Lapbooks are one of my favorite “special” things about homeschooling. It’s a type of project I had never heard of until we were homeschooling, and something that it seems few people outside of homeschooling have ever heard of. Maybe you could say it is one of homeschooling’s “best kept secrets.”
What is a lapbook? A lapbook is a project (usually on one topic) composed of multiple small, paper “mini-books” folded together, then glued into a file folder or perhaps onto individual pieces of cardstock bound together in some fashion. If you are new to lapbooking, I recommend this Squidoo lens as an excellent introduction to the topic.
Over the past three years, we really haven’t made as many lapbooks as I hoped we might. As a part of a geography study when Miss M was in Kindergarten, we made an extensive lapbook on Antarctica, and started (but unfortunately didn’t finish) lapbooks on China and a general one on the Seven Continents. We used a lot of free resources to make these, mostly from a great site called Homeschool Share.
Then the summer in between Miss M’s K and 1st years, Miss M wanted to make a lapbook about the Besty-Tacy books. Not finding any resources already created for a lapbook on this topic, I spent hours creating one from scratch.
You can download the templates for yourself at homeschool share if you are interested in it!
Last year (Miss M’s first grade year), we didn’t end up doing any lapbooks. By this spring, Miss M was interested in giving lapbooking a try again. This time, we used a lapbook kit e-book from In the Hands of a Child for the first time for Miss M to create a lapbook about horses:
We have two more lapbook projects going currently: a lapbook on flowers and other plants, (to go along with our current science studies) and a lapbook about early flight/famous pilots to go along with our current unit study on that topic. I’m using a combination of free printables from homeschool share and other sites, as well as some portions purchased from Hands of a Child and Currclick.
Miss M really enjoys the “crafty” aspect of lapbooking. She enjoys the cutting, pasting, coloring and drawing. She doesn’t enjoy the writing aspect of lapbooking quite so much. When she was younger, she didn’t like trying to write in a small space. Now that’s less of a problem, but she gets easily stressed out about not knowing how to spell the words she would like to write. Some of the Hands of a Child lapbooks are available with the text already filled in (sometimes in a “traceable” font) — though I wonder if this produces quite as much learning about the topic in question! I’ve also had her at times narrate to me what she would like to say in a particular lapbook piece. When Miss M was younger I would write in the mini-book for her, or now I might type up her narration and have her copy it into the lapbook piece.
Assuming Miss M’s enthusiasm for lapbooks continues, I am hoping to incorporate even more lapbooking into our homeschool next year (perhaps also mixed in with some notebooking). I have purchased several Hands of a Child lapbooks at deeply-discounted sale prices (watch both the Hands of a Child site and Currclick for regular sales and even free titles!) to go along with some of the history and science topics we’ll be covering next year. Maybe we’ll get Mr E in on the lapbooking act next year too! So far his patience for anything related to lapbooking has been cutting out pictures and gluing them into a folder. But as he gets older, I’m guessing he will enjoy making lapbooks too.
To see what other bloggers thought of to go along with the letter “L” visit “Blogging through the ABC’s” at Ben and Me!
I have a sort of love/hate relationship with lapbooks. I want to love ’em, but like you I question the true value if ones that require little from my children. My girls can take ’em or leave ’em. I do love notebooking, though.
I really treasure the finished products of the ones we put a lot of time and effort into…but I do think that if Miss M weren’t so “into” the idea of the lapbooks, I would gravitate toward the notebooking too. I showed her examples of that and tried to convince her to make a notebook instead of a lapbook for our flight study, but she still really wanted a lapbook.
love me some Homeschool share!