Wednesday, April 15, 2009

School Bits: Lapbooks

What is a lapbook? Well, I'm glad you asked! {Well, not really YOU, but...} Anyhow, a lapbook is basically a educational tool made from a file folder that you fill with little activities, mini-books, games, and information based on whatever your topic is. Topics are typically either literature-based {revolving around a book you're reading} or unit-study based {a broader topic of study}.

Tatiana's current lapbook

Why lapbook?
We haven't done too many yet, but the value is that it makes your subject come alive in a way that say, a book report or worksheet, really doesn't. It's a great way to review material you've learned/read and solidify the important facts. For the littles, it can also improve various motor skills, such as cutting, coloring, and pasting. Besides that, it's fun! Lapbooks also create a sort of "living record" of the things my kids have learned. They can look back through them, re-read things they've written, do the activities in them, etc. I think this would also be beneficial if your children actually attend school, as an alternative to a "report", supplemental summertime or at-home learning to enhance what they're reading, or as a creative alternative for a presentation/project on a given subject.

What ages can lapbook?
All ages! Tatiana {7 1/2} is just finishing her second lapbook now and Sienna {4} is working on her first one! Starting from the time your child can color, cut & glue, they can lapbook!

Here's the inside. It has a Oregon Trail mapping activity, T/F questions, and wordsearch.

What supplies do I need? Besides your topic, you'll need manila folders {either repurposed from the household or purchased}, adhesive {so far I've just used glue sticks}, and an assortment of activities, pockets, mini-books to add to your lapbook, many of which can be found online for free {see here}.

Pockets for a vocab memory game & other mini-books

Where do I start? A google of "free lapbooks" will get you going! There is an excellent thorough guide to many aspects of lapbooking found here, including pictures of sample lapbooks, instructions for various mini-books, how to plan lapbook units, and more. My all-time favorite resource so far though is Homeschool Share. I am actually going to use their preschool/kindergarten lapbooks {based on good children's books} as curriculum for my 4 year old for next fall. If you are looking for a great learning activity for your preK-er based on books, these are wonderful because the units & activities are already organized, so all that's required for mom or dad is obtaining the book {library!} & printing the lapbook pieces.

Any other questions, feel free to ask!


Stephanie said...

Other homeschooling blogs I read have mentioned lapbooks they are doing too. But I really needed a breakdown like this to explain it to the outsider looking in. I'm sure my kids would love doing these!

Peaceful Chaoz said...

Neat! I may look into doing these with the kids this summer. Looking for alternatives to the Summer Bridge Book we usually go through. :0)

Rebecca said...

@Steph: Sienna is totally loving her first one! She now asks everyday when her turn is for "school" and doing her activities.

@Alicia: I could help you put one together if you'd like! I think it would be really fun & easy to do one about a topic your kids are interested in, {maybe one for the girls & one for the boys?}, like outer space, horses, ocean life, gardens, robots, etc....

Erin said...

Heather Vierck showed me those at her house...could you trade???

Peaceful Chaoz said...

Yea I'd love the help! I haven't had time to look at the sites you gave yet but plan to during nap time today!! So excited!! :0)

Rebecca said...

@Erin: Probably my pregnancy brain, but I'm not sure I understand your question. Trade lapbooks? Since most of the fun is in making them, I wouldn't want to trade my finished ones. Although, if you had several people who had the same age range of kids, say PreK, several of you could pick one book, print/cut as many sets as you would need, then "swap" so that each family would be ready to read & assemble!