Mini Offices

What is a Mini Office?

A mini office is a particular application of lapbooks. Each child can make his own mini-office -- a lapbook filled with reference pages for his own learning. The sky is the limit on what you can include. Fill the mini office with the charts that your child needs -- maps, state abbreviations, penmanship models, clock faces, a multiplication table, or timelines. The mini office actually helps the student move towards being a more independent learner as he looks up the answers to his own questions.

With a mini office, you have an individualized reference tool for each student! Cater it to your child's level and needs. Make a new one each term if necessary or make several -- one for each school subject. Pull out the math mini office when studying math. Or use the language arts mini office when doing a writing assignment.

Since the mini office is affixed to a file folder, it can be easily folded up and put away when not needed. But when the child needs to look up a fact, he knows right where to go -- to his mini office. And because it's so small and tidy, it's portable when you want to "homeschool on the go."

The Mini Office Base

Smead File Folder, 1/3-Cut Tab, Legal Size, Assorted Colors, 100 per Box (16943)
Smead File Folder, 1/3-Cut Tab, Legal Size, Assorted Colors, 100 per Box (16943)

Although you could use large pieces of posterboard or cardstock cut down to size, most people use file folders for the base of the mini office. They are easy to find at your local "super store" and come in many sizes and colors.

Consider a legal sized folder because you'll find so many things to include that you'll want a large foundation. Or use a display board or study carrel for an oversized minioffice.


Third Grade Minioffice

Click thumbnail to view full-size
minioffice openminioffice coverstanding uprightopen widemath and map of USA
minioffice open
minioffice open
minioffice cover
minioffice cover
standing upright
standing upright
open wide
open wide
math and map of USA
math and map of USA

How to Make a Minioffice

For more visuals, visit abc teach for a great PDF, complete with photos and directions for creating the file folder base.

Mini-Offices from the Classroom

These links show you mini offices created by classroom teachers. These webpages are filled with colorful photographs that will demonstrate exactly what a mini office is.


Classroom teachers also use the mini offices to make a temporary study carrel, shielding each child from the distractions of the others in the room. Use a legal sized file folder for maximum height and privacy.

Homeschooling families use mini offices as well! Visit these links for photos and how-tos.

Mini Offices Poll

What do you plan to include in your child's mini office?

See results without voting

Printables for Math and Science

You can use your own printables, copied from the curriculum you use or favorite posters you already have. But these links may give you some ideas for other things to include in the mini office.

Math Mini Office

Seeing a math mini office in action may help you understand it better. Watch this video to see an actual mini office used by homeschool children.

Fourth & Fifth Grade Minioffice - Language arts on the left; science & math in the center; history on the right

Click thumbnail to view full-size
inside the miniofficethe cover of the miniofficeopening the miniofficemaking the sectionsthree sections in all
inside the minioffice
inside the minioffice
the cover of the minioffice
the cover of the minioffice
opening the minioffice
opening the minioffice
making the sections
making the sections
three sections in all
three sections in all

Language Arts Related Printables

Language Arts Mini Office

This mini office focuses exclusively on language arts. What a great reference tool for a homeschooler who is an early reader!

Mini Offices

Reproducible Reference Materials

The World Reference & Map Forms
The World Reference & Map Forms

If you prefer an instant download, this book is also available at CurrClick in Ebook format.


Creating the Mini Office

For younger students, most mothers would create the mini office for the student. But for an intermediate elementary and higher student, why not let her create her own? Of course, you will want to guide her choices. But let her design the layout and decorate it. When she has some ownership in it, she will be more likely to use it each day.

More by this Author

  • How to Make a Salt Dough Map

    How can a little flour, water, and paint become a fantastic hands-on geography project, full of educational benefits? With salt dough maps, that's how!

  • 50 States Notebook

    What better way to learn about the United States of America than to create a notebook filled with facts about each state? Here you will find printables, books, ideas, and supplementary activities.

  • Making a Shoebox Diorama

    Whether it's a school assignment or a project for fun, there are many ways to create a shoebox diorama. Here are tips, ideas, books, and printables to help you make a very cool miniature model.

Reader Feedback 46 comments

anonymous 9 years ago

I really like the minioffice idea. thanks for posting

anonymous 9 years ago

You did it again! Well done!!

anonymous 8 years ago

Thank you so much for this wonderful idea! I plan on starting mini-offices with my children tomorrow!

anonymous 8 years ago

AWESOME! You are always a step ahead of us.... pooling together great resources & inspiration! Thank you! :D

evelynsaenz1 profile image

evelynsaenz1 8 years ago from Royalton

I was looking for some sites about Mini Offices for Math to link to my lens when I ran across your wonderful lens. The work you do is always inspiring. I have featured this page on my Hands-on Math Lens.

anonymous 8 years ago

Hi Jimmie! Here's a link to my blog entry where I posted our mini-offices. Thanks for all the links on your site, very helpful! My kids had a lot of fun making these. God bless, Merry :-)

anonymous 8 years ago

Great Lens I love it Restaurant Oslo | Catering Oslo

anonymous 8 years ago

I just completed my 6th graders mini-office lapbook. I posted some photos on my blog.


I'll be back when I get our 3rd and 1st grade mini-office lapbooks completed.

CLB LM profile image

CLB LM 8 years ago

Great lens, thanks Jimmie! I'll be adding this one to my favorites.

Neosoul_Mama 8 years ago

What a great idea! I wish I had this at my disposal while I was still teaching elementary school.

Antidote LM profile image

Antidote LM 8 years ago

This is great! The interesting title caught my eye, and I wanted to see more! This is a great idea because all of the necessary information that they may need is right there in front of them, ready to be accessed!

MusicMadness LM profile image

MusicMadness LM 8 years ago

That's a great idea for kids. I would think it would help with their organizational skills as well. It's nice to see so much stuff to help kids learn with these days. I think I'd be a lot smarter today, if I had something like this as a kid. 5 stars for you.

jazzymomintx profile image

jazzymomintx 8 years ago

Hi Jimmie! I made a mini office for both of my kids today. It was so fun and I'm sure it will be helpful.


anonymous 8 years ago

I was just browsing through your lensography last night and discovered the mini-office. I had seen stuff about it before but the title kind of through me off. I didn't think it would be so cool. Little did I know!!!

You should visit Jolanthe's blog at She has some pages she created for the mini-office.

I also created a couple of other charts: the 12 tribes of Israel and the names of God from the O.T. I would like to share them, but I'm not tech-savvy enough to figure out how to get them from my computer to the internet.

Sorry this is so long! I love, love, love this. You are so creative!


anonymous 8 years ago

Thanks for linking to me, Jimmie! :) I also added your link to my post too - you've got lots of great resources here too! :)

TonyPayne profile image

TonyPayne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

Great lens, you have so many brilliant ideas for homeschooling. 5*****

SJMurphy LM profile image

SJMurphy LM 8 years ago

This is an awesome lens! It's so nice to have all these resources in one place. It has inspired me to make another mini-office. :) Thanks!

marsha32 8 years ago

Jasmine is in 6th grade this year but just hates math. I am going to have her build herself a math office in hopes this will help and inspire her. I can't wait to go check out the links you share here.

ngio64 profile image

ngio64 8 years ago

I never hear of Mini-offices! We are going to be busy making some! Thanks!

marsha32 8 years ago

I bought the materials today and we've been printing off stuff...she seems really excited about making her math office...and hopefully will then want to continue and make them for other subjects. (can you tell me exactly how to put the file folders together?, we can't seem to figure that out)

anonymous 8 years ago

Home schooling is an every growing trend and having a mini office for the children was something a I did for my kids. It sure helped them to be more motivated and productive. Great lens!

anonymous 7 years ago

WOW... the sparklebox link was the best for me personally....

anonymous 7 years ago

This is a great lens with tips not just for home schooling but any parent who supports their children's studies. I am thinking that we ought to create a mini-office for both our girls as it will definitely help them be more organised with their homework - this will undoubtedly help both of them, but particularly Lizzie who struggles with being "organised". She is mildly dyslexic so "organised" is a slightly alien concept to her, but she is working very hard at grasping it!

ElizabethJeanAl profile image

ElizabethJeanAl 7 years ago

Great lens!

I never would have thought to use a lapbook for reference material.

Thanks for sharing


RuthCoffee profile image

RuthCoffee 7 years ago

These are a great idea, maybe I need one for my work!

hlkljgk profile image

hlkljgk 7 years ago from Western Mass

great format for info!

anonymous 7 years ago

Hi Jimmie! You always have great lenses and resources! I can't wait for you to see what I've been working on. Anyway, great work! I'm making one for me, and one for each kid, and maybe even hubby!

Joan4 7 years ago

Wonderful! I will print out many of the printables! What a resource! I want to make a mini office for second grade granddaughter. She loves to "work" and would so enjoy all the reminders! Thank you!

JenniferAkers LM profile image

JenniferAkers LM 7 years ago

This is an amazing resource. One my son's teachers introduced a mini office for their desk, and it was so helpful for him. I'll have to pass your lens along to her because your mini offices look more organized. I loved the photos - thanks for all the links and resources.

anonymous 7 years ago

These are fantastic - great resources mini offices - I can't wait to get started using these.

anonymous 7 years ago

Loving Jimmie and her ideas...we just finished our daughter's 2nd grade mini office! Check it out here. Thank you, Jimmie!

SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 7 years ago from Arkansas USA

I just saw this lens (and some of your other ones) in a message of recommendation on my local homeschool group's mailing list. Very cool! I love this resource, too. Lensrolling to my Lesson Plans and Planners lens!

mariedaniels 7 years ago

Good ideas nice for homeschooling and also public school kids who need extra help.

SnoopyGirl1 6 years ago

This lens is an awesome resource! (5 stars) I have made several of these now and my kids love them. Thanks for all the great links! They were a big help!

aka-rms profile image

aka-rms 6 years ago from USA

Great resource page!

VarietyWriter2 profile image

VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

Thumbs up!

dustytoes profile image

dustytoes 6 years ago

The mini-office is such a helpful resource for anyone homeschooling. If I had read this about 25 years ago, I most likely would have been convinced to home school. I give all homeschooling parents loads of credit for their dedication to teaching and I'm sure your kids will be well equipped for the world by graduation! Excellent..!

lilgirllapbooker 6 years ago

Really great lens, thanks. Do you know specifically where I can find resources for a 7th Grade Geography mini office? If you do, email me!

LouisaDembul profile image

LouisaDembul 5 years ago

What a great idea! This can be used for so many subjects, not only home-schooling. you are so resourceful!

anonymous 5 years ago

Thanks so much. I liked your Squidoo.

AsianMarketplace profile image

AsianMarketplace 5 years ago

Interesting and nice lens you have here

anonymous 5 years ago

Cool! Awesome! I might make one! The mini offices are very nice!

bilafond lm profile image

bilafond lm 4 years ago

Excellent idea. You have made a very nice lens

Doc_Holliday 3 years ago

I love the organised approach behind this. It's a great idea.

Bobbyann 21 months ago

This is just wonderful. Thanks a million.

lrdl3535 profile image

lrdl3535 10 months ago from California

Lots of information and great ideas, Great post

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article