A Little House Notebook

We all love the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder!

We use the free Little House lapbooks downloaded from Homeschoolshare.com for each book in the series.

This year my 12-year-old-middle-schooler-who-thinks-she’s-junior-high asked for notebook pages instead of doing a lapbook.

I could see this transition coming.  As she has matured, she readily writes lengthy and detailed narrations in her History notebook pages.

I created simple Little House notebook pages, using the question prompts from the lapbook download instructions.

Both children still cover the same work, but present it differently.

Little House Booklet with duct tape binding for easy filing

Miss K12 asked for a small booklet, so I formated it to A5 (half the size of normal print paper).

I included a new vocabulary page and I made her several blank pages for her to illustrate while I read aloud.

Here’s your free download ~ Little House on Plum Creek A5 Notebook

Little House Booklet inside

I’m delighted with her lovely, detailed narrations …

Little House booklet notebook pages

… and her beautiful drawings.

Little House booklet illustrations

My 9-year-old still loves doing lapbooks.  She feels comfortable with the small size of the minibooks.  She happily fills them and often still needs more space.

Inside the Little House Lapbook

She, too, will prefer writing her narrations in notebook pages soon.

Our combination pages are a good middle ground for this transition. We often paste minibook elements on a notebook page and it adds detail and dimension.

My youngest child still needs my help writing longer narrations.  She starts writing her own narration, and I give her correct spelling prompts when needed.  If she gets bogged down in tiny details, I encourage her to make her write short, clear sentences and make her point.

Quite often she get physically tired of writing (it is really hard work), but her brain is still full of ideas.  Rather than let it become a slog, I play scribe and she enthusiastically dictates her flow of thought.


Satisfying for both of us.

I love my children directing some of their homeschool choices.  It keeps them motivated.  The freedom and individuality are the most wonderful part of a tailor-made education!

How do you allow for preferences and differences in your homeschooling?


Bugles, Fifes, Drums and Sounds of the Civil War!

Union Army drummer

The internet really brings History to life!

We are covering the Civil War.   I mentioned recently that I try to find new ways for my children to learn, discover and enjoy history.  Well, today we listened to bugle and drum calls, watched videos of musical instruments and discovered how to signal with flags of the Civil War! 

Here are some great Civil War links ~


  1. Bugle calls ~ Short, clear description of the different calls with MP3 sound clips.  We loved this!  I asked my youngest child to march and respond to the calls.They recognised several calls from movies!
  2. “WANTED – Young men who like to get up early, make noise all day, love exercise and excitement. If interested, please see the nearest Union Army Recruiter. If that sounds like you, then you may have what it took to be a Civil War drummer. But first, let’s make sure you qualify.”   Read here for the rest of this lovely child’s view of becoming a drummer and a Civil War hero.
  3. ethemes  Civil War: Drummer Boys has a list of other links.
  4. Photos of Civil War instruments at National Music Museum
  5. Very detailed and interesting information and moving historical photos of Civil War Buglers
  6. Bugles, fife and drums soundtrack on video with historical military images and a video of the famous “When Jonny Comes Marching Home” with images of Southern States.
  7. The Taps Project  ~ tribute to moving sounds of the Last Call.


  1. Wonderful description of drummers, their duties and lifestyle.
  2. YouTube video of Troopers playing Civil War drums.
  3. Craft Activity ~ Make your own Civil War drums.

Signal flags

  1. Wonderful lesson plan pdf with fun hands-on activities ~sew and make flags, make your own cypher discs and send messages just like the Signal Corps!
  2. Lovely clear explanations of the Wig Wag signal system using 2 flags.  Codes and pictures excellent for children.
  3. Flag training lesson with Flash images ~ fantastic page – let the kids see how to wave the flags for letters and words they select!
  4. Images of Signal kits
  5. Step-by-step description of how to assemble your signal flags kits
  6. Index to signal flags manual
  7. Wikipedia image of Signal Corps Kits
  8. Info on the Signal Corps 
  9. A peek at how signalman waved his flags on this short video at Gettysburg National Military Park

I created a 7 page Civil War notebook page package including ~

  • basic half-lined and blank notebook page
  • minibooks on the North and South war issues and Slavery
  • map of states separated on slavery issue
  • The Emancipation Declaration and minibook to cover this
  • Selection of some of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speeches for recitation and copywork
  • Graphic organizers of the Civil War timelines
  • Signal flag images and alphabet codes for messages

Download your free copy here ~ War Between the States

I downloaded some free lapbook elements from Homeschoolshare and Dynamic 2 Moms to supplement our studies not covered on the notebook pages and for the internet studies above.

Bookmark these links for your Civil War studies!  Trust you enjoy your History as it come to life!


The Book of James Lapbook

I’m so excited! 

I created a brand new lapbook for our Bible Study ~

The Book Of


  • This lapbook is based entirely on scriptures using the Modern King James Version.
  • These minibooks cover about 90% of the Book of James.
  • The complete download consists of 14 pages with about 34 minibooks, a cover page and other references and notes. For quicker download times I have split this lapbook into 4 smaller files. 🙂
  • Some minibooks have place for personal notes, study, application or activity, but they all can stand alone for memory verses.
  • I created the lapbook for middle-school ages, but it is really suitable for high schoolers and even adults.
  • Because we love to combine our minibooks and notebook pages, I created a basic notebook page for the Book of James. The notebook page has lines for copywork and for personal application. There is an open space for pasting minibooks or illustrations.  I let my children choose which verse they want to copy and write about, and they enjoy the freedom to lay out  and paste their minibooks as they wish.  Here is my 9-year-old’s page:

Here are your downloads:

Some extras on-line:

  • A wonderful James Bible Study handout with the complete text of James and questions with spaces for your write your notes at Padfield.com
  • An online Bible study for children with basic scriptures, corresponding Bible verses, simple principles and some activities at Children’s Bible Study.com

I trust you enjoy this download.  Please feel free to share your lapbook and notebook pages with us!


American Revolution Lapbook

Cover of "Johnny Tremain"

Cover of Johnny Tremain

We have spent about a week on the American Revolution Lapbook that I downloaded free from Just Us.

Based on the book Johnny Tremain, the lapbook covers all the major events of the revolution such as ~

The Boston Massacre, The Boston Tea Party, Tyranny vs. Liberty, the Declaration of Independence, the Battles of Lexington and Concord and Saratoga,  Minute Men, Guns, Valley Forge, Forts, the Treaty of Paris, Government, Sons of Liberty, pride, fear,  plus plenty of vocabulary building activities, timelines, maps, definitions, and several scriptures on the topic.

As I shared before in a post on Time-Saving Tips for Doing Lapbooks , we paste in all the minibooks on our lapbook folders before we write in them.

I hate it when the minibooks are crowded and confused on the table and inevitable minibooks get ‘lost’.  So, I handed each child their ziplock bag of minibooks (which I had cut out quietly one evening) and some notebook pages and they arranged them and pasted them on the pages as they wished.  My youngest chose coloured blank paper instead of the History Notebook pages.

This was a large lapbook download and the girls used 7 to 8 pages each for all the minibooks.

Notebook pages with silver paper file clip on the left

We punched the pages and clipped these in a simple cardboard file folder instead of a lapbook folder.   I trimmed the tops and bottoms of the file folders so that they are slightly larger than the notebook pages, but small enough to fit in our files.

File folder trimmed, with duct tape punched to file

Because we would work with the folder for a week, I used my favourite item, duct tape, and taped the side edge to punch and insert in the children’s files. 

What is lovely about this system is that we simply take the folder out, grab the coloured pens and we are ready to read, research, discuss, and write.  It takes a few minutes to find the minibook, but there is no gluing and faffing about.

The lapbook was a great retrospective activity and an excellent way to consolidate the work we had covered in our History core.

We are still busy reading Johnny Tremain every night.  I remembered this book was long the first time I used Sonlight, but it seems to have grown even longer the second time round! 🙂 None the less, the girls enjoy this book even though it is a “boys” book, and it has transported us into the lives and times of the American Revolution era.

If you plan to study American History I suggest you pop over to Just Us an download this lapbook and keep it in a file.

Here’s a planning tip:

Draw up a basic vertical timeline of your History period you wish to study and mark the dates for all the most important events.  Then spend some time looking for free downloads, lapbooks, pictures, hands-on activities and jot it on your timeline.  This timeline will give you a birds’ eye view of your core, your activities and downloads and the time you need for each theme.

Print out the table of contents with every download and keep this with the lapbook instructions.


Time-Saving Tips for Doing Lapbooks

We regularly do lapbooks!

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, especially 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.

  • Save a back-up of your lapbook download on a memory stick/CD/ EHD (External Hard Drive)

2. Print out the minibooks, index and instructions.

  • I like to print the next project a few weeks ahead of my schedule.
  • Place the index, instructions and the printed pages in a plastic page protector and store these pages with the lapbook minibook 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.  This usually takes one afternoon.
  • Or the kiddies can cut out minibooks for you.  They need all the cutting practice they can get!
  • We listen to a a read aloud or audio books while we are busy snipping and folding.
  • Use this master template to make your own stash of minibooks!.

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

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

Here is my problem ~  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.

Here are some other practical problems~

  • I paper-clipped the new 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 of pasting all the minibooks into the file folder before we start has saved us from lost and muddled minibooks and senseless time-wasting searches.

5.   IMPORTANT –  PASTE all the new minibooks in their file folders BEFORE you even start your lapbook!

  • Place the minibooks according to the recommended layout according to the instruction page, or according to sequence of the work.
  • The kids do an excellent job placing the minibooks on their own.  They shift and arrange the minibooks until they are happy with the layout.  A random layout has never been a problem.
  • They choose where they want to fix the extra cardboard flap or file folder if they need extra space.
  • We glue all the minibooks down.
  • This pasting 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.
  • Note – When working on a lapbook and a child makes a complete mess of a minibook, simply cut out a paper to fit over the writing and cover the errors, if that is a concern for you or your child.  This has happened only once or twice in all our years of lapbooking.

6.  Duct tape the side of the lapbook and punch it if you want to store the lapbook in a ring-binder/ work file while you are working on the lapbook.

  • I love this method of storage.  It makes the lapbook part of our daily file work.
  • Trim the top of the file folders so that the lapbook to fit in the ringbinder/ file.  Check how we do this here.
  • When the lapbook is complete, it is easily filed with other lapbooks.
Duct tape on front of lapbook

Duct tape on front of lapbook

Fold over and stick duct tape to back of lapbook

Fold over and stick duct tape to back of lapbook creating a strip of folded duct tape

Punch holes into duct tape

Punch holes into the folded duct tape strip

7.  Now we are ready to start!

  • It only takes a moment to open the lapbook, glance over 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?

Blessings, Nadene

Maths Mini Office for Middle & Senior Students

A Mini Office is a collection of reference materials your child needs to refer to while they work.

Most mini offices are pasted into the child’s own file folder.

This makes it easy for them to find information or important facts.

Mini Offices replace the wall charts that most classrooms have on display.

My grade 5/6 and grade 9 children refer to math reference pages often.

I created this Maths Mini Office for them.

I have combined current middle school and high school Maths work in this  13 page download ~ Click your download here ~ Mini Office Senior Maths A4

Included in this Maths Mini Office are~

  1. Multiplication Chart
  2. Shapes and Counting
  3. Roman Numerals and Angles
  4. 3D Shapes with formulas for area & volume
  5. 2D Shapes with formulas for area & circumference
  6. Circles with formulas for area &  circumference
  7. Triangles with angles, area & Pythagoras Theory
  8. Maths Symbols and Compass Points
  9. Fractions, Decimals & Converting Fractions

Here are some examples of the download:

Multiplication Table

Shapes & counting

Roman Numerals & Angles

3D Shapes ~ Pyramid, Sphere & Cones

Read more ~ go to  Mini Offices


Famous Artists Lapbook ~ loads of minibooks!

This Famous Artist Lapbook features ~

Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo di Lodovico, Raffael Sanzio da Urbino, Sandro Botticelli, Anthony van Dyck, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Peter Paul Rubens, Salvador Dali, Henry Moore and Paul Jackson Pollock

I have created a ‘blank canvas’ type lapbook as each minibook is blank and the thumbnails are separate.  This means you can use the download as it is and cover every artist, or you could use the minibook templates and use them to feature several works of 1 artist. There is an organized lapbook planner with web site links as well as a page of extra application ideas.

Here some samples of the 20 pages:

Famous Artist Lapbook planner 1

Applications & Ideas

Leonardo da Vinci


Rembrandt Van Rijn

Raphael da Urbino

Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

Peter Paul Rubens


Auguste Rodin

Anthony van Dyck

Pablo Picasso

Matching Masterpieces

Pockets of paintings & sculptures

Who is the artist pentagon petal minibook

Click here for your download ~ Famous Artists Lapbook

The Famous Artist Lapbook is an excellent addition to the Famous Artist Wall Chart and the Famous Artist Biography Pages.

Copyright © 2015 Nadene Esterhuizen

All rights reserved.  Please email me for permission granted for personal use only.  No part of this publication may be shared, stored, sold, reproduced, or distributed without my written consent.

I have created a simple lapbook base from which you may launch in any direction!  You may want to use each minibook or its suggested activity or create this lapbook in your own way.

  • You can use these pages as they are.  Cut and paste the name of the artist on the front of each minibook.
  • All the minibooks have been left blank so that you may pick and choose the style you need or prefer.
  • Let your child write Charlotte Mason-type narrations (detailed and accurate recall) of the art work inside the minibooks for art appreciation lessons.
  • You could cover just 1 artist and use the collection of minibooks to do several minibooks on his different works.
  • Collect all minibooks and assemble a lapbook on the entire topic or featuring 1 artist.  Let your child assemble the lapbook when they complete the whole unit.

Minibook Master Template Download

Here are my favourite minibook templates all in 1 download.

To download your MS Word version ~ click here ~ Minibook Master Template MS Word

To download your pdf version ~ click here ~ Minibook Master Template pdf

Accordion minibooks

Flap minibooks

Cross, circle petal and arrow flap minibooks

Matchbook and pocket minibooks

Flap minibooks

Flag minibooks with brad, circle and pentagon petal minibook

Square petal minibook & triangle flap minibook

5 Tab Minibook

NEW! Step minibook

circle Accordion minibooks

Lapbook Planner Sheet

There are several ways you can use this download:

  • Print and use the minibooks:

Print it out on card stock. Use them as a template to draw and cut out on coloured paper. Store these folded and ready in ziplock bags (Check out Jimmie’s Collage – where I first saw this idea.)

Minibooks cut and ready

  • How to use this download to create your own lapbook:

Save the Minibook Master Template file on to your computer.  Open it and open a new Word document. Copy a suitable template from the Master Template and paste it on the new document.  Make it larger or smaller or rotate it.  I add a text box, paste it near the minibook and type my instructions or information in this.  Then I copy and paste clip art or pictures to suit my theme.  I add this information to my lapbook planner (on page 12) and add web site links, book page or chapter number.  As I develop the lapbook I consider different style minibooks for variety and for use, (eg.:a 4 Flaps Minibook or a 4 Tab Minibook for 4 pieces of information.)

  • Make a Lapbook Folder to store all the minibook templates:

When I started making minibooks, I needed to see the minibook in “real life” so I printed the templates and stuck them into a cardboard folder.  I grouped them in styles.  As I planned my lapbook, I browsed through my folder and chose the style minibook. I wrote this on my lapbook planner and then created the lapbook on the computer.  The girls still prefer to choose the minibook they want by browsing through this folder.

Examples in my folder page 1

More Examples page 2

Even more examples page 3

  • Here are the many helpful web sites, free downloads and templates I found:

homeschoolshare.com ~ excellent lists of EVERY template by divisions with hyperlinks  – all organized!

Squidoo Minibook Gallery ~Jimmie has created the most comprehensive gallery of photos and info on minibooks.

notebookingpages.com ~simple, clear and classic photo layout with free downloads

Did you spot the newest, simplest minibook called a STEP MINIBOOK? Look on page 11 of the download and go on ~ try it! I found it at makingbooks.com.

Freebieoftheday! Famous Impressionist Artists

This year I have decided to focus on Famous Impressionist Artists and created a Famous Impressionist Lapbook with minibooks, biography pages and a wall chart!  I’d love to share this with you.  Here is a complete package for your Famous Impressionist Artist study.

Please sign up for an email notification or put my RSS feed on your homepage! You’ll find this on my sidebar halfway down.  There are lots more on coming up in the next few months!

Famous Impressionist Lapbook ~ Famous Impressionist Artist Lapbook (Downlaod)

A lapbook or notebook & minibook combination, this versatile 18 page pdf. package includes thumbnails of masterpieces, suggested activities, blank minibook templates and an organized lapbook planner for any option using these minibooks. This download will offer enough material for a dedicated study of each artist and their works.


These minibooks are blank with  thumbnail pictures of famous masterpieces for each minibook.  This allows the child to make their lapbook and minibooks unique!

More Impressionist Minibooks and activity pages

Artists featured are:

Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Mary Cassatt, Paul Signac, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro, Berthe Morisot

And that’s not all … to go with the minibooks …

Famous Impressionist Biography Pages ~


Blank Biography Famous Impressionist Artists ~ Our 13 featured artists on blank page. Ideal for minibook combo!

Primary Biography Famous Impressionist Artists ~ The 13 artists with red & blue & dotted grey lines in wider spaces for beginner writers

Black line Biography Famous Impressionist Artists ~ As above with neat black and dotted grey lines for more mature writers.

Display a A4 wall chart ~ Famous Impressionist Wall Chart 2016 (download)
Features one artist a month and a suggested study of his/her works.

I have selected my favourites of their works and have made a mini-gallery for each artist.

Included in the package is a brief biography of each artist  in the 16 page pdf. download.

This A4 page could also be added to a minioffice!

For some more tips, ideas and suggestions on this wall chart download click ~ here

Click my Free Pages and check out my other free pages!

Thank you to Homeschool Freebie of the day who featured my free pages.

Please sign up for an email notification or put my RSS feed on your homepage!  There are lots more on the burner ….

Thanks for visiting ~ come again soon!


New Ancient Egypt Lapbook & Activities

Hot off the press!  My new Ancient Egypt Lapbook is here! Here’s the download ~ Ancient Egypt Lapbook

3D Ancient Egypt lapbook

Pyramid-shaped lapbook folds flat to store with other Ancient Egypt work

This lapbook is created to become a 3D pyramid-shaped folder.  The 16-page download includes:

  • Lapbook planner ~ with answers and references & websites
  • minibooks ~ People, hieroglyphics, write your name in hieroglyphics, hieroglyphic message to decode, word search, Rosetta stone, making papyrus, Egyptian burial and Egyptian food
  • Biography page ~ King Tutankhamun
  • Pictures to colour & make into puzzles
  • Additional hands-on activities ~ making papyrus, baking bread in pots, a model of Egyptian home, ‘mummify’ a doll, make sarcophagus, making a water-clock and making a shaduf.

What about downloading some Ancient Egyptian Paper dolls and men to go with your Ancient Egypt studies? Pop over to my Paper Dolls page for the downloads.

Ancient Egypt Men    Paper Doll Ancient Egypt

Hope you and your children enjoy learning about Ancient Egypt!