Home School in the Woods: Benjamin Franklin K-2 Lap-Pak Review

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. 

Home School in the Woods: Benjamin Franklin K-2 Lap-Pak Review

Are you a lap-pak fan? Also known as a "lap book" or "lapbook" these learning tools are a fantastic way for kids of various ages to learn a single topic together in an engaging and stress-free way. This week, we review the 
Benjamin Franklin K-2 Lap-Pak from Home School in the Woods. (If you remember, we reviewed the U.S. Elections resource from them a few years ago.) Here's what we thought of this resource!

What Is it?

It's helpful to know what a lapbook or lap-pack is before you start. Simply explained, it's a set of  printable learning activities that kids complete with their parents help and then can be assembled together as a "book" to showcase their work, review, or use as a portfolio. Kids like lapbooks because they can feel more crafty or hands-on than some other ways of learning. Parents like them because they foster collaborative learning and leave families with a useful demonstration of what they've learned. For families who like to keep a formal portfolio, these make very good documentation of the things a child has learned in the year.

The Benjamin Franklin Lap-Pak we reviewed has all the features of a well-done lapbook. It has all of the activity pages, as well as directions that walk you through how to do each activity and answers for the parents to check their students' work. The materials needed to do the projects are simple ones that most homeschoolers have in the home, but a supply list is included with things like double-sided tape, a glue stick, a file folder, card stock, crayons, color pencils, scissors, and the paper you print the activities out on.

When you buy the resource, you'll receive an email with a link to the zip file to download. This will have everything you need to work, including access to a "starting" page that opens up in your web browser with links to directions, photos of completed projects, formatting choices, etc. 

It seems like a lot of links, but as you work, you'll see they are very valuable! I especially like the photos of the completed projects.

How did we use it?

The beauty of this product is that you can use it pretty much any way you see fit. For a child of the age of K-2, they can't sit for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time, so it's feasible that you would do just one "project" in a sitting. There are 12 projects, including themes like Franklin's inventions, a vocabulary exercise, timeline of his life, and his family tree. You could do three activities a week and finish in around a month, plus supplement with other books about Benjamin Franklin for a full unit study of this great American. You could also do it quicker and finish in a week or two.

Project 1: The Franklin Family

The inside of Project 1, where I helped write

Example of the well-written instructions! 

What we liked

Lap-Paks and lapbooks can be overwhelming the first time you do them, which is why some families try them once and never go back to them again. I think this happens when the instructions aren't written well, and this resource seems to have anticipated this challenge and met it with some very well-written explanations and pictures to show you how to put everything together. 

I also like that, like most lapbooks, you can do the projects in just about any order, so if you don't have the right supplies one day or your child really has an interest in learning something first, you can do that. Really, the activities only have to all be done by the time you want to put it all together into the single folder. Just keep your pieces and projects together until that time.

As you can see from the photos above, it's also possible to use this program with very little kids who want to sit and listen and color, but can't write. With our kids, I would often have them color, and then we would do the learning together while I wrote in the answers they gave. You don't have to do this only with kids who can write, as many Kindergarten kids (and even some 2nd graders) won't have this ability yet.

Who is this for?

This resource is for anyone who has a printer at home and wants to explore the life of Benjamin Franklin in a way that really supports engaging with your child. It does take the parent being there and coaching the child through -- especially since most can't read well at this age. If you're tired of typical worksheets or want a completely "offline" approach to learning for a nice break, this is it! You can also have more than one child do the activities to create their own books. 

Summary review

If you're a lapbook fan or someone hoping to explore what lapbooking has to offer, this is an excellent way to learn more about an important figure in history. The instructions are super clear, the projects just different enough to not be boring, and the overall project at a perfect length where it won't drag out too long and lose the little ones' interest.

For those looking for a good ol' "scissors and glue" learning opportunity, I think you'll be pleased with what Home School in the Woods has to offer.

Looking for resources for the upcoming election? No matter where you stand on the issues, this company has an outstanding resource to help families teach the importance of our U.S. elections, how they came to be, and how they continue to work! The U.S. Elections Lap-Pak can be easily purchased and downloaded to use right away. (Learn more about the resource in their blog post.) 

Bonus offer! Through the end of August, get a free copy of their Greek Life! File Folder Game when you use the code TOSGameNight at checkout. No purchase necessary.

Where to find them

You can get even more inspiration from the Home School in the Woods social media pages:

Looking for other reviews of this resource or another resource? See what parents are saying about Home School in the Woods and their offerings.