Tying Literature into Your Curriculum

Reading literature is such a vital part of a child’s education. The books read can impact a child’s entire life. With that being said, how do you know you are choosing the right books for their age and reading level? How do you know they are truly grasping the message of the book?

Below are just a few books to start with for different age and grade levels. Some of the books have corresponding lapbooks that can enhance the reading experience and engage them with hands-on activities.


Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd Grade


“Kitten’s First Full Moon” by Kevin Henkes

“Kitten’s First Full Moon is an acclaimed modern classic, from one of the most celebrated and beloved picture book creators working in the field today. This memorable character and her suspenseful adventure are just right for the very youngest child. It is Kitten’s first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wants it. Does she get it? Well, no . . . and yes. What a night!.”


Amazon Book


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“The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter

“The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor.”


Amazon Book



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“Strega Nona” by Tomie dePaola

“Strega Nona—”Grandma Witch”—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical ever-full pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. Big Anthony is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden, but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, he recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.”


Amazon Book



3rd through 6th Grade


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“Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“This beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family begins in 1871 in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard for the family, but it is also exciting as they celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night Laura and her family are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle to send them off to sleep.”


Amazon Book


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“My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George

“Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.”


Amazon Book



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“The Twenty-One Balloons” by William Pene du Bois

“Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.”

Amazon Book

What are some other books you have on your reading list?

Top 5 Lapbooks of February

February has officially graced us with its presence, and with it brings brand new monthly planning. Below, we’ve listed the top 5 lapbooks for February that both celebrate history and teach valuable lessons.

1. Study a President

Study a President Lapbook

This means any President! Use this lapbook with the 18 hands-on activities to learn about important dates, country of origin, family, early life and occupations, election and office facts, impact on national history, qualities and characteristics of the president, and more. Better yet, tie it in with some important dates this month: Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is February 12, George Washington’s birthday is February 22 and President’s Day is February 20.

2. Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child

Valentine’s Day is more than just “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,” but do your children know that? Teach them all about the history of the day, Saint Valentine, the symbols, etc. with this lapbook.

3. Great Inventors and their Inventions

Great Inventors and Their Inventions Lapbook by In the Hands of a Child

Do you have a mini-inventor on your hands? Grab this lapbook and learn about the greatest of our time, such as Johannes Gutenberg, Galileo and Benjamin Franklin. Better yet, you can tie this in with Thomas Edison’s birthday on February 11.

4. America’s Civil Rights Movement

America's Civil Rights Movement Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child

Not only is it Black History Month, but it’s also Rosa Parks’ birthday on February 4. This is a great time to teach your children that every citizen is entitled to their own civil rights, however there are those in the past who have had to fight for these rights. This lapbook covers the years 1954 through 1968.

5. The Cardiovascular System

The Cardiovascular System Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child

Today, February 1, is Healthy Heart Day. Teach and show how the complex cardiovascular system works.

Hands-On Learning for $6 or Less- Only 3 Days Left!


New Years Savings 

on ALL In the Hands of a Child Lapbooks & Note Packs

All units $6 or LESS

But only until Jan 15th!

Don’t miss out on HUGE savings on over 500 units!

Lots of NEW units listed over the last 2 weeks, check them out today!

Also we are looking to have every unit reviewed over the course of 2017, if you are interested in helpoing us with this please check out our blog for details and then send an email to sales@handsofachild.com

15 Years of Laughter & Learning with In the Hands of a Child

We will be celebrating 15 years in business next fall. We are ready to ring in 15 years and 2017 with a bang! On top of big savings on all units until January 15th we are aiming to have every unit reviewed during 2017, yes all 550 units!

Are you interested in reviewing a unit?

Please email sales@handsofachild.com with the answers to the questions below and we will send you the unit at no charge!

How long have you been homeschooling?
What grades are you teaching?
What topics will you be covering in Jan/Feb/Mar?
Is there a specific unit you are interested in reviewing?
Do you have a blog?

All reviews must be posted on Currclick, In the Hands of a Child, and one other public forum (blog/facebook page/facebook group) It can be the same exact wording on all 3 pages. Reviews must be completed within 8 weeks of receiving the unit or you will be charged for the unit. Please give us 2 weeks to respond and figure out which units will be assigned to which family.

Current $5 Ebook

This Week’s $5 eBook

NOTE: The discount will appear after you have added the eBook to your shopping cart.


“The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.

A great series to get your kids into this summer and keep the learning alive. Read it as a family or even get some friends involved. Any way you do it the kids will love this book and the corresponding Lapbook!

Keep summer simple with our simple planning included. This pack includes a 14-day Planning Guide, Related Reading List, 25 Hands-On Activities, a 20-page Research Guide, and an Answer Key.
(But feel free to take it slower, it is summer of course!)

Whether you choose to study “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” as a classical example of a great fantasy story or you are looking for a Christian lesson, this unit is for everyone! The Research Guide is presented from both a secular and a Christian perspective to allow for an all-inclusive study. Just add the novel and you are ready to go!

When adding this unit to your cart, choose the Lapbook eBook or Note Pack eBook (if available) option.

2015 Super Memberships



Super Members are invited to explore Ancient Times this year! In ancient times, many different civilizations formed all over the world. Some civilizations lasted for hundreds of years leaving evidence of their existence and their ways of life.


From a complete Summary & Review of Ancient History to ancient wonders of the world, ancient leaders, ancient inventions, and more, Super Members will have a complete year of curriculum from this fascinating time in history!




2015 Super Member Curriculum Schedule*:


January: A Summary & Review of Ancient Civilizations (5000 BC- 500 AD)


February: Ancient Wonders of the World


March: King Tutankhamen


April: Cleopatra VII of Egypt
May: Women of Ancient Times


June: Pompeii


July: Julius Caesar


August: Ancient Inventions


September: Ancient Languages


October: Ancient Scientists


November: Art of Ancient Times


December: Crafts and Trade of Ancient Times




* Please note: Super Member schedule is tentative and may change without prior notice.



Plant a Seed, Grow a Mind

Plant a Seed, Grow a Mind

By Katie Kubesh and Kimm Bellotto

After months and months (what seemed like years and years) of cold winter and snowy days, it is nice to sit at my computer today with the windows open.  A warm spring breeze blows across my arms as I type and I can hear the birds singing outside my window.  Ahhh…Spring is here.  Spring is such an awesome time of year.  From the moment that I hear the first robin sing, I am anxious to go outside and plant something- anything at all.  Luckily, my daughters share my enthusiasm and we are always excited to get our hands dirty.  Exploring and planting can be much more than just dropping a seed in the ground! It can be a joyous and rewarding experience for young and old alike!

 Gardening is such a great teaching opportunity. Your children can learn so much by tending flowers or vegetables or any other kind of plant. They’ll casually (and without even meaning to) learn about other living things, such as birds, insects, worms, and squirrels. They’ll learn about hard work and reaping what they’ve sown. They’ll learn to develop patience and caring. They’ll also learn about this wondrous and awe- inspiring thing we call life! And, if things don’t go quite as you’ve planned, they may also learn a bit about loss and disappointment.

 Besides the informal educational aspects of it, gardening also offers a very pleasant way to spend some quality time with your children outside of schooling, on a regular basis, and with a mutual goal. It also gives you and your children a chance to get creative! How? By planning out what you will plant, where you will plant, which plants will be next to or near each other, and so on. Will you plant everything directly in the ground or in containers or a bit of both? Will you be creating a design or simple rows? The possibilities are endless!

 This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one other benefit of gardening… Exercise! That’s right! Gardening is great exercise! Raking, hoeing, digging, weeding, planting, and pruning for 30-60 minutes are just as good for you, and burn just as many (if not more) calories as doing aerobic exercise for the same amount of time! Plus, you and the kids will be doing this kind of physical activity outdoors and you’ll be taking in lots of vitamin D from the sun!

 So, there you have it. Gardening is a win-win situation for the entire family! In addition, In the Hands of a Child offers a huge selection of Lapbooks and Note Packs that complement gardening and other springtime learning connections!  Here are some excellent suggestions:

  •  HOCPP 1067 The Five Senses: Spring is a great time to use your senses!  In the Five Senses Lapbook, you and your students will find an 11-page Research Guide that covers the five senses and how they work.  The guide includes detailed explanations of each sense and the body parts that correspond to each.  In addition, there are 16 hands-on activities to correspond with all the topics included in the guide.
  •  HOCPP 1122 Healthy Bodies:  Spring is the perfect time to get your bodies moving and get into shape before summer!  It is very important to keep our bodies fit and working properly.  A person who is fit eats well, has a healthy weight, and does lots of physical activity.  The Healthy Bodies  Lapbook includes a Research Guide covering the 5 basic rules for staying fit and healthy, fun exercises to do alone or with a friend, ways to move the heart and muscles, how to keep your body balanced, and more!  Next, there are 11 hands-on activities to help your student learn how to achieve a healthy body and a healthy mind!
  •  HOCPP 1002 Butterflies:  Grab your butterfly nets this spring and complete a lapbook on butterflies!  Butterflies are colorful insects that could well be the most popular and easiest insects to recognize.  Learn all about these incredible insects in the Butterflies  Lapbook.  This 81-page unit contains a 15-page Research Guide covering anatomy, range and habitat, diet, pollination, life cycle, predators and defense, collecting, and conservation.  With 24 hands-on activities including creating a model cocoon, your student will complete a Butterfly lapbook of his or her very own!
  •  HOCPP 1017 Spiders:  Grab a flashlight and a magnifying glass and do a little spider watching this spring!  You won’t have to travel far to find one. There are more than 35,000 different kinds of spiders and they can be found living in every part of the world.  Learn about the different types of spiders and how they are more helpful than harmful with the Spiders  Lapbook.  This 83-page unit includes a 10-page Research Guide and 22 hands-on activities to help your student learn about the 8-legged arachnids we call spiders!
  •  HOCPP 1044 Extreme Weather: Many people only think of winter when they think of Extreme Weather, but tornado season, which occurs in the spring in many locations, can be extremely deadly.  There are many different types of weather and some types can be very wild and dangerous!  Tornadoes can tear down buildings and trees, rainstorms can flood rivers, and hailstorms can crush a farmer’s crop in minutes.  Your student can learn about these dangerous weather patterns in the Extreme Weather  Lapbook.  This 80-page unit includes a 19-page Research Guide and 25 hands-on activities to complete a lapbook on Extreme Weather.
  •  HOCPP 1003 Plants:  Plants grow on land, in fresh water, and in salt water. The more than 400,000 different plant species play an important role; without plants, most life would not exist! Plants provide oxygen, food, shelter, and much more. Your student can learn more about the plant kingdom with the 79-page Plants  Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child. This pack includes a 14-page Research Guide and 25 Hands-On Activities about plant classification, anatomy, reproduction, life cycles, photosynthesis, and plant uses. Encourage your student to complete a Plant lapbook today with the Plants  Lapbook.

 For your PreK to Early Childhood students, there is also a selection of wonderfully fun springtime Lapbooks to complete!

  •  HOCPP 1164 In the Garden: Flowers & Insects: The In the Garden: Flowers and Insects Lapbook is a great way to celebrate spring with your PreK to Early Elementary student!  This 41-page Lapbook includes 5 days (3 activities per day) of fun activities about bugs and blossoms!  From counting activities, crafts, and matching games, this Lapbook is sure to have your PreK to Early Elementary student completing a springtime lapbook in no time!
  •  HOCPP 1167 Down on the Farm: Early Childhood students can have some fun Down on the Farm in this 58-Lapbook, which features 5 days of hands-on activities (3 activities per day) that include counting, matching, animal sounds, and crafts.  Young students are sure to have a great time down on the farm with this fun unit.
  •  HOCPP 1183 Bubbleology:  Spring is one of the best time to blow bubbles!  Almost everyone has blown bubbles, but have you ever studied them?  Well, if you’ve never studied “bubbleology” now is the time!  Not only can you and your child have fun blowing bubbles, doing bubble crafts, and drinking bubbly punch, but you can learn how bubbles form, what makes them colorful, and what makes them pop!  The BubbleologyLapbook contains a 5-day lesson plan with 15 hands-on activities, recipes, and crafts to help your student study the science of bubbles!
  •  HOCPP 1219 Traveling Seeds: Plants may not travel, but their seeds sure do! In fact, a traveling seed is one of the ways new plants begin! The 45-page Traveling Seeds Lapbook from In the Hands of a Child introduces your PreK- 2nd grader to the science of plants. The 6-page Research Guide includes brief information about plant anatomy, pollination, growth, photosynthesis, and plant uses. Next, there are 14 hands-on activities that correlate to the information covered in the Research Guide. Your PreK-2nd grader will conduct an experiment to see how plants get water, learn the parts of a plant, how plants are pollinated, and much more!

 Plant a seed and grow a mind this spring with a Lapbook or Note Pack from In the Hands of a Child!

Not Exactly Like the Pioneers

Not Exactly Like the Pioneers

By Katie Kubesh


A few years ago I took a day trip with my three daughters who, at the time, were ages 6, 5, and 2.  It was a 150-mile trip one way and we left at about 9:00 a.m.  We stopped twice along the way to stretch and take a bathroom break and arrived at our destination in a little under three hours.  Since I was traveling alone with them, I made sure I had plenty of things packed to keep them busy along the way. 

Each girl had her own individual bag filled with her favorite snack mix and fruit.  I also had coolers packed with water, juice, and milk.   I knew they would be drinking a lot, so I also had the porta-potty packed in the back.   Each child was equipped with a clipboard that had crayons, paper, colored pencils, and stickers.  We had all their favorite CDs to listen to, lots of books, and small toys.  Since we were going out to dinner with family and then to my niece’s college graduation, I packed a couple changes of clothes and a dress and sandals for each girl.  We would be traveling back home that night, so I also packed pjs for each of them so I could just put them in their beds when we arrived back home.  The back of my SUV looked like we were going on a weeklong adventure instead of just a one day trip. 

We sang songs and played “I Spy” along the way, the two older girls played word games, and despite the pouring down rain, it was a pretty good trip.  As I drove, I couldn’t help but think about the recent units I had written for In the Hands of a Child.  For a few weeks before the trip I had been researching and writing two new units; Pioneers and Westward Expansion.  As a child, I was always interested in reading books about the pioneers and people who made their lives on the American frontier.  I was a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and I can remember telling my mother, on more than one occasion, that if I could go back in time I would be a pioneer. 

As an adult, I am still interested in that time period and the research I did for those two units was quite fascinating to me.   So as I drove along, both hands on the wheel, windshield wipers frantically clearing the buckets of rain off my windshield, and cautiously trying to avoid the huge potholes that tend to pop up every two inches in the spring, I thought about what it would be like to be a woman on the westward trail.  What if my husband decided to move our family 2,000 miles away to a place that has not been settled before?  In the modern world of today, I would have equal input in a decision like that, but in the 1800’s I would have had to go along with my husband’s decision whether I agreed with it or not.  In addition, I may have had to make that journey alone with my children.

Many of the pioneer women traveled the westward trails alone.  Their husbands had gone ahead at an earlier time to find land or work and then sent for their wives and children later.  I recall reading a letter in my research.  It was a letter that a man had sent to his wife telling her what to pack for her trip and giving her tips for traveling.  The tip that stood out most in my mind was, “make sure you don’t let our son jump from wagon to wagon.”  Many children were injured and even killed along the westward trails when they jumped from one wagon to another.

It only took me an hour or so to prepare for our short journey, but when we go on vacation it usually takes me a few hours to pack everything.  Pioneer women planned their trips for months.  Not only did they need snacks and things to keep their kids occupied, pioneer women had to sew a cover for the wagon, extra clothes and blankets, and prepare foods that would sustain a 6-month journey across treacherous land.  They faced illness, hunger, and death.  They traveled across the dusty plains, deep rivers, and high mountains.  They were strong, brave, and courageous. 

When the girls and I were at my niece’s graduation a family friend asked if I had made the trip alone.  When I told her that I had, she exclaimed,  “My, you are a brave woman.”  Well, I’m not exactly a pioneer, but I did manage to keep my daughters from jumping from one car to another along the way!

If you and your students have not studied the pioneers or westward expansion, I encourage you to do so!  The westward expansion was an important time in the history of the United States.  It is a history filled with interesting stories and adventures about men, children, and the women who traveled west in search of new beginnings.