I attended teacher's college but I did not learn about lapbooking or notebooking until I began homeschooling. Then, all of a sudden, many other strange and wonderful words became part of my vocabulary, such as, twaddle, living books narration, and being-there experiences. Oh, how I wish these methods had accompanied my own schooling when I was a child! Various forms of them did now and then, but this way of learning is changing our education in a effective, fun and positive way.
Lapbooking is generally geared to younger students as it includes "foldables" that contain hand-written information about a particular subject. The flaps, accordion booklets, pockets, fans, mini-books and other "foldables" might be designed for short details or for longer descriptions. They can hold pre-printed pictures or spaces for the students' diagrams and drawings. These are then glued into a file folder that has been decorated and most often creased to expand like two windows, opening from the centre. Notebooking is simply pre-printed pages comprising of blocks and lines for drawing diagrams and writing notes on a subject. I love the visual appeal of notebooking and how my kids are proud of their work when they use notebooking pages. Here is a good description of what it actually is and how to utilize it with your children (click on the link). I like to slip the pages into plastic covers from the dollar store, and place them in a three-ring binder.
Notebooking is probably my favourite keepsake of their work.
Sometimes they draw diagrams and sometimes, we print photos of related field trips.
Here, photos of their pioneer day fit perfectly with the short essay she's writing about pioneer children.
Because it's a binder, we alternate lapbook style pieces, notebooking pages, full drawings, essay pages and whatever else will slip into a plastic page protector. It acts as a pocket to hold all the items that go with the study.
Here are a few good sites for lapbooking and notebooking:
Homeschool Share (for free Lapbooks)
... to name a few
Binders, file folders, project folders (from business supply stores), spiral bound pages are just some of the ways you can contain your children's essays, poems, artwork, history notes, science experiment notebooking, nature notebooking.
Lapbooks for little ones
They love how things open and close, fold and turn.
notebooking with downloadable pictures
with photos that represent the study
drawings of the subject
photos of the pioneer craft (because the real thing gets thrown out, or in this case, eaten!)
write-up about a pioneer working-bee, plus a photo of our actual working-bee dress-up day
Middles Ages lapbook
Gold Rush lapbook
project folder for Ancient Times...
using History Pockets this time (works best for youngest students as it's mainly pre-printed items)
Since many of our lapbooks and project notebooks are connected to our unit studies, I'll share where a large part of our inspiration comes from. Several years ago, my sister and I came across a website in which a woman and her sister and her friend designed curriculum around a theme. We were so taken with her style that we have implemented many of her ideas. Her website is called, Courageous Beings: Ignite Passionate Learning and Heroic Living. (watch the second video, especially--truly, it brings a tear to my eye over how glorious it makes homeschooling appear! Lol! Please, always read every site with discernment). You will get an idea of a couple of the adventures we created for our kids here and here (with my sister being the creative and fully-immersed momma).
Finding the right curriculum can be a daunting and overwhelming task as there is an abundance of curricula out there for homeschoolers. Lapbooking and notebooking are ways in which we can incorporate a quick and complete study related to a child's interest when we're unsure of what the next best curriculum is for our children. It's even great for those who use textbook style learning (or school-at-home). I'll bet you wouldn't guess that my theme-loving sister uses Abeka for several subjects! Although it works well for her family, they would not make it through the year without throwing in a unit study, or two, with some of these components above. Oftentimes, she will replace a chunk of chapters dealing with a biome or historical era with a self-designed, purchased or free lapbook or notebook project. It makes things just a little more hands-on and fun for the textbook learner. I love how you can use them as your only method of educating or as a supplement. Since so many of these items are free online, it's also an inexpensive and appealing way to teach your children.
Tomorrow, I will share photos of our school room :)