Lapbook planning tips

My children loved doing lapbooks and  we quickly figured out some practical tips to prevent overwhelm and to maximise our studies with other activities.  Here are some of my tried-&-tested practical lapbook planning tips ~

Often when printing out and cutting out the lapbook minibooks for your new lapbook , you will have heaps of booklets, papers, cutouts which may cause you and your children to feel overwhelmed. 

Print out the table of contents or index with every download and file this with the lapbook instructions.  If your lapbook printout doesn’t have an index, draw up a list of each minibook theme, or the topics or chapters covered in each minibook of the lapbook study along with a short description of each activity.  You can download my free lapbook planner below.

Whether you download a lapbook or make one for yourself, it helps to print out the lapbook planner or index page so that you have a birds’ eye view of your core topics, sub-topics, minibooks, relevant websites, videos, songs, recipes, hands-on activities and any other downloads as well as the time you plan for each minibook or topic.  Here  is  the  index  I used for my planning my Ancient Egypt Lapbook.  (You  can freely download  the Ancient Egypt Lapbook)

Here is my Pearl Harbour lapbook organiser  which outlined additional websites and sources used:

For more complex subject such as World Wars, it helps to draw up basic vertical timeline and mark the dates for all the most important events.  This helps to follow the course of events chronologically as well as plan the lapbook layout.

We always pasted all the minibooks into the lapbook before we started so that we did not waste time searching through a packet of minibooks to find the relevant one for the day.  You can read all about this in my post Time-saving tips for doing lapbooks. I must add here that my children often pasted their minibooks where they felt it best fitted and not strictly according to the suggested layout and it never was a problem.

We duct-taped along the spine of the lapbook and punched holes in the duct tape so that they were on hand in our files or ring binders.  (Read how we assemble and duct tape our Aesop lapbooks here.)

We stored each child’s completed lapbooks together in a file folder as seen in the photo below.  (Read all about how we stored our lapbooks and notebook pages here.)

Here is my lapbook planner page  free download (available in .docs or  .pdf versions) to use for your planning ~ Lapbook Planner or Organiser (MS Word.docs) or  Lapbook Planner or Organiser (pdf)

My children loved doing hands-on activities so I always extended our planned lapbook time to provide a wide margin for the spontaneous learning activities or additional enrichment.

Please do not ever rush to finish anything!  Take your time and aim to include the “extra” additional studies and hands-on activities!  These will bring your lapbook study to life!

Blessings, Nadene

Mini Office recently updated

Most homeschoolers work in everyday places around the home and so do not have posters and reference charts displayed on walls like conventional public school classrooms.  That is where a Mini Office comes in as a very handy tool!

A Mini Office is essentially a reference file or folder with all a child’s personal  important information right at hand.  This could be reference charts, handwriting charts, number lines, multiplication tables, vocabulary lists, handy facts and any other useful information. It is a handy way of encouraging children to work independently and to provide the necessary assistance without having to put up visual displays.

Recently I updated both the Junior and Senior Mini Offices. I refreshed the layouts, added new pages and corrected a tiny typo. You can find all my Mini Office downloads here.

Here’s what you can find in the 17-page Junior Mini Office  download ~Mini Office

Mini Office2

  1. Number Line & Number Chart
  2. Ordinal numbers & Fractions
  3. Tally or scores, finger counting signs, Shapes, Colours, Directions
  4. Number words & Roman Clock and Roman numbers
  5. Multiplication Tables
  6. Seasons & Months & Days of the Week
  7. Days of the week & time of the day
  8. Address & Where am I?
  9. Weather symbols and Rainbow New!
  10. Sight Word Walls
  11. Phonic Alphabet New!
  12. Phonic Blends New!
  13. Family Words
  14. Print Handwriting Chart
  15. Cursive Handwriting Chart

The Senior Mini Office is a 20-page download which covers a lot of Mathematics.  All the pages have been refreshed, updated or new pages created ~ Mini Office1

  1. Number Chart
  2. Number words New!
  3. Multiplication Table
  4. Keeping score / Tally, Finger counting, Shapes & Colours
  5. Maths Symbols & their meanings & Compass
  6. Ordinal numbers & Roman Clock & Roman numerals
  7. Telling Time , Clock face, Analogue & Digital Clocks New!
  8. Angles & Fractions Updated!
  9. Different types of fractions & Converting fractions Updated!
  10. Converting Units & Number Systems
  11. Percentages – Decimals – Fractions
  12. Circles – Definition & Formula
  13. 2D Shapes – Description Circumference & Area formula
  14. 3D Shapes – Description Volume & Outer Area formula
  15. Triangles – Definition & Formula
  16. Weather symbols & Wind direction & speed symbol & Celsius/Fahrenheit New!
  17. Cursive Handwriting Chart New!

Pop over to download your new and updated  Mini Office pages!

Blessings, Nadene

How do I fit lapbooks into our day?

A reader recently asked me ~

I love the idea of doing lapbooks, but I just don’t know who to fit them into our day.  Can you please share some practical ways we can include lapbooks in our homeschooling?

Let me first quickly explain what a lapbook is ~  A lapbook is usually a folder containing a collection a number of little folded booklets called minibooks all focused around a theme/ topic/ book/ or project.

What I love about lapbooks is that all the little minibooks are little mini-lessons!   Each minibook covers its own topic, which essentially is a stand-alone narration or lesson.    So simply, your children write (or dictate) their narration for the specific topic in the specific minibook and you’ve done your lapbook lesson for that day.

Another reason my kids love lapbooks is that the minibooks are small!  Children don’t feel intimidated facing a large, blank notebook page which they felt they had to fill with lines and lines of information.  Instead, the small booklet seems as if they just need to note a few details and they start writing without too much stress.  Surprisingly, these little booklets can hold a lot of information!  I usually ask for 5 full sentences with at least 8 facts.  Even young children following a Charlotte Mason approach can easily recall these facts and easily fill a minibook.

Many minibooks have an illustration or image on the front of the booklet.  This helps children remember the facts of the topic, so they feel more confident.

Lapbooks mean that your project/ theme or topic is already prepared.  All the minibooks are all the little lessons, and the lapbook planner helps you keep track of the lessons.  I’m very practical and developed a wonderful time-saving tip in organizing all these little booklets before starting the lapbook ~ We print, cut, fold and paste all the minibooks in the file folder and everything is ready, on hand when we do our lapbook.  This is a huge help because kids don’t have to first cut and fold, or sort through a bag of booklets searching for the correct minibook before settling down to write.  They simply open their folder and browse for the relevant minibook, open it and start writing.

Some moms mentioned that their children were afraid of making mistakes in a minibook already pasted in the folder.  I recommend children first write out their narrations in rough draft, or copy a dictated narration, or trace over a penciled narration.  At worse, you can always paste a new page over a spoilt minibook.

We normally only do one lapbook at a time for one subject, but sometimes we have 2 running, one for History and maybe one for a Science theme or Bible project.  Start with your first lapbook on its own and gradually add other activities once you and your children get used to the schedule.

My older children loved to combine minibooks with notebook pages instead of using the file folders.  This works just as well and is simple to prepare – I created notebook pages with the lapbook theme as a header and left space for the minibook.  the rest of the page was lined or blank, as needed.

So what does each day look like and how do we fit in our lapbook lesson?  

Our school days are fairly short – just a few hours per day.  Here’s an example of our schedule for our 3 children – a junior primary, middle schooler and junior high child, covering the same core.

  • Bible time together = about 10 mins
  • Seat work or 3R’s = each does Maths, Spelling, Handwriting and Reading = about 15 minutes per activity and I move between each child to help with work or listen to reading etc.
  • Tea Break and a few minutes to run outside or jump on the mini trampoline.
  • Story time = Core or main reader with all the kids together on the couch or under the tree.
  • Narrations or Lapbook or hands-on activity = about half an hour. Each lapbook minibook is a lesson and so we usually do one minibook per chapter =about half an hour. Some narrations take longer and the kids work over several sessions while I keep reading. Other times I stop reading and we use that time to work on narrations or writing.
  • Lunch break
  • One more subject after lunch = look at my Themes for the Week. This is where we fit in all the extra subjects like Nature Study, Science, Fine Arts.   Many days my children work to complete this before lunch so that they have a full “free” afternoon.

That’s it in a nutshell.  Hope this helps you and I trust that you and your children learn what works for your family and enjoy lapbooks as much a we did.

Please pop over to my Lapbook Page for all my free lapbooks, templates and tips.

Blessings, Nadene

Practical Tip ~ Senior Maths Cheat Sheets

Here’s this week’s practical tip ~

Senior Mini OfficeMost highschool Maths students need to have maths formulas, conversion charts, geometry formulas, number systems, order of operations, and other important Maths information at hand.  We called it a mini office, but some think of these pages as “cheat sheets”.

Over the years, instead of making a laminated file folder mini office, I simply place the pages in a page-protector display file.  We keep the file on hand and my high schoolers use it regularly.

You can find all my free Maths Mini Office downloads here.   Download yours for your highschooler.

Blessings, Nadene

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Practical Tip – Mini Office

mini office

Here’s a practical tip – Use a Mini Office

What is a mini office?

A mini office is a set of important facts and pictures, reference charts, lists, handy facts and conversion charts pasted and laminated in a file folder for a child’s easy reference.

Why use a mini office?

For homeschoolers, a mini office replaces the conventional school wall charts as well as provide quick references needed for daily work.   Parents should tailor-make their child’s mini office according to their current work requirements.  For example the mini office can include Maths charts, Geography information, handwriting charts, sight vocabulary lists, Social Study facts and charts.

What is in a Maths mini office?

senior mini-officeMaths mini offices change to reflect the skills and information for each stage.  A junior mini office may include numbers, number lines,  names of shapes and colors.  Middle schooler maths mini office may include multiplication charts, addition charts, names of geometric shapes, clocks with time conversions, while high schoolers may include maths formulas, order of operations, percentages, fractions and decimal conversion charts, and so on.

Please click here to download your mini offices.

Read the following mini office posts ~

Hope this handy, practical tip helps you in your homeschooling.

In Grace, Nadene

 

 

 

Rectangles Rhomboids Parallelograms

My daughter uses her Maths Mini Office regularly for reference while she does her rectangles rhomboids parallelogramswork.  As she learns new Maths themes, I  create new pages for her work.  Her latest geometry studies covers quadrilaterals, rectangles, rhomboids, squares & parallelograms.

You are welcome to download your free page ~ Rectangles rhomboids & parallelograms

A Mini Office is a handy reference – a file folder, laminated for durability , or a simple file with plastic page protectors.  I find that once a student practices enough with a formula or geometric principles, they no longer need the reference page.  It is also an excellent tool for review and revision.  Students who struggle and require remedial work, find reference pages very reassuring.

Have you found ways to help your maths student?  Any topics you wish to see included in a Mini Office reference page?  Please share in the comments below.

If you would like my posts automatically delivered to your reader or inbox, please click the  RSS Feed button or subscribe button.

Blessings,

Maths Mini Office New Pages

My youngest daughter’s middle school Maths Mini Office needs an upgrade and so I created some new pages to laminate and use in our Maths Mini Office.  These pages include ~

  1. Decimal and number value placement chart.  Handy to calculate multiplying and dividing by 10’s, 100’s or 100’s.
  2. Compass with bearings.  Handy for Geography and Geometry.
  3. X-Y Axis Grid for drawing graphs
  4. Positive & Negative Number Line to teach integers.

Here is the download link to the new Free Pages for your Maths Mini Office ~ Decimal Value Chart Compass XY Axis Pos & Neg Number line

Blessings,

Maths Mini Office Updated

My kids have all used their mini offices for years,

mostly for maths, and, I am sad to admit, mostly for multiplication tables!

(I wish their mental maths was much better, but we have all been lazy in this area.  Sigh.)Homeschool 2015

Anyway, a mini office is a very handy reference that one can personalize for each child’s needs and ages and stages.

I have recently updated both my Junior and the Senior Mini Offices.

The Junior Mini Office containsMini Office

Mini Office2

  1. Number Line & Number Chart
  2. Ordinal numbers & Fractions
  3. Tally or scores, finger counting signs, shapes, directions
  4. Number words & Roman numerals with blank clock face
  5. Multiplication Tables
  6. Seasons & Months
  7. Days of the week & time of the day
  8. Address & Where am I?
  9. Weather
  10. Sight Word Walls
  11. Family Words
  12. Print Handwriting Chart
  13. Cursive Handwriting Chart

The Senior Mini Office has only Maths information or cheat sheets ~Mini Office1

  1. Multiplication table
  2. Number chart
  3. Roman Numerals & Angles
  4. Circles
  5. 2D Shapes with their circumference and area formula
  6. 3D Shapes with their circumference and area and volume formula
  7. Triangles
  8. Maths symbols & Compass directions and bearings
  9. Conversions of time, distance, volumes, mass
  10. Order of operations
  11. Fractions to decimals & percentages, Recurring decimals to fractions
  12. Different types of fractions
  13. Base numbers squares & cubes
  14. Number systems

Pop over to my Mini Office page & check out my super-duper all-on-one-page Calendar for junior primary!

This is a 1 page-does-it-all-in-one chart, which when all assembled with rotating circles and slide bars instead of fiddly flash cards, pictures, Velcro and all those other bits & bobs, the child simply rotates the circles under the windows and slides the viewer to reveal the relevant pictures and information. Easy as pie!

 Handy Tips ~

  • Print out only the pages your child needs.  (It is in A4 landscape format.  You can try print 2 pages on 1 page to create a smaller A5 version.)
  • Paste onto card stock or a file folder or lapbook.
  • My senior children used a plastic display file folder.
  • LAMINATE!  It will last for years.
  • Use whiteboard markers on your laminated surfaces.
  • Keep handy in the child’s maths books, notebook or ring binder.

It is really worth laminating this chart when you make it!

We have used our chart for over 7 years and it is still as good as new!

Blessings,

Free Parables Lapbook

I’m delighted to release my latest free lapbook ~

Free Parables Lapbook

Features ~

  • chronological order parables master list with scripture references in all gospels
  • 38 parables (almost every parable!)
  • complete scripture quotes for every parable in each minibook
  • Modern King James Version
  • simple square design in different folded minibook formats
  • colorful front page art work
  • many minibooks have blank pages inside for the child’s own notes or drawings
  • matching choice of notebook pages, some lined, blank, half page lined, or primary lines

My lapbook elements can be used as ~

  • minibooks and pasted into a lapbook, or,
  • combined with the notebook pages provided, or
  • Collected and stacked as stand-alone minibooks (maybe create a little square box for the pack?)
  • scripture memorization cards

Here are your free downloads ~

  1. Parables Master List  (2 pages)
  2. Parables Booklets 1-9  (10 pages)
  3. Parables Booklets 10-19 (9 pages)
  4. Parables Booklets 20-27 (9 pages)
  5. Parables Booklets 28-34 (11 pages)
  6. Parables Booklets 35-38  (5 pages)
  7. Parables Notebook Pages  (4 pages)
  8. Just for fun, a 1-page-into-10-page minibook ~ Parables – Kingdom of God is like …

I humbly ask that you respect my copyright and request that you link back to my blog if you wish to share these with others.

Be blessed as you dig into God’s word with your children.

Blessings,

Store Lapbooks & Notebooks

We use notebook pages for almost every subject, (except Maths, only because we use Singapore maths workbooks.)

During the year the kids keep their notebook pages, lapbooks (we use duct tape to keep it in the file), art  & projects in their own narrow ring binder files.  I make dividers or cover pages for each subject.

As we progress during the year, we file the term’s or month’s notebook pages in a large arch lever file.

At the end of the year I bind these into notebooks. Last year I bought a new office item – a binder!

I even bind the lapbooks into the spiral-bound notebooks.

But if there are a lot of lapbooks, I file them all in a folder.

How to store lapbooks (& other books) in a file folder:

(photos on the left side of the collage above)

  1. You need a 3-page cardboard folder, metal filing clips, a sharp craft knife, ring reinforce stickers, string, brad pins (split pins) and duct tape.
  2. Insert the metal clip through slits in the back of the cardboard file folder.
  3. Punch or slit the duct tape binding on the side of the lapbook (read here how we make the duct tape binding) to fit over the filing clip.  I made duct tape binding for the Book of Centuries and Maths workbooks.
  4. Insert the lapbooks and close the file clip.
  5. Fold the folder pages over to close the folder.
  6. Attach 2 cardboard circles to each folder side with a brad pin and secure behind with some tape.
  7. Measure off a short piece of string, tie to one of the cardboard circles on one side of the folder and wrap the string under the circle on the other side and back and forth to close.

    Closed with string and brad circles. Label on the spine.

  8. Label the spine of the folder.
  9. Store on the bookshelf for easy access.
  10. Easy-peasy!

How to store lapbooks in a spiral-bound notebook:

(see the photos on the right side of the collage above)

  1. Bind all the notebooks pages in the binder.
  2. Align the lapbook’s duct tape binding along the plastic spirals.
  3. Using a sharp craft knife, make a small slit in the duct tape binding about every 3 or 4 spirals, just wide enough for the plastic spiral to slide through.
  4. Ease the plastic spiral through all the slits and back into the spine of the spiral binding.

    Some of the spiral binding inserted through slits in the duct tape

  5. Now that the binding is closed, the lapbook is quite secure.
  6. All done!

These spiral notebooks, labelled and stored on the bookshelf, take up much less space than the arch lever files.

Better still, the kids love to take out their notebooks to browse through their past year’s creative work!

What practical tips do you have to store previous year’s work?

Blessings,