Do you have a child that really enjoys collecting keepsakes, cutting and pasting, writing notes, and organizing their work? Do they need extra repetition to retain what they’ve learned? Then lapbooking might be just the hands-on thing for your homeschooler!
What is lapbooking?
Lapbooking is a great hands-on way for students to create, keep, and collect their research, art, and projects around a specific topic. It’s made with a folded file folder filled with cut-outs, pictures, mini-books, and other interesting information your child may have printed, drawn, or collected around a specific theme. Even better, they are often a perfect accompaniment to our hands-on unit studies!
How to start lapbooking and what to include
Maybe you’ve been on a field trip and collected a variety of brochures, artifacts, postcards, or other mementos. Or perhaps you’re introducing research topics to your child and looking for a way to organize their findings in a visual way. In either case, a lapbook can be the perfect solution.
Start by folding a file folder into three parts like in the photo below.
First, create a cover that clearly identifies the lapbook theme or topic. Some families create a 8×12 cover page that can be cut and pasted on the cover of a file folder. Other families simply write directly on the file folder to name the theme and include pictures the child has drawn or printed.
Here’s an example of how it might look:
The inside of your lapbook is where everything come to life. Inside the flaps, you can create paper pockets to hold your lesson printables (like three-part nomenclature card or other hands-on manipulatives), fold paper accordians with their art work, or create mini-books that detail any interesting facts your child discovers and attach them to the inside of your file folder.
A lapbook can also serve as a sort of scrapbook of an experience. If you go on a field trip that matches your theme, attach ticket stubs or a museum map. You could even use plastic zip bags filled with “souvenirs” and attach those to the inside of our lapbooks as well. If you create any three dimentional art that is too large for a lapbook, print a photo of your work to include on the inside.
You can also include booklists, copywork, book reviews, or any creative writing that naturally develops from your lessons. Large sheets of paper can be stapled to the back of your lapbook to keep everything together.
What are the benefits of lapbooking?
One great thing about lapbooking is that students are naturally reminded of what they have learned each time they work on it or add to it, similarly to what happens as you flip through a scrapbook or photo album. This helps to reinforce the lessons and helps students recall what they have learned. They may also find themselves asking questions they hadn’t thought of before, fostering deeper curiosity and creating a springboard for more learning. (Hello, independent learning!)
Families with multiple kids can all work on one lapbook together, or older children may want to create their own. There are no real rules for lapbooking! The more you learn, the more you can add.
Our favorite part of lapbooking is that you will end up with wonderful keepsakes of your homeschooling journey. Families can also use the lapbook as dinner conversations to share what your child has been working on in their homeschool. (And they also come in handy if you do end-of-year evaluations!)
Want to give lapbooking a try? Look for a few examples in our Level 2+ unit studies, or give it a try after your next field trip!
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