"" -- A Homeschooler's Notebook Subscriber.
An interactive, FREE, twice-monthly ezine packed with great reader tips, reviews, & practical encouragement for homeschool families.


Some of Our Sponsors


Landry Academy

Math Mammoth

Great Homeschool Conventions

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Resource Links

All About Spelling
Homeschooling ABCs
Upper Level Homeschool
FIRETIME Notebooking
FREE Funschool Units
Homeschooling Help
More Homeschooling Help
HS Gifted and Talented
Homeschool Country Life
Beloved Books & Audio



Lapbooking Adventures, Classic Start Themed Unit Studies

By Heather Idoni

Added Monday, January 08, 2007

The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
Vol. 8 No 2 January 8, 2007
ISSN: 1536-2035
Copyright (c) 2006 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!
If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!




Guest Article
-- Lapbooking Adventures!
Helpful Tips
-- Incremental Lapbooking
Resource Review
-- Classic Start Units
Our Reader Question
-- Recording Unschooling
January Featured Resource
-- Raising Leaders
Additional Notes
-- Archived Newsletters
-- Email Support Group
-- Sponsorship Info
-- Reprint Info
-- Subscriber Info

Guest Article

Lapbooking Adventures
by Holly Hoffman


With 4 boys in various grades, keeping everyone 'constructively'
occupied at the same time is quite a challenge. But one of the
coolest ideas I’ve come across -- that works great (especially with
the hands-on learner) is lapbooking! Man, you can cram a lot of info
into a folder in an orderly way that really makes learning 'pop'! My
non-reader/non-writer really gets into it. He was doing a lesson on
Japan. The regular textbook work was too dry for him, so I decided
to give lapbooking a try. I downloaded some info on Japan from the
internet and gave him an old encyclopedia to cut up. He wrote out
numbers and colors in Japanese. He listed what their job market is
like, foods they eat and other lifestyle differences. He had a map
with the capital and major cities highlighted. It was way cool! And
he was really excited about it. My mom had sent us a pair of
pantyhose with packaging all in Japanese that she had found in
her room on a cruise ship -- another story. We added chopsticks
and the folder was complete!

Another son did his on planets; another on dinosaurs. We did one
on monkeys and included types, habitats, stories written about
monkeys, (Curious George!), and then we even made a sock monkey!

Lapbooking isn’t hard. You’ve got to have a few materials, but most
is stuff from around the house. I have my lapbooking stuff in a
special box so the kids will have supplies on hand! To start the first
one, use a manila folder and fold both sides inwards vertically. You
can than use a hole punch and string to tie the lapbook shut. When
you open it the kids get excited to see all the little sections neatly
displaying and telling about the subject. You’ll also need lots of
small neatly cut up pieces of paper of various sizes (a paper cutter
is wonderful for this!). You’ll need glue, scissors, staplers, crayons,
pens, pencils, etc.).

Lapbooking doesn’t just have to be a manila folder, either. You can
make little 'mini' books, about 2" x 2" or so. This is how my son
did his planets. We cut the bottom 3" off a cereal box, painted it,
turned it on its side, and it is the holder for all the little books.

Since a lot of small pieces of paper are used (and if you have more
than one child!), it can get chaotic. I keep each lapbook subject in
a zip shut plastic bag, put a hole punch in it and use the round
unlocking key rings to hang them on a hook. Then each child just
needs to grab his bag and he can work on his own.

This works for all ages and grades! Little ones can do colors,
numbers, letters or 'farm animal vs. city animal' pets. High school
ages can use it to divide plant life, chemical components, or report
on an event such as the Civil War. The possibilities are just as
endless as those you would assign any report on.

Most kids really enjoy hands-on learning. Especially special-ed
kids with learning disabilities. It is usually something they CAN do.
And believe me, they really learn doing this! If you can come up
with a project at the end to do or make, it brings the whole lesson
home on another level. Going to the zoo, making a sock monkey,
visiting the planetarium, museum, or blowing up the kitchen again,
are just a few ideas.

OK- are you totally overwhelmed? There are, believe it or not,
lapbooking websites and books you can buy. The books are super
for ideas! Websites have even more continuous ideas. So when
shenanigans start arisin' give ‘em something to do. Put the energy
to good use. Of course, if they complain, there’s always the laundry!

http://scrapbookingtolearn.com (click on lapbook gallery)


Big Book of Books and Activities by Dinah Zike
A Book Bag of the Bag Ladies’ Best by K. Simmons & C. Guinn


Do you have comments to share? Please do!

Send your emails to: heather@familyclassroom.net



Helpful Tip

"We have just started using a lapbook, but my son has been
making his as he goes along. When he finishes a chapter, he
then decides what he wants to take note of in his lap book, and
then decides what type of mini-book (or whatever) he wants to
put in. I have seen some sites where they appear to wait until
the end to make up or assemble the book, but for my son, the
excitement of adding something new to his lapbook is what
gets him through his lessons and has him paying attention
instead of just rushing through it."

-- Cheryl in WA (from our HomeschoolingBOYS.com email group)


Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net

Resource Review

Classic Start Themed Unit Studies
For more information or to order: http://www.classicapple.com

Homeschool mom Pamela Maxey has taken her years of experience and put
together a wonderful tool for families with young children! The early
years are a perfect time for trying unit studies since most young
children tend to be very hands-on, wiggly learners. With Classic Start
Themed Unit Studies you get a full year of learning in one, easy-to-use
volume. The book follows the seasons with a different unit for each of
the traditional school year months and a summer unit, which focuses on
reading and the author, Cynthia Rylant. Pamela does not tell you how to
schedule your days or weeks, but rather provides you with lots of book
and activity suggestions from which to pick and choose. While some
moms might like more guidance, others will appreciate the flexibility
to create a schedule that works around their family's lifestyle.

Each month's unit begins with facts about the season and month.
Did you know that January is National Oatmeal Month? Following
the special monthly designations, Pamela provides a calendar
listing of important dates; some are well-known like holidays and
then there are other, lesser-known events, such as the one for
January 24th, the day Chester Nelson patented the Eskimo Pie.
Using January as an example, the theme is winter and there are
various sections with activity suggestions (most of them following
a snow theme). The activities fall under the following headings:
Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science & Social Studies, and
Cooking. Although all of the monthly units follow a similar pattern,
each one is unique in its own way. Some have more Geography
or Math activites, while others lend themselves more to Cooking
and Writing. The other units covered during the year are Fish,
Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Presidents, Spring, P.D. Eastman,
and Bugs. Some families may be troubled by the Fall unit during
the month of October since many of the books and activities
involve a halloween-type theme. The unit does, however, include
a few leaves and apple activities; learning from Pam's example
of connecting activites and using your local library, it would be
easy to add a few more non-halloween, fall books to create your
own unit for this month.

Pamela Maxey has done an excellent job creating just the right
balance of hands-on versus reading/writing activities. The book
and activity suggestions in Classic Start Themed Unit Studies
provide lots of stimulating, discovery learning that is critical
for young learners. Moms with young children will appreciate the
clear activity instructions that take away all the guesswork,
leaving them lots of time to play and learn with their kids!

-- by Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com

Last Issue's Reader Question

"I am trying to find a workable system for recording activities and
how to put them for review for unschooling. I have decided to take
that route since he learns so much more. I am learning so much
just following his interests. If there are any unschoolers please
give me some workable ideas. Thanks so much." -- Julianne

Our Readers' Responses

"Keeping records for unschooling is a bit like unschooling itself, in
that you have to think unconventionally. Are you familiar with lap-
booking? The child assembles very creative, but compact displays
of his projects. Tobin's Lab (www.tobinslab.com) has resources and
instructional materials to teach you how. Also, you or your child,
depending on his writing ability, could keep a daily journal of his
activites. Then at the end of the week, you can go through his journal
and pick out the things that you consider to be justified as 'learning
activities', and keep a log in a notebook. The log doesn't need to be
anything fancy; I would suggest a looseleaf binder. Depending on
the requirements of your state, you might also want to include the
approximate time spent on each activity and which subject areas it
falls under. One of the nice things about unschooling is that many
things the children do can be credited to more than one subject area.
We have an area called 'life skills' for things that don't seem to fit
in traditional subject categories, but are important to us. Another
helpful tool is a scrapbook for pictures of projects that are too large
to save, or activities that can be documented better with photos.

Other suggestions: keep a list of books that he reads, and books that
you read to him; keep a travel log, and a list of museums you visit and
concerts you attend; record any community service that your family
does; start a file of letters of reference from people who are pleased
with the services he performs for them; keep a bibliography of resources
that you use, including websites." -- Mary Beth A.


"Hi there! A workable system for recording activities for me in my
homeschool I discovered this year is to buy a family planning calendar
that has a column for each family member. I use the whole calendar
for my child and title each column with a different subject child does,
dividing up some columns in half when only a small amount of info is
required like reading. It is just an overview to have the whole picture
in a glance and I also keep a more detailed account in a journal for
the child. Also when my child does worksheets or themed workbooks
of interest to her, I date the page with the date to keep track when
they were done. Then it's easy to go back and find that info!!" -- Sue

Answer our NEW Question

"I am searching for a good second language course for my 8 year
old. I've heard great things about Rosetta Stone, and one called
The Learnables. We are going to be teaching French. What are
some thoughts and recommendations?" -- Roberta


Do you have some experience with language courses you would
like to recommend and/or discourage Roberta from using?

Please send your answer to: HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!


This new section is to share great curriculum resources or
homeschooling 'helps' that personally motivate, mentor or
inspire me as a parent. Here is my winner for January!


P.S. I have personally reviewed and I'm utilizing the package at
the link above, so if you have questions you want to ask me
personally before making a purchase, please feel free to email me.
If you'd like to add your own testimonial, please write to me about
that too! ;-) Send emails to: Heather@FamilyClassroom.net

Our Searchable Newsletter Archive

Access the Homeschool Notebook issues you have missed...
or search on a specific word or phrase in issues all the way
back to January 2001! Just go to this link:


Interactive Email Group

In an effort to help our readers become more of an interactive
community, we have set up an email loop at YahooGroups called

Here is the link to sign-up!



There are opportunities for you to be a sponsor of this
newsletter. If you are interested, drop an e-mail to
marketing@stretcher.com with "Homeschoolers-Notebook"
as the subject. We'll send you some information on how to
become a part of this ministry!


All contributed articles are printed with the author's prior
consent. It is assumed that any questions, tips or replies to
questions may be reprinted. All letters become the property of
the "Homeschooler's Notebook". [Occasionally your contribution
may have to be edited for space.]

Again, I welcome you to the group! Feel free to send any
contributions to HN-articles@familyclassroom.net or

Our main website is:

We also sponsor an incredible site with over 1,500 pages of helps!


This newsletter may be copied in its entirety without special per-
mission. To use any single part of the newsletter, please direct
your request to: Heather@FamilyClassroom.net


To subscribe, just send a blank email to the following address:

To unsubscribe send a blank email to the following address:


Tags: homeschool notebooking, lapbooking, classical themed unit studies, classical curriculum, unit study, themed studies, unschooling, keeping records, record keeping for unschooling, relaxed homeschool education, homeschooling tips, advice, chat

Next - Teamwork Games, Interactive Symphony Orchestra, Foreign Language Programs
Previous - First Lego League, Architect Studio 3D, Support Group Wish List

     Site content copyright individual contributors and FamilyClassroom.net 2001-2011 - Digital duplication expressly prohibited.
Privacy Policy | Advertise