American History Cram Camp with Lap Books

a girl works on a lap book project

What if an opportunity to travel as a family doesn’t align with the studies you are doing at the moment? No problem! As homeschoolers you have the gift of flexibility. And with the right resources, you can go ahead and dig into an area of study so your kids can get the maximum educational benefits of your trip.

That’s exactly what our friends, DeeDee and Ximena of Chips & Salsa Homeschooling did. 

When they had the chance to go on an epic Washington D.C. field trip, they decided it was time to take a break from their Eastern Hemisphere studies and do a short, but deep, dive into American History using BookShark’s American History 1 Lap Book Kit. They called it their American History Cram Camp.

Three Steps for an American History Cram Camp 

1. Planning

Using A History of Us by Joy Hakim and a few books from their local library, DeeDee and Ximena incorporated the different activities from their lap book kit to create a fun, hands-on review of American History. Learn more about their plans in their video Planning Our US History Cram Camp.

2. The Camp Itself

Their first day of camp started a bit rough, but it ended up being a great experience for the moms and their kids. Get a tip on how you can start it off right as you watch their US History Cram Camp IN ACTION! video. And see how they used the lap book kit with just a few modifications to fit what they would be seeing on their field trip.

3. An Epic Field Trip

And don’t miss the actual trip in the last of their series: EPIC Washington D.C. Homeschooling Field Trip!! If you ever get to go on your own epic field trip think about making a video of the experience. With all of the easy video editing apps available now, your kids can even put it together. Learning doesn’t have to stop just because the trip is over!

Create Your Own History Cram Camps

Three Steps for an American History Cram Camp Maybe an epic field trip to a place like Washington, D.C. isn’t possible for you right now. That doesn’t mean a cram camp isn’t the right choice.  

Putting together a cram camp works perfectly for a lot of situations:

  • exploring a subject your children are interested in that doesn’t fit their regular studies

  • taking advantage of learning about a current event like the Olympics or a presidential election

  • reviewing material at the end of your school year

  • keeping learning alive during the summer

  • planning a vacation—whether learning the history of the area you are visiting or the  physics of roller coasters 

You can create a cram camp for just your family or ask a few other families to do it with you for even more fun. 

American History Lap Book for Homeschool Groups

Think Outside-the-Box with BookShark Hands-on Kits

Cram camps aren’t the only way you can use BookShark’s Hands-on Kits

1. Use a Hand-on History Kit in Your Homeschool Co-op

Co-ops are a great way for kids to get those socialization skills people seem to be so worried about. But more importantly, they give both the moms and their kids a way to build real community with one another while learning together. 

The thought of planning activities for a co-op can feel a bit overwhelming. By using a pre-made kit, your preparation is minimal and you can focus on enjoying the kids.

This type of co-op is great, too, if you struggle doing hands-on activities at home. Committing to a co-op or group and working with other moms means it will actually happen.

Using BookShark Lap Book Kits as a Homeschool Co-op Activity

2. Incorporate Lap Book Kits with a Book Club 

It’s easy to find great books that will go along with lap book activities. Students can read the books at home or during class if they are picture books. Discuss the books during your book club and include a lap book project. Over the semester, you can complete a few activities from the lap book kit at each meeting. At the conclusion of your term, students will have a tangible  way to share all they have learned.

Making lap books for US History Cram Camp

3. Do a Unit Study 

Unit studies can span anywhere from  a few weeks to several months.. You can create your own using a hands-on kits as the foundation. Or you can learn more about our constitution and elections—perfect for an election year!

BookShark offers a free US Constitution study that only takes two weeks to complete. This unit study is based on the book, What is the Constitution. You can use it alone, or invest more time by adding the Election Lap Book Kit for a more complete dive into U.S. politics. Then make sure to watch the presidential election together… notice the ads, watch some of the debates and conventions, and end with an election night party. 

Some of your sweetest homeschooling memories will include the times you travel—when you go to see and do things. 

They are moments when you connect with your kids as you experience learning together. You can rest knowing that being flexible will be so much more beneficial than sticking to the curriculum you are currently doing. Detours definitely make the trip more fun!

See all hands-on products by BookShark.