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
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 MiniofficeClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
- Junior Mini Office at Practical Pages
Nadene shares not only photos of her children's mini-offices but also shares free PDF files of printables -- the complete set and also just the math items, just the writing items, etc. She even has some items specific for South African students.
- Living Water Christian Academy's Mini Office Lapbooks
This is an incredible LIST of what this mom will put in her children's mini offices. I read her list thinking, "Wow! That should be in the mini office! How brilliant!" Her 6th grade daughter's mini office is quite advanced! In includes chemistry and
- Successful Homeschooling: Mini Office
Colorful mini office pictures from Carletta.
Mini Offices Poll
What do you plan to include in your child's mini office?
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.
- Donna Young's Charts for Math
Donna offers free hundreds charts in many varieties, multiplications charts, and addition facts.
- Periodic Table of Elements
This full color periodic table can be printed in several sizes -- letter, legal, and A4.
- Periodic Table in Pictures
What a fun resource! An illustrated table to help you remember the elements.
- Math and Science Posters
These are more advanced posters -- area and volume, symmetry, atomic orbitals, and more.
- Math Mini-Office Layout
A handy document to download and print. This includes helpful links and layouts.
- Graphic Representation of Gallon, Quarts, Pints, and Cups
This is a wonderful illustration of the Imperial system of liquid measurements.
- Math Mini-office at Lapbook Lessons
An entire math mini-office with free printables is available on this very pretty site.
- Measurement Poster-Units/Systems
An attractive, full color printable chart including length, weight, capacity for both metric and British systems.
- Math U See Mini office
Visit this blog post for a link to download a PDF with graphics designed especially to match with the Math U See curriculum.
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 rightClick thumbnail to view full-size
Language Arts Related Printables
- American Sign Language
Look for the links near the bottom for two finger spelling alphabet charts -- one is B&W drawings, the other is photographs of hands.
- Morse Code Chart
Dots and dashes in a simple printable chart.
- Handwriting Printables
Several penmanship styles are offered. Print an entire alphabet for your child's mini office.
- Braille Alphabet Card
National Braille Press offers a PDF braille alphabet printable.
- Parts of Speech Sheet from Scholastic
This parts of speech reference sheet includes definitions and examples.
- Slightly More Advanced Punctuation Chart
This chart would be for the child who already knows the basics but needs help with the less commonly used forms of punctuation: quotation marks, apostrophe, parentheses, colon, semi-colon, slash, hyphen, and comma. This is a full sheet poster. Print
- Calendar Set
This freebie from Montessori For Everyone includes a blank month template, numbers for the days, days of the week labels, and stickers for various holidays and special occasions.
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!
Reproducible Reference Materials
If you prefer an instant download, this book is also available at CurrClick in Ebook format.
- Outline Maps
Nice PDF files with names of countries. Print by continent or the whole world.
- Nicolas Academy Printables
Scroll down for "Printable Charts" in the areas of math, science, and social studies. These charts should be saved as images and then printed. Charts include presidents of America, planets in our solar system, states and capitals, and many more.
- Music Basics
A great printable for students learning to read music!
Free teaching printables for lots of topics, all in PDF 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.