Thursday, May 20, 2010

Love to Learn with Lapbooks!

Today I am opening up our homeschool archives to share with you lots of ideas for learning and presentation of work in the different subject areas. If you are wondering what topic to cover next or are searching for methods that might motivate your child who is wilting over workbooks, tired of textbooks and 'been there' with 'busy work', I'm hoping that there might be something in this post that catches your eye!

If you have been homeschooling for a while you are probably familiar with lapbooks. I was introduced to them by an American homeschool mom who was living here a number of years ago when her husband was the minister of a church in a nearby city. Thank you Kelly - we still have the first lapbooks on insects we created at the homeschool support meetings you used to run!

Lapbooks are simply a cardboard folder - you open up the folder and fold the sides into the centre. This gives you a bigger area to display information such as maps and illustrations and they can be used to hold brochures and worksheets relating to the topic the lapbook is about. I love lapbooks for several reasons - first and foremost they are easy to store. We keep ours in a plastic archive box as you see below.

Before we discovered lapbooks we used conventional files to hold information and homeschool work.

This is my son's first homeschool folder. It still holds samples of his work such as stories and drawings. Can you tell which country we used to live in? Do you remember Jonah Lomu? Gosh have we been homeschooling this long?! I could not resist showing you one of my son's drawings.

He used the Paint accessory on Windows 95 for his insect picture. He was 6 years old and he loved to use the computer to create designs. He still does! Yesterday, he received a mark of 'High Distinction' for his website design for his current online unit of study via Curtin University. The comment from the tutor was 'Wow!' followed by several positive remarks. I wonder if they realize he is still only 17! His design and computer skills are exceptional - if only I could persuade him to redesign my blog!

I love lapbooks for they do encourage design skills. The front cover needs an eye catching design. Here is a selection of some of the country lapbooks created by my children in recent years. The Israel lapbook opens up to display a calender of the Jewish year.

A peek inside our South America lapbook. My children love making flags which they tape onto wooden skewers. For this unit we constructed a salt dough map. It turned into a wonderful game - of inserting the correct flag onto the country. It may have been six years ago but they can still remember all the countries and most of the flags. I was hoping to repeat this activity for our recent unit on Canada then I saw the Canadian coastline and decided against it! We did make flags though! And maple syrup pie! Cooking deserves to be a part of every unit. I call it edible learning!

Notice the 'lift the flaps' activity. This is something I often incorporate into lapbooks for learning facts - little self tests on capitals. I love the hands on nature of these types of exercises and believe it helps reinforce learning.

This is a wheel that turns. It is a diagram that shows the different layers and corresponding temperatures of the planet and comes from our 'Having a Blast' unit study on volcanoes. I had not discovered lapbooks then but had started to create note books with the children.

This is another 'lift the flap' element. It is meant to be a bunch of grapes, you lift the grape to find a word to describe grapes. We had earlier had a vocabulary brainstorming activity during a unit of study on how wine is made. As we live close to a vineyard we have been able to go on a 'field trip' or should I call it a 'vine trip'. All the family helped with the grape harvest. It truly was a hands on learning experience. We put together this lap book after our trip.

I already had a children's book from New Zealand packed with photos of vineyards and the wine making process. I often use just one book to base a unit around. Books and/or field trips often stimulate a project.

My son loves his 'Star Wars' folder assembled after a visit to the Star Wars exhibition at the PowerHouse museum in Sydney. It makes a wonderful souvenir! Lapbooks are wonderful memory books too. He has never forgotten his visit and the hands on science exhibits.

Especially when you get to have your picture taken with famous robots!

One more peek into one of our homeschool resources. 'First to Fly' was a memorable unit that combined history and science and was based around a really good text book that not only shared the amazing story of the Wright brothers but offered lots of simple to make hands on activities which taught the physics of flight. I learned more about physics during this unit than I did during two years of physics lessons at school! And my children loved it! Want to peek inside? Come back for my next post - I will cover in more detail the activities for this unit and show you more from our homeschool archive resources!

Hope this has given you some ideas - lots more to follow!

With Love and Joy,

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A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Lap books were only something I new about 2 years ago.
Our first was "Frogs' It is still special especially as My Son now goes to 'school" out of home.
Yours look very colorful and Informative!

SF said...

Yay! Thank you for taking the time to share this Ann - I want to get into doing lapbooks with the children but don't really know where to start. I look forward to this series of posts!! xo

Drucilla's Stitches said...

Wow, lap books are wonderful thanks for sharing! Is it difficult to lapbook for high school?

Camille said...

What a great post Ann! Thanks for sharing with us!! We have done lap books before, but not as many as your children have done!! I live in Canada (as you know) and have never had Maple Syrup pie...let alone MAKE it! :) Such encouragement is found here today...thank you! I look forward to the "more to come"!


Unknown said...

Thanks Ann,
You have just inspired me to do some lap books with my little ones- I used to do them with my big kids many years ago.
I agree with the edible learning see my latest post here:

I too knew Kelly - when she was here- we are north of that city and used to go to some of the social home ed gatherings down that way.

Elinor said...

Hi Ann,
Really enjoyed your post about lapbooks today. This is something we do with homeschooling. My two eldest one's love making lapbooks - I think it is one of their favourite things to do. We are just about to start on lapbook number 4 for this year. They learn so much while doing this and I love how you can incorporate so much more to go along with the chosen subject.

Renata said...

Hi Ann
Thanks for this post - I've always wondered what lapbooks really are - they always look so overwhelmingly hard to make, but I think I understand now!
Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog - I also agree that our families would get along really well.
Hope you have a beautiful weekend

Anonymous said...

We are new to homeschooling this year and have just made our first lapbooks after a family trip to Canberra.
We googled them and then just kind of winged it!! It was great to read about your way of using them and I'm looking forward to reading more about them. My girls are 12 and 9 so at great ages I think for this kind of project.
Thanks for helping a newbie with this post.

cheers Kate

oh I think I may have come out of lurker land with this comment too.

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for sharing your lapbooks. I have heard of them and maybe seen one once but the idea is so good! I think I just might have to incorporate this into our homeschool next year, Thanks!

Melissa said...

What a great idea. I first heard about lapbooks from my good friend yesterday who home schools. I am a substitute teacher for primary and elementary schools here with a little bundle on the way. I love the idea of lapbooks and will definitely be using it when I homeschool or teach in my future classroom. What a great idea for hands on learning and you have an art lesson each time you make one!


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