Time-Saving Tips for Doing Lapbooks

We regularly do lapbooks!

In fact we are working on 2 lapbooks for different subjects at the moment.

love organization.

I like efficiency.

I love getting to the fun part of writing in the minibooks without fuss and time-wasting.

But what you see in the photo above is NOT practical!

If we had to cut and fold and paste minibooks for each lesson, I would have given up lapbooks long ago.

I have found a wonderful way to prepare our lapbooks in advance if you use several lapbooks regularly in your school week.

Let me share some of our time-saving tips:

1. Download and save your lapbook.

Seriously, save a back-up of your lapbook download on a memory stick/CD/ EHD (External Hard Drive)

Check out the lapbook links on my side bar.  Most our lapbooks we have made are free.

Have you looked at Practical Pages’ Lapbook pages for free lapbooks? :)

2. Print out the minibooks and instructions.

I like to print the next project a few weeks ahead.

Place the instructions and the printed pages in a plastic page protector and store these pages until you have time to do number 3.

OR go straight ahead and …

3.  Spend one afternoon cutting out and stapling, folding and assembling each minibook.

I cut my 2 kids’ copies together to save time.

The kiddies can do this for you.  They need all the cutting practice they can get!

We listen to audio books while our hands are busy.

They listen to a read aloud on the theme while they cut and fold!

OR use an afternoon to make your own stash of minibooks!  Use this master template.

4.  Store the folded minibooks in a ziplock bag for each child (until you get time to do number 5).

(Check out Jimmie’s Collage - where I first saw this idea.)

Stored minibooks are easily muddled and we waste time searching through them to complete the activity for that lesson, so this is a temporary storage.

I have paper-clipped minibooks together for each chapter, but the paper clips sometimes fall off.

Completed minibooks get muddled among the new minibooks, so I try store them separately.

So this is why the next step has saved us from time-wasting …

5.   IMPORTANT Let your children paste all the new minibooks in their file folders.

YES!  BEFORE we even start our lapbook!

I find that the printed diagrams (in lapbook instructions) show fairly random minibook placement.

The kids do an excellent job placing the minibooks on their own.  They shift and move the minibooks until they are happy with the arrangement.

They choose where they want to fix the extra cardboard flap or file folder if they need extra space.

We glue everything down.

This stage gives the children an “overview” of the lapbook.

They have a good idea of what they will cover.

It helps them find the correct minibook when I read or they research.

(Of course, you can place the minibooks according to the recommended layout, or according to sequence of the work.)

6.  Duct tape the side of the lapbook and punch it to store the lapbook in a work file.

I love this method of storage.  It makes the lapbook part of our daily file work.

(I trim the top of the file folders so that the lapbook fits in our files.)

Check how we do this here.

When the lapbook is complete, it is easily filed with other lapbooks.

7.  Now we are ready to start!

It only takes a moment to glance through the minibook titles to find the current booklet.

The children can write in their minibooks and the job is complete.

Read Mom – Narration Scribe for ideas to help your young children write their narrations.

(You’ll notice my young child copying over the pencil writing.  She had just started using cursive and wanted to master it in all her written work.  This made writing her narrations extra hard and slow, so I pencilled in her dictated narrations and she copied over it in pen. Boy, was she proud of her work!)

There you have it – lapbooks quick and ready!

Hope this encourages you.  Lapbooks are the most fun activities in our homeschooling! :)

What tips do you have?

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14 thoughts on “Time-Saving Tips for Doing Lapbooks

  1. Love this post — just started doing lap books 6 months ago and have been trying to find ways to speed up the process so the kids don’t get frustrated and bored with all the cutting and pasting. Love the ideas going to implement a few on our next lapbook.

  2. I have noticed that my daughter likes making lapbooks, but that reading and researching takes up most time. I do not complain over this. I let her read and research. We talk, we color, we read and that I think is okay enough. If, in the end, we manage to make 2 nice looking pages, I am happy. If nothing, fine as well. As long as there has been joyful learning, I am content.
    Thank you for your time-wise advice.

    • Paula, I agree, the joy of learning is more important than the perfect project or lapbook. I prefer quality over quantity; rather 2 lovely pages done with enjoyment than a whole lapbook with moaning and pressure.

  3. Nadene, This is fabulous! Wish you were around when I started doing lapbooks 10 years ago! About Step #6… it did not come through to my e-mail, so I came directly here to your site. It does not show here either. The ‘snap preview’ just reads an error 404 on the 2 pictures. Maybe you could send them to me? This slow internet again….lol

    Blessings,
    Lori

    • Oh, my, never mind! I followed your link to the Aesop lapbook and could see there how you filed them…very creative!

      Blessings,
      Lori

  4. I came here from your comment on Sorta Crunchy (or Simple Mom…?) and I’m so glad I did! What a gold mine resource for homeschooling moms. I’m in the midst of a homeschooling tips series and I will definitely include a link to this. Lapbooks are such a great source for so many skills – summarizing, reviewing,…showing off! :)

    The only thing I’ve done differently is not to glue the mini-books in before we complete them. My girls cry big alligator tears when they mess up and it’s already glued in – and my boys don’t always have the dexterity to work with the book unless it’s separate (and movable….like them :)

    Thanks for offering such a practical site. This is my 28th year of home education and I’m still learning :)

  5. We couldn’t stand cutting them all out at once. To me that’s a waste of time. We like cutting them out one piece at a time. It gives an activity of sorts to the history/science lesson or whatever. To us, cutting all at once, or gluing all at once is time consuming and boring.

    I do print out the whole thing in advance and keep it in an expandable paper holder. Then I just give my kids their piece for the day, the sheet or the part of a sheet that it is on. Then it goes right onto the lapbook so they are all collected in one place.

  6. Have you thought of using something like a coupon organizer for holding your mini books before they get put in the lapbook. You could seperate them that way and they wouldnt get mixed up. The accordian kind can hold quite a bit and they are compact.Just an idea.

  7. We all have different styles. I appreciate your sharing your method. That’s how people develop their own style — trying various things and seeing what works.

    It works for us (usually) to have a set of pre-made books. But just this week, we did have to make some fresh books because the ones we had didn’t match the desired color scheme. :-) No problem. We can pull down the cutter and make more.

    We could never stick the minibooks in the base BEFOREHAND. We are too changable. We always think of something new to add or something to modify. But again, since it works for you, FANTASTIC! I’m sure it will help others to see this option.

  8. So glad that you left a comment for me and I was able to find your site. I love it already and am going to spend an evening this week reading back through older posts. Thank you so much for sharing such useful information. We are working on two different lapbooks right now and these tips would be helpful. I have been finding them time consuming while we are all trying to cut and paste (especially for my five year olds) so I will be using your method.

  9. Pingback: American Revolution Lapbook « Practical Pages

  10. Hi Nadene, I’m trying to figure out how you fold your lapbooks and can’t seem to understand the pictures. We have only completed one lap book using the 2 file folder method (and I didn’t enjoy it, but my children loved it, so I want to give it another go!), but I can’t figure out how we would put those in a binder. It looks like you just use 1 folder, but do you staple pages in the middle section, or 3 hole punch each page? Does the binder allow you to open the lapbook to show or is that simply for storing each lapbook? Again… sorry for my slow learning curve! :)

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