In the middle of a frazzled first year of homeschooling 3 children, I stumbled upon the term lapbooking. After looking it up, I decided to give it a try for my Kindergarten, 2nd and 5th grade children during the week prior to Thanksgiving.
What I discovered in my research is that lapbooking is a mixture of arts & crafts, reading, creating, learning and lots of cutting and pasting.
You can buy pre-made lapbooks, even pre-assembled lapbooks to avoid all the cutting, or you can make your own. Lapbooks can be utilized by children from preschool through high school. You can cover any subject in a lapbook, from weather, holidays, colors & shapes, world wars, volcanoes, Disneyland, you name it, whatever your child is interested in, you can make or find a lapbook on it!
How to Lapbook
The first step is to decide what you want to learn about or cover in your lapbook. For instance, we decided to do Thanksgiving. Therefore I went to a website and found a Thanksgiving lapbook that was appropriate for K-6. I downloaded it, it cost me about $6.00 at the time, but It was on sale, and I made 3 copies, one for each of my kids. What your download is a packet that has the directions to the lapbook, how to fold it, how to cut everything out, a guideline for where all the things should go. Then there is the learning packet. Which is like a textbook but condensed for your lapbook, it is basically a sheet that will have questions for each section you are going to work on.
Lapbooks tend to break themselves down into mini-books. For instance if you have a mini-book page, it will show you how to fold this particular book, they come in all shapes and sizes, different ways to fold each one, fun ways to make them more interactive to the student. They will cut them out and then they will ask a question of your child, for instance, how many people were on the mayflower? The student will then read through the packet and it will clearly state in a section labeled “how many people were on the mayflower”, and the child will read it, then write it down in their mini book that they had created. Once it is printed in their book, they will paste it onto their lapbook that they also created from 2 or 3 manila type folders. Each mini book adds a question, a topic, a learning experience to their books, and step by step they are creating a personal journey through what they have been learning and it is all there for everyone to see, including themselves, weeks, months or years later, it becomes a valuable if not still educational resource to have these folders on a topic that they can skim through periodically to refresh their memory of something they learned.
I found that when my children did this very first Thanksgiving laptop, they could tell you exactly what happened to make Thanksgiving what it is today, the could tell you much more than if they had learned it the traditional textbook way. With the interactive need, the children who skim pages, get bored, try and get by, are forced to write down the answer to each and every question, but because it is broken down into small, fun, creative and interactive mini books, they are almost fooled into enjoying what they learn and in the very least, they are in a position to gain more insight into a single subject topic that is the focus of the lapbook.
Lapbooking Theme Ideas for K-6
Science-Weather, Inventions, Solar System, Volcanoes, Water Cycle, Animals, Food Chain, Insects, Butterfly Life Cycles.
History-Famous Americans, World Wars, Revolution, Civil War, Presidents, States, Continents, Rivers & Oceans of the World, Indians, Pioneers, Gold Rush, First Ladies, Black History, Religions of the World.
English- Types of Literature, Famous Writers, Famous Books, Poetry & Haiku’s, Grammar, Spelling, Sight Words, Vocabulary.
Math- Addition facts, subtraction facts, patterns, shapes, numbers, multiplication, division, math problems.
There are many online websites you can buy lapbooks from if you don’t want to create your own. You can start with www.currclick.com and from there you will see the many companies that make the lapbooks and whichever you like you can also check out at their website to see what other titles they offer. Sign up for specials, they are always having sales and great offers, they are worth the price in all my experiences with every one I have bought.
You can also buy blank templates when you do decide your comfortable enough to make your own lapbooks on whatever subject you are studying. Lapbooks are ideal for multi grade level learning, unit studies or thematic studies for children of various ages. They are fun, memorable and will last for years to come. Your kids will end up taking pride in their own work and you will see the creativity skyrocket once they attempt them on their own.