Let’s focus on lap books for a few minutes!
Maybe you’re a new homeschooler, and aren’t familiar with the concept of lap books. Or maybe you’re a veteran homeschooling mom, and lapbooks have always looked like a lot of work, or mess, and you’re not sure what good they are, anyways.There are several reasons that we include lap books as key (but optional) supplements to the Tapestry curriculum, and I love how Bonnie captured some of them in her post during a discussion on the Loose Threads Yahoogroup recently. She was kind enough to let me reproduce her post.
I wanted to put in a plug for lapbooking for those of you who may be “on the fence.”
My kids have done lapbooks through our six years so far with TOG, although we’ve never used the kits. We’ve just used lapbook techniques (mainly gleaned from Dinah Zike’s book, and some directly from the suggestions in TOG Classic) to summarize some of the information we were learning.
What I’ve noticed is that as a result, some of my kids have really improved in their summarizing skills, in a way that they found fun and a “break” from regular school stuff. For the younger ones, this was often “bullets” of information done on mini match books, or tri-fold shaped books, cut-outs, or as a caption for pictures. As they got older and more familiar with some of the “foldables,” they would get pretty creative on their own, and often would do more full sentences and/or paragraphs as the written part.
The result either way was very fulfilling for them – a creation all their own that they liked the look of (they liked to decorate with colored papers, borders with markers, etc.), an easy-to-store project that recapped a lot of what they’d learned about the topic, and – a thrill for me – they had to learn to summarize what they thought was important (with more prompts from me when they were younger and more decisions from them as they got older).
I don’t know whether the lap book kits have this same benefit since they are more directive about what to include (they may be – I just don’t have experience with them), and I realize that making a lap book from scratch could be a very overwhelming thing for some kids and moms. Just know that, as long as the expectations are kept very low at the beginning, it can be basically glorified draw-and-caption, and it can be done at a very simple level by the youngest who are interested in making a project. If they can use scissors and glue stick (tape runner is even better), and dictate bullets to you, they can do a simple lap book.Again – I’m NOT saying everyone should do lap books :o) But for those who are looking for reasons to do it, I would encourage you to give it a try!
In His Grace,
Lap books are, as Bonnie mentioned, for any children who can handle scissors and glue sticks. They can dictate written portions that are too hard for spelling, or when spaces for handwriting are too small for their fine motor movement to handle. The learning is in the doing, not the writing! Lap books function in many of the following ways for kids using Tapestry:
- They are a tactile approach to solidifying what the student has recently learned.
- You can also use lap books to evaluate how much your child remembers from his learning, especially if you are using the templates or kits that Lampstand Press offers. These are custom designed to work exactly with lesson contents as assigned in Tapestry year-plans.
- As Bonnie mentioned, they help littles to summarize, or to select, important ideas from the week’s lessons.
- Kids enjoy having a keepsake of their unit’s work. You can use these as a fun way to review the year’s work, or go back a unit or two to remind students of related lesson contents, such as using Reformation Age lap books to relate to the study of the Pilgrims.
- Lap books can be done independently by Upper Grammar students once they are trained. This is wholesome, educational fun for such students!
- Kids enjoy the bright colors: these stimulate the learning and can add to memory retention.
- For moms who are not “crafty” lap books offer a nice alternative. They are, on the scale of crafting possibilities, contained, neat, and simple. One needs very few materials and they keep kids interested and engaged for weeks on end. As Bonnie mentioned, they’re also easy to store!
We offer the lap books that we sell as either kits (the components are printed on sheets of colorful paper, and your children cut them out and assemble them onto the included stiff paper backings according to detailed directions, and then fill them out from their lesson contents) or as digital templates (all components are assembled into easily printed sheets, but you find/choose the colored papers and stiff backing papers). We recommend one kit per student, but the templates will serve all of your students for your whole school career.