excited about assembling the projects that we did things out of order and are now going back to color everything in.

The Miracles of Jesus and maps of Paul's Missionary Journeys.  A nice way to review a study of the miracles of Jesus.  We also used Journeys-of-Paul maps on our Byzantine Empire Geography Fair Project.

Fruit of the Spirit pocket.  Scriptures for each fruit of the spirit are on the back of each fruit.  Now this is a bit interesting because... I'll be subbing for our Sunday Night Children's Service for a while, and the lessons have been on the Fruits of the Spirit. This Sunday happens to be "Patience." When Stephen found that out he said, "I can't believe you're teaching on patience..." and then walked off laughing maniacally. So... ummmm... yeah. 

Interacting with our lap book.  We enjoy lap books and especially HSITW projects because they are such masterpieces when they are finished.  The boys regularly pull out their lap books to look through, which has the added benefit of reviewing information we've previously studied.

The assembled lap book.  Now for the Lapbook projects we haven't mentioned yet...

At the top, you can see the 12 Disciples Mini-books, to the left the Old Testament Prophecies fulfilled, and the Beatitudes slinky book.  (It's in the Beatitudes pocket, so you'll have to go to the HSITW website to see it.) Bottom picture contains the Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension and the Lineage of Christ on the left.  And a paper mailbox in which to store the "Postcards from Paul" to each of the churches and people.  The postcards include his purpose and overall message of each letter, and the stamp on the postcard even contains an approximate date of the writing!  One of my favorite parts of this project pack!

Armor of God Poster with removable armor.  Perfect for those who are memorizing Ephesians 6 (the Classical Conversations Cycle 2 scripture passage)!  Not only that, but who wouldn't benefit from a visual and kinesthetic review of putting on the Armor of God?  I need to use this every morning.

We are still working on our New Testament News - no photos yet, but click here to see what it looks like.

My Overall Two Cents:
Amy Pak is an incredibly gifted artist.  Every time we use HSITW products, I am absolutely amazed at the quality and creativity put into the activity pack (aka, Activity-Pak - get it?).  Not only that, but the advertisements in the Newspaper projects are always so humorous with plays on words and just general wittiness.  These newspaper news articles were what first convinced my oldest reluctant-writer son to write creatively a couple of years ago. He is not one to enjoy writing, so it is wonderful when he doesn't give me that look when I place a writing assignment before him.

This project activity pack is a great accompaniment to any New Testament Bible study or can be used as a survey of the New Testament in itself, as it encourages creative writing and research while providing details such as the New Testament fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.

Any drawbacks?
Printing takes some upfront time.  Detailed instructions take you through how to print everything - on white or colored card stock, white or colored paper. This one took less than 30 minutes to print everything.  One day my hope is that HSITW will provide an option for pre-printed packets, as the convenience would be well-worth the additional cost for those who like to open-and-go.

If you're just not sure if you would like something like this, visit HomeschoolintheWoods for free samples of Timeline Figures, Time Travelers, and Project Passport and Olde World Style Maps.  Try some of the projects and Newspaper News articles.  Though some parents are not as keen on unit studies as we are, you can print the freebies out and set them out to see if your children decide to do it on a Saturday night! If so, you'll know you've just found one of your child's preferred learning styles!

Suggested grade level is 3-8, although our younger children have enjoyed these projects as well.  Cost for the New Testament Hands-On History Activity-Pak is $18.95 for the download version and $19.95 for the CD version. Visit Homeschool in the Woods to see all the other products they have available.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed herein are my personal, honest opinions, though your experience may vary.  Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

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