New homeschoolers often find themselves questioning whether they need to buy some of the more expensive educational equipment such as printers, spiral binders and laminators. While having a top-loading printer (so that you can print pages from books) is “almost essential”, a laminator is not.
Laminators help to stiffen, protecting and creating a wipeable surface for charts, flashcards, maps, games, manipulatives and mini office folders. Whiteboard markers are a fabulous way to reuse pages as children can wipe out practice sheets.
Some practical tips —
Use cardstock behind the page to back and strengthen paper pages.
Make sure that the edges all around the page are sealed.
Leave a tiny plastic edge all around the laminated paper when cutting the page out.
Tape or cover the front and the back of your pages.
Wipe off whiteboard markers as soon as the activity is finished.
Here are some alternatives to use instead of laminating your pages —
Use plastic page protective sleeves. These are easy to find, cheap and very practical because they already have punched holes to file your pages. Tape the opening closed or fold over and tape any excess if you want to prevent pages from shifting. Check for the quality of these protective sleeves and rather buy the thicker, sturdier ones.
Use display files that have the plastic page pockets. Again, tape the pocket or the page to prevent any shifting.
Cover smaller items with clear packaging tape. This is excellent for flash cards or for charts that you want to protect, but that your child will not necessarily write on. Be aware that the tape joins or edges may create a slight ridge. To avoid bubbles, start to tape on the surface beyond the page, extend the tape over the page and lower carefully.
Clear contact paper is a wonderful laminator. You can buy it in rolls at most stationary suppliers. Align the edge, peel the backing paper and wipe the sticky plastic sheet smoothly over the page, avoiding and easing out any air bubbles.
Spray a waterproof coating on your pages. Read about how to do this at ehow.com. I have not used this, but they suggest clear polyurethane coating, clear acrylic spray paint and lacquer spray sealers available at home improvement centers, department stores and craft shops.
Use an iron instead of a laminator to seal laminator thermal pouches. Watch this quick little video.
Ziploc bags are an excellent alternative. Cut the bag to fit the page and seal the edges with clear packaging tape.
Travel tags, bookmark sleeves, write & wipe sleeves and other store-bought items are more expensive, but very durable and professional.
But I would still recommend purchasing a laminator if you can afford it. It really does provide an exceptional, durable sealed surface and tough exterior for those pages or charts. We have used our laminated handwriting charts and mini offices for all our homeschooling years and they are still in excellent condition.
Here’s to using what you have, starting right now and making the most of your homeschool pages!
So many parents need help to teach their child to write. Over the years of homeschooling, I have had wonderful success using my laminated handwriting charts.
I have just completely updated my Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step Ebook which is now a 16-page booklet. It includes new detailed instructions & examples on line placement for writing on lined notebook pages, starting & ending points for each letter, as well as new charts that include coloured numbered dots and arrow guidelines.
Here’s what you’ll find in this Teach Print Handwriting Ebook ~
Introduction to Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step
Why laminated charts work
Step-by-Step Handwriting Lessons
Getting to know the lines and letter placement
How to start teaching print handwriting step-by-step
Examples of how to talk through each lower-case letter
Print lower case with start & end and arrows (a-o)
Print lower case with start & end and arrows (p-z)
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.)
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 contains ~
Number Line & Number Chart
Ordinal numbers & Fractions
Tally or scores, finger counting signs, shapes, directions
Number words & Roman numerals with blank clock face
Seasons & Months
Days of the week & time of the day
Address & Where am I?
Sight Word Walls
Print Handwriting Chart
Cursive Handwriting Chart
The Senior Mini Office has only Maths information or cheat sheets ~
Roman Numerals & Angles
2D Shapes with their circumference and area formula
3D Shapes with their circumference and area and volume formula
Maths symbols & Compass directions and bearings
Conversions of time, distance, volumes, mass
Order of operations
Fractions to decimals & percentages, Recurring decimals to fractions
Different types of fractions
Base numbers squares & cubes
Pop over to my Mini Office page & check out my super-duper all-on-one-pageCalendar 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!
Pop over to my Freebies Mini Offices page for your free downloads!