Learning through Lapbooking
One of the many reasons that families choose to homeschool is to make sure that their kids develop a love of learning. To make sure this happens, homeschooling families use a wide variety of curriculum,methods, and techniques to show their kids that learning can be fun.
Families who choose to send their kids to public school also want their kids to love learning. While a public school family can't choose their curriculum, they can do activities on weekends, after school, or over holiday breaks to help make learning more fun.
Lapbooks can be a great way to help your kids see that learning can be fun. They can be as simple or complex as you and your kids want them to be. You can use a lapbook to learn and reinforce just about anything for any grade.
What Are Lapbooks?
Simply put, lapbooks are a flat diorama. Each lapbook has information about one topic. For example, you can have a lapbook all about a season, an animal, emotions, or a president. Activities can be added such as flip books, vocabulary cards, and even small games. Each lapbook is made using a standard file folder that is folded to make a book that has two flaps. Some people do not fold and simply use the folder as is.
There are hundreds of ways to design a lapbook and hundreds of mini book templates that you can find for free on the internet. You can design a lapbook from scratch or buy kits that will give you all the printouts that you need to make the book. You can pick and choose what books you use. Some kits actually are complete unit studies. If you are studying about plants, you can often find a unit study that will give you information, resources, and the books you need to create a lapbook. Run out of room? You can add a flap.
Lapbooks are great ways to incorporate hands-on learning. As you and your child fill out the mini books and do the activities, you review what you learn. At any time, the lapbook can be pulled out, games played, and what was learned reinforced. They're easy to store, easy to carry, and are a great way to show people what your kids have learned.
Making the Lapbook
Sound complicated? It really isn't. Once you do one or two lapbooks, it becomes much easier. It's important to pace yourself. Let your child set the pace. If you're studying the ocean for a month, then work on the lapbook throughout the month. You can make large lapbooks with lots of flaps for added room or mini lapbooks. You can do a few mini books to go with a unit study on the seasons and combine them to make a big lapbook on the cycle of the year.
My son is autistic and develops a great deal of interest in certain topics sometimes. While he is only in preschool, we went ahead and did a lapbook on spiders, something he was completely obsessed with. Some parts are a little too advanced, but he can refer to the lapbook for years to come. This was the first one we tried and we spent a little over two months on it, based on his interest and when he asked to complete another part. Yep - your little ones can do lapbooks too! I know now there are many kinds - often called totbooks - for younger children that are simpler and full of fun activities. We'll be completing more of them during the school year.
First open the file folder and fold the edges to meet in the middle. This gives you a smooth back and the front opens in the middle. You can add cover pictures to make your lapbook more attractive. Then you simply add the mini books and other activities. You can use a bit of tape and a piece of cardstock to add a flap if you find that you need more room.
The mini books contain a great deal of information. They tell what spiders can be dangerous for humans and give pictures of them. They explain how spiders can be beneficial, how they eat, what kinds of webs there are, and so on.
For a hands-on child, lapbooks can provide a great way to connect with what they are learning and easy review. My son loves to show his lapbook off and he has learned a lot from this one. Does he remember everything? No - but he remembers the really important things, like which spiders to avoid. And he recognizes different webs and different arachnids, which can prove to be a fun day in his great-grandparents' garden.