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Lapbooks, Minute Books, Olympic Fun!

Added by Heather Idoni

Monday, February 3, 2014
Vol. 15 No. 3, February 3, 2014, ISSN: 1536-2035
(c) 2014, Mary Beth Akers and Heather Idoni

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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The Olympics are fun to watch, and they can be educational too!
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so your kids will be ready to learn as they watch!


Notes from Mary Beth
-- All About... Lapbooking!
Winning Website
-- Homeschool Helper Online
Helpful Tips
-- 'Minute' Books
This Issue's Question
-- Family Bible Time?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Mary Beth

An Intro to Lapbooks


In our last issue, we brought up the topic of lapbooking. I first discovered lapbooking through my favorite science catalogue, Tobin's Lab, operated by Mike and Tammy Duby. I regret that Tobin's Lab is no longer in business, but am delighted that the lapbooking seeds they planted have taken root and are thriving!

Lapbooking is a creative method of notebooking. It fits with any method, any subject matter, any learning or teaching style, any age and any special need.

Lapbooks are homeschoolers' counterpart to conventional workbooks. While workbooks tell the student what to think, lapbooks teach them how to think. You'll probably eventually throw the old workbooks away; lapbooks wll be cherished keepsakes for many years. Workbook pages look like everybody else's; lapbooks will be your child's own unique creations.

Lapbooks do take some time, so in case you might like a quick alternative, we'll also discuss minute books (see our "Helpful Tips" section). It takes longer than a minute to make them, but only a few minutes to present. They are an efficient, simple way for your chldren to record what they've done or learned.

What Exactly is a Lapbook?

A lapbook consists of a file folder refolded to look like a window shutter. The student then inserts various small displays made of folded paper. Cardstock inserts serve as extenders to provide more space if the file folder won't hold all the displays.

Since lapbooks are by nature visual, any verbal descriptions would be inadequate -- maybe even confusing. In order to fully understand and appreciate lapbooks and their endless possibilities, you will want to visit these websites where you can see samples.



I normally don't like to encourage families to spend money, but I can't say enough good things about the following resources that give excellent instructions and clever ideas for lapbooking:

  • The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook by Tammy Duby and Cyndy Regeling, both homeschool moms.
  • Big Book of Books and Activities by Dinah Zike. The books go together; Dinah Zike's book explains the paper folds that you will put in folders to create lapbooks.

    Lapbooks - Benefits and Tips

    Lapbooks enable you to file extensive amounts of information in a very small space. They provide good documentation of material covered. They are ideal for those times when someone asks your children what they have been studying. The child simply pulls out the lapbook and a very impressive show-and-tell is underway, including a chance for the child to review the content in the process of explaining it to the guest.

    Lapbooks reinforce learning. As a student communicates to others the new information, the concepts are further clarified and become more deeply sealed in the memory. A lapbook is a tool for carrying out that communication.

    You don't need to do a lapbook for everything you study. Some children will never tire of them, but others might. Be perceptive to their level of enthusiasm. We constructed our lapbooks as we worked through a unit of study, but you could also do them at the end.

    I recommend that your first lapbook be a simple one, but if your children respond the way mine did, they won't let you stop at simple! :-)

    -- Mary Beth


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    Winning Website

    Homeschool Helper Online

    From the website: "This is a site dedicated to homeschoolers who want to help each other. We invite you to participate in this site by sharing any resources that you have written. Sharing ideas with each other makes planning our homeschooling unit studies and lapbooks easier and more fun. So, have fun viewing other's unit study ideas and share yours too!"

    They also have a free 2014 Winter Olympics lapbook printable page! :-)


    -- Heather

    Helpful Tips

    Minute Books

    I learned about minute books at a family conference, and have never heard of or seen them anywhere else. If you know who deserves credit for the idea, please let us know!

    A minute book is an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper folded in thirds, just as you would fold a business letter. This gives you a total of six sections -- three each on the front and back. The front page of the tri-fold is the title page, and each of the other five sections contains photos, text, drawings, or charts. A minute book can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it.

    A minute book is a good way to journal a vacation or a field trip!

    Here is a sample of a minute book:

    -- Mary Beth


    Olympic Fun!

    Jodi in Iowa has put together a Pinterest board (especially for us!) full of all kinds of great resources for enjoying the Olympics with various integrated learning opportunities for your children:


    Thank you, Jodi! :-)

    -- Heather

    Last Issue's Question

    "How does your family conduct Bible time? What challenges have you encountered, and how do you deal with those? What benefits have you enjoyed from family Bible studies or family worship?"

    Your Answers...

    "We have our Bible Time a couple of different ways. My husband reads a chapter of Proverbs aloud every morning after breakfast. There are 31 Proverbs so it makes it easy to cover the entire (or most of it) in one month. We also read a Bible story to the children each night before bed. We have a variety of different Bible story books that we have used over the years. I think Hurlbut's Story of the Bible is my favorite though The Child's Story Bible by Vos was my favorite as a child. If you make the Bible a part of your routine every day and have the Bible in a handy place, it will get read.

    We always start school with Bible study. Currently we are using the Bible Study Guide for All Ages. We only use the notebook along with the large maps and timeline. I haven't used the workbooks and other materials. Other successful programs we have used: the Bible along with the The Victor Journey through the Bible, Sword Fighting by Karyn Henley and Paw Paw Chuck's Big Ideas In The Bible.

    We have changed our materials and approach as the children have gotten older, but I think the most important thing is to make Bible study a part of the family routine. -- Jennifer G.


    "We gather together each night before tucking the kids into bed. We sing a hymn , say a prayer and then read from the scriptures. We generally just take turns, each child/parent reading 1-4 verses depending on their age and how late it is. My husband generally decides who reads what unless he has meetings then I take over. When my oldest was young we would only read a few verses, it took forever to get anywhere but it instilled the habit. Now we have kids aged 16-5 at home and sometimes it gets a little long for the little ones but again it is the habit and the spirit that we are focused on. After scriptures we tuck all of the kids into bed and hope that they stay there! ;-)" -- Sandy in Utah


    "I am teaching my two girls, ages 5 and 13, at home right now. I have been receiving your e-mails for a while. Today I am finally putting some of the info to use! I have my oldest daughter reading a book in the Bible and searching for sentences that contain the word wisdom -- and then she copies them. It is hard to know how to start teaching them what is required by law and at the same time teaching them what is required in life. So I thank you for your insight." -- Angela G.

    New Question...

    "What are some of the ways you have used lapbooking or some other creative way of notebooking?"

    Please share your experiences!! :-)

    Simply reply to this email or create a new email message and send to: hn-answers(at)familyclassroom.net


    Do YOU have a question to ask our readers? :-)
    Please send to: hn-questions(at)familyclassroom.net


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