Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
With a presidential election coming up, it seemed like a great time to review how the election process works in the United States in our homeschool. So I was excited to review U.S. Elections Lap-Pak from Home School in the Woods.
What Is This Product?
I received this product in a .ZIP file. After you unzip it, you open a web page that says, “Start.” On that page, you’ll find all the directions, printables, reading texts, and more that you need to complete the projects.
There are also folders in the .ZIP file that contain PDFs of the same information. However, it is very difficult to follow if you use this. They are not presented in an order that makes it easy to move from one step to another without constantly bouncing back and forth between folders. It’s definitely easier to use the web version.
You will need to provide some basic supplies, like cardstock, glitter, brads, a piece of fabric, and more. There’s a complete list, so you can easily make sure you have what you need.
As students learn about the U.S. Election process, they will create a variety of hands-on projects. These are all stored until the end, when they’ll be assembled into a big lapbook. It’s a great keepsake that your child can refer back to for years to come.
You can either print the reading text or do what I did and just read it off the computer. There are options for printing it in US Letter size or in a smaller booklet. The text provides a ton of knowledge on government, elections, and how officials are elected here in the US.
My fourth grader struggled to read it a bit because of all the specialized vocabulary, so we took turns reading it together. It was a great reminder of the need to slow down when you’re reading for information instead of for entertainment.
Here’s part of a sample page from the text:
As your student learns more about the US Elections, they’ll tackle topics like:
- Political parties
- Caucuses and primaries
- Terms of office
- National conventions
- The presidential platform
- The importance of money in politics (raising money)
- Campaign advertisements
- The Electoral College
- And more
These topics each have a hands-on component, so there will be a lot of activities to engage your learner. For instance, when learning about raising money, there was a piggy bank project:
There’s information about the topic on the pig’s body. Then, you can pull up the coin to reveal more information about Political Action Committees (PACs).
For each project, you will need to print out the materials. Then, on the web page, you will need to head to the “Project Directions” link. This is a PDF with directions for how to put together each project, including a list of supplies you’d need for each. You can print this out, but I found it easier just to go to it on the website so I didn’t have to have a wad of papers trying not to get out of order…
We didn’t always follow the directions precisely. For instance, this pig was supposed to be printed on pink cardstock. But I made the kids color it pink instead. We also skipped the glitter, because…well it’s glitter.
So don’t feel like you have to do everything exactly as written. Make adjustments so they work for your family. The kids will still learn a lot, even if the lapbook isn’t exactly Pinterest perfect by the time they’re done.
Here’s a quick peek at a page of the project directions, so you can see how it’s set up:
In the supplies section, you’ll notice some items are in bold. Those are the things you will need to print. They correspond to the titles of the projects, so they’re simple to find.
Home School in the Woods has a great blog post explaining more about lapbooks, and the components of this US Elections lapbook. You can find it here:
How We Used This Product
I agreed to review this product with my fourth grade daughter in mind. However, she was not the only one who wanted to listen to the readings and do the activities. It was easy to print off extras for the younger kids to participate with us.
We worked through a couple of projects a week. We aren’t yet ready to compile the lapbook, but when we do it’ll look great.
It was a very low-key way to cover some important topics, especially during this timely season of a presidential race. We were able to read a few of the recommended books while we completed projects, including:
- So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George
- VOTE, DK from Eyewitness Books
- How the U.S. Government Works by Syl Sobel J.D.
We also read another book on the subject we had, America Votes: How Our President Is Elected by Linda Granfield.
Since we have the Schoolhouse Rock videos on DVD, we also watched their Electoral College and The Three Branches of Government.
What We Thought of This Product
With the presidential election coming up, this was such a timely unit study for our homeschool. We really enjoyed learning more on the subject, and talking about our responsibility to vote as Americans.
My daughter said:
The projects were fun, and they weren’t all the same. I learned a lot about voting and how it works in our country. I learned a lot of new words like suffrage and electoral college.
If you’re looking for a hands-on way to teach your kids about U.S. Elections, we highly recommend the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak from Home School in the Woods.