I have a confession to make. I am not an artsy-craftsy person. My husband is very creative and artistic, and I've been able to ride his coattails for many years, so some of my friends actually believe that I can do this stuff. But it doesn't come naturally to me. The sight of scissors and a hot glue gun fills me with dread. Give me a book and I'm happy. Hand me knitting needles and someone may lose an eye.
So I have another confession to make. Because I'm not so much in the crafty way, I very seldom use these kinds of projects to teach my kids. Sure, they do artistic stuff all the time, and they have art curriculum and art lessons and such like. But no matter how cool lapbooking looked to me, I was NEVER EVER going to try it in my homeschool.
Until I got the review for Lapbooking Made Simple.
Never say never.
Lapbooking Made Simple is a quick and easy downloadable ebook of 54 pages. It is laid out in an attractive and logical order, with color pictures and helpful hints highlighted here and there throughout.
The preface gives a little background on how Heidi St. John, as an 'accidental' homeschooler, wanted to find a way to break from 'school-at-home' make learning fun and exciting for her kids.
Lapbooking became an important tool in their homeschool, and Lapbooking Made Simple gives you all you need to know about how to implement this activity in your own homeschool.
Starting with an overview of what lapbooking is, Heidi St. John gives detailed explanations of
- how to incorporate lapbooking for unit studies in various subject areas (even Grammar)
- lapbooking terms and their definitions, a list of supplies you will need to get started
- descriptions of all the elements and how they can be used
- the difference between lapbooking and notebooking
- information about how to use notebooking and how to combine lapbooking and notebooking
- several pictures of completed lapbooks
- and templates for lapbook elements.
Review and Recommendations:
It's a good thing that this book is so thorough, because I would have given up very quickly otherwise. As a Type A Perfectionist, if I can't do it right, I tend not to do it at all. Reading Lapbooking Made Simple was like having Heidi St. John hold my hand and walk me through the process.
Kenny was excited about the prospect of doing a lapbook because he is much more artsy-craftsy than I am, and is happy to cut and glue and color for hours on end. We read through Lapbooking Made Simple together first, and the pictures gave Kenny all the ideas he needed for doing his first lapbook.
Using the supplies list, we combed the house for what we already had, which was quite a bit. The only thing we bought specifically for this project were the little brass pins to make the mini-wheels. We did end up buying some extra glue sticks and more colored paper because what homeschooler doesn't need more glue sticks and colored paper?
Anyway, it was nice to be able to get started right away with the materials we had on hand.
Next we decided on the subject of Kenny's lapbook. He chose to do a unit on Weather. We live in Ohio, and our weather changes frequently, especially in the spring. We have some nifty weather tools, like a barometer, outside thermometers, a rain gauge, and a homemade anemometer (that bit the dust in the last thunderstorm that generated 60 mph winds!).
We wrote up an outline of weather topics Kenny could make lapbook elements about, and he was ready to go. He needed very little help from me after the initial overview of what lapbooking entailed.
Every week Kenny would make different lapbook elements on whatever topic he was exploring, and gradually his lapbook took shape. Some parts he drew himself, others he typed up and printed or found on the internet. He was very happy with the result, and we agreed that lapbooking was definitely a fun way to explore the topic of weather.
Based on our experience, I think lapbooking can appeal to any age or learning style, and engage boys or girls who enjoy creative approaches to learning. Lapbooking could serve as a boredom buster, or as a fun way to do some more relaxed unit studies during the summer months. Once you know how to incorporate lapbooking into your homeschool, it's a method you can use again and again in a variety of settings.
Ebook guides like Lapbooking Made Simple make trying something new in your homeschool convenient and affordable. If your kids want to get started right now with their own lapbooks, you can visit Real Life Press, download the Lapbooking Made Simple ebook, and be on your way in minutes.
One of the reasons I tend to avoid artsy ways of exploring certain topics is that what the child learns during these projects isn't necessarily the subject matter. If they make cookies that look like Shakespeare, for instance, they didn't actually learn about Shakespeare; they learned to make cookies.
However, I found that lapbooking wasn't distracting Kenny from exploring our chosen subject. The use of lapbook elements was explained and the templates provided so Kenny didn't spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out how to make a lapbook or creating lapbook parts instead of actually studying weather. However, if your kids are artistically challenged and don't truly enjoy doing this kind of thing, it would be more of a hindrance than a help to try to use lapbooking in order to study a particular topic. Or, if they tend to get sucked in by the artsy part, they may neglect the subject you want them to learn in favor of creating super-nifty elements, and you will need to keep them on task. Kenny was fine working on his own with this, and I believe kids that can read and implement instructions could use this ebook on their own, but I recommend that parents read it simply for the homeschool encouragement if nothing else.