Lapbooking: A How-To Guide, by Cheryl

 

If you have followed my Biome study posts, you may have looked at the lapbook pages.  (If not click HERE to see them.) I used to look at lapbooks other people made and be overwhelmed at the thought of making my own. Instead, I downloaded free or inexpensive pre-made lapbooks. Eventually, I gained the confidence to start from scratch and discovered that it was not as difficult as I had once thought.

What is a lapbook?

A lapbook is a scrapbook of things you and your kids have learned. It can be anything. Most lapbooks are made up of “mini book” pieces, each piece covering a different concept or idea. You then glue the mini books into a file folder, onto card stock in a binder, or into a spiral notebook.

The idea is that you teach something, your kids make the mini books, then look at them again as they continue adding to the larger book. It gets them involved with the information three or more times. The more times they see the information, the better they remember it. Lapbooks are a great way to get things into their long-term memory. Plus, if you are in a state that requires a portfolio, they make a fun addition to the record of your school year.

Where Can I Get Premade Lapbooks?

Two of my favorite sites for finding these lapbooks are:

Homeschool Share – lots of free lapbooks on all subjects, and free templates for making your own book.

Currclick – lapbooks to purchase, including Knowledge Box lapbooks. I love the quality of Knowledge Box lapbooks, but the price prohibits me from purchasing many; I have caught a few that I really wanted when they were on sale at Currclick.

Some of the premade lapbooks give all of the information you need to teach a full unit study (I have purchased this Oklahoma State History study from Knowledge Box), some are made to follow a certain book (like this lapbook for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), and sometimes they require research to fill in the blanks (this Frog lapbook is cute and fun, but it will require some research). Often, the book we found did not have all the information the lapbook wanted. I wanted lapbooks to go with what we were learning and the books we used. I just did not know where to start.

I made my first lapbook for Lilly when she was 3. Aidan was studying The Story of the World Volume 1 for history, and we were making an amazing lapbook I found online (you can download it here.) Lilly wanted to make a book. She was studying a letter a week. On Friday when Aidan did his history lapbook page, we made a letter page for hers as well. I went to Homeschool Share and picked a template, printed it and while Lilly colored on it, I found clip art pictures in Microsoft Office. We printed pictures of objects beginning with our letter for that week’s and put them in the template. Easy! I can do this!

photo-21

When I started with my Map Skills lap book, I knew I needed something different. I had 12 students and I did not want multiple pages to hand out to each child. I needed each minibook on one sheet of paper. I had to design it all for that to work. It was about this time that I discovered Google Docs and all it could do. The drawing tool became my best friend!

I knew enough about basic mini-book parts to start with a few interesting pieces. Below are a few “how to” images for my favorites. (Click on the picture to see a larger image, or on the name of the piece for a downloadable version.)

Pocket:

pocket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wheel:

wheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Dog Book:

hot-dog-book

Flap Books and Fold-in Books:

flap-book-and-fold-in-book

For pictures and diagrams you can draw in Paint, search the web for a picture that serves your purpose, have the kids search through magazines, or have your kids draw a picture! The idea is to reinforce what you are studying. Do whatever will help cement things into your kids’ heads.

Get creative and make your own types of mini-books. You can do anything! Start by looking at what other people have created, or the templates on Homeschool Share, and then start making your own designs.

Now, if you really like things neat and you want your hard work to look pretty – make your own lapbook! Again, if you have looked at the Biome posts, you see the neat and pretty books. Here is a big secret: I put that together, my kids’ books look nothing like that! Below you see two versions of the same book (our Map Skills Lapbook):

dscf7728dscf7738

 

My son’s looks nothing like my vision for the book. That is okay! He still learned, he had fun, and we have a record of what was learned.

If the thought of designing a lapbook still overwhelms you, make your kids do it. Print a few blank templates, hand one to your child, tell him/her what information you want to see, and let them be creative!

 

Cheryl–Ccherylheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

Advertisements

Curriculum Review: Primary and Intermediate Language Lessons Workbooks by Cynthia Albright

Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons were books written in the 1900s by Emma Serl to teach English language skills, and are often used by Charlotte Mason style homeschoolers.

The reviewers at Sandbox to Socrates have had the opportunity to use Primary Language Lessons and Intermediate Language Lessons workbooks created from these original texts. These workbooks have updated language, and an easier-to-use format than the original books.

See what our reviewers had to say!

Caitilin – “I have been familiar with and a big fan of Intermediate Language Lessons for at least five years. Imagine my pleasure upon receiving this new workbook…” click here for full review.

Tammy – “My sixth-grade son had just finished two semesters of rigorous writing and grammar study, but I didn’t want him to lose the knowledge…” click here for full review.

Briana – “My children are wonderful writers, and I fully give credit to Emma Serl’s books…” click here for full review.

Emma – “We had already been using the original book, so the material wasn’t new to us, but I have loved having the glossary, vocabulary section, teacher helps, resource list and updated lessons…” click here for full review.

Amy D“I have been intrigued by Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons for quite some time. Originally published in 1911, Primary Language Lessons incorporates poetry, memorization, narration, dictation, grammar, composition, and picture study…” click here for full review.

Amy R – “I love Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl. I used it with my older children so I know how gentle, thorough, and effective this book can be…” click here for full review.

Review: Primary Language Lessons, Part 2, by Amy D.

 

I have been intrigued by Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons for quite some time. Originally published in 1911, Primary Language Lessons incorporates poetry, memorization, narration, dictation, grammar, composition, and picture study. It seemed like a gentle approach to teaching the language arts. As I started looking into the Charlotte Mason approach to teaching, I felt even more compelled to try it.

So, imagine my delight when I was offered the opportunity to try Primary Language Lessons in a workbook format! Cynthia Albright has taken this already wonderful resource and made it even more accessible by creating a product that the homeschool parent can easily print and allow the child to work with. I was able to review Primary Language Lessons Part 2, which is intended for a third grade student. My daughter, a nine-year-old third grader, was a willing participant.

The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to download the product. Just a few simple clicks, and I was well on my way. The second thing I noticed, and that definitely appealed to me, was how economical the product is. At $8.95 for the download, this product should fit most budgets. Considering that the $8.95 buys a full year’s worth of lessons in both grammar and composition, it certainly seems like a great value.

For those of you that have looked at the original Primary Language Lessons, I think you’ll be pleased with how Cynthia has updated the lessons while still maintaining the charm and the Charlotte Mason approach. What her download has, that is missing in the original book, are a glossary, vocabulary, teacher helps, a resource list, lines for the student to write on, dictation sheets, and some general updates in terminology and in the letter writing lessons.  For example, some postal abbreviations have changed since the original book was published. These updates alone are well worth the money, in my opinion.

When I first pulled the lessons out to share with my daughter, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The very first lesson was a narration exercise, and I knew from experience that these could be frustrating for her. We read the piece on the silkworm and then I gave her the picture to look at.

screen-shot-2014-04-25-at-10-45-39-pm1

She was immediately interested in the pictures representing the different stages in the process of making silk, from the silkworm eggs all the way to the woven cloth. She willingly gave a narration that drew from both the story and the picture, and I was more than pleased with the nature lesson that was woven into our language arts that day!

As we continued on through the next several weeks, I was always happy with how the lessons managed to incorporate several things into one exercise. For example, a lesson on prepositions also provided a chance for copywork. Another lesson teaching the proper format for writing a friendly letter also gave my daughter the chance to practice some creative writing skills. All of the lessons were thorough, yet short enough to not make my daughter resent the experience.

I would certainly recommend this to anyone with a young elementary student in need of a grammar and writing program. It is a gentle approach, yet very thorough. Since we have already spent the year covering grammar before beginning this review, my daughter probably could have handled the next level, but she certainly wasn’t bored with the material. Although she had already encountered the concepts that were being taught, they were presented in the unique style that is a characteristic of a Charlotte Mason education, and that kept it fun and engaging for her. I plan to continue using this for the remainder of the year and look forward to purchasing the next level for our next school year.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog.  Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog.  I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Amy was born in North Carolina, where she lives with her wonderful hubby and their 4 children. The family lives in a charming, old home (money pit) built in 1930, with their cats, dog, and goat. Amy consumes large amounts of coffee, pins far too many pins on Pinterest, and enjoys lesson planning (surfing the web) a little too much. She and her husband are passing down their love of music and books to their children, and in fact, may be homeschooling to legitimize their addiction to books… Although her life didn’t turn out one bit like she had planned as a teen (Paul McCartney was already married…), Amy wouldn’t change a thing, and cherishes every moment spent with her family. 

 

Review: Intermediate Language Lessons Level One/Grade 4, by Caitilin Fiona

 

I have been familiar with and a big fan of Intermediate Language Lessons for at least five years. Imagine my pleasure upon receiving this new workbook format of the same material!

ill

Cynthia Albright has done an excellent job of reformatting a beautiful vintage work into a beautiful modern one. She has kept all of the original ease of use — lessons written to the student, seemingly simple assignments that deepen the child’s understanding of English — with the addition of modern formatting into a workbook, and small corrections in things like the forms of street addresses which have naturally changed since the original was published.

In addition, the lessons focus on beautiful things: those of nature, giving attention to topics like birds, plants, and the natural world generally; and those of humanity, giving the student examples of pretty pictures for picture study, and poems to be familiar with or memorized.

I will be honest that in some places, the old-fashioned prettiness can become overwhelming, especially in the picture study pages; but this can be remedied either by choosing an alternate picture for the child to study, or by skipping those assignments. I have done both.

My children like the ease with which they can both understand the lessons, and use the workbook format that allows them to keep all their grammar and English work in one neat place. The only way that this could be improved, in my view, is by having the option to purchase a bound version of the workbook; in our family we have a tendency to lose loose leaf pages, no matter how carefully filed in binders.

In short, this new updated workbook format of Intermediate Language Lessons is a winner, requiring little to no parent prep, yet providing a solid and manageable level of work from the students at a very affordable price of $8.95. I am pleased to give it my warmest recommendation.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

 

Caitilincaitlin_fiona Fiona–Caitilin is the mother of six children, ranging from high school down to early elementary, all of whom she has homeschooled from the beginning. Her particular interests in the homeschool universe include teaching Latin, Shakespeare, and Great Books. Outside of homeschooling, her interests include languages, literature, theology, cookery and nutrition, movies, and fooling around, er, researching on the Internet.

Review: Primary Language Lessons, by Emma

I was given the opportunity to review Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons Part 1, which is recommended for children in the second grade. We had already been using the original book, so the material wasn’t new to us, but I have loved having the glossary, vocabulary section, teacher helps, resource list and updated lessons in such a handy format. Plus, there was no need for an additional notebook, as the pages were already beautifully designed and included lines for writing. The download was a snap — just click and go. The price can’t be beat as it is well worth the $8.95.

As I said, we had been using the book before being given the chance to review the workbook. I loved that this one little book included picture study, nature study, poetry, grammar, origin, composition, letter writing and more. My son loved reading the passages and writing about them. Both my son and my younger daughter enjoyed the lovely photos and took part in the picture study activities.

img_0559

During the lessons, he learned how to address an envelope and write a letter. He memorized a poem and practiced his comprehensions skills. He also learned when to capitalize in a name and spent time researching farming practices. The sweet Charlotte Mason approach is both thorough and gentle. The lessons are short and enjoyable, yet they cover quite a bit of material.

I would certainly recommend this curriculum to anyone who is looking for a thorough elementary Language Arts program. It is both Charlotte Mason and classical in approach and I feel most children would benefit from the lovely photos and beautiful language of the book. The workbook format makes it that much easier to use.

I will use this again when my youngest is in second grade, and I plan to purchase Part 2 for my oldest once we have finished Part 1.

Disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

 

EmmaemmaEmma has been married for seven years, and is mom of two, plus one once-crazy dog. She’s been homeschooling for three years now in NC. In addition to being a wife, mom and educator, she is also a Graphic Designer.

Map Skills, by Cheryl

 

In middle school and high school I had an amazing science teacher. She is one of a few teachers who have had a lifelong impact on my life and the way I teach my children. (The others being my high school drama teacher, a math teacher, an English teacher, and my dance teacher.) This science teacher led a summer class in which she took us to the Wichita Mountains several times during the week. We hiked, we camped, we cooked out, we learned about the plants and wildlife, and had a blast! The skills that I took away from her summer class (and the orienteering course she taught us as a part of 8th grade science) were the ability to read maps of all kinds, and the use of a compass!

I want my kids to have these skills. Instead of teaching at home, I put together a ten-week course for the 7-9 year olds at our co-op. The following is an outline of the course as I taught it. For six weeks we put together a lapbook to help the kids remember what they had learned. Click the links to see the pieces.

Week 1: Types of Maps

Supplies: Box of maps, globe, history or economics book (for informational maps), scissors, tape/glue, folders, lapbook pieces.

Plan: Look at different maps. What are they for? How are they used? When would you use them? Look at the globe, find the North and South Poles and the Equator, and point out lines of latitude and longitude. Learn to use map coordinates. Look at an atlas. Find cities on a map. Give directions from a map. Make lapbook pieces.

Lapbook Pieces: Cover and Types of Maps

Week 2: Using Keys and Legends

Supplies: Box of maps, globe, history book (for informational maps), scissors, tape/glue, folders, lapbook pieces.

Plan: What does a legend tell you? Identify points of interest from the legend. Learn how to use a map scale.

dscf7727

Week 3: Compass

Supplies: Cork, magnet, paperclips, pans for water, red sharpie, real compass(es), maps, lap books and pieces.

Plan: What is a compass? Find compass points on map. Use a compass to find north. Make a compass.

Lapbook Pieces: Compass, Pocket, and Activity Sheet

dscf7732

Week 4: Early Navigation and Explorers

Supplies: Books on Marco Polo, Magellan, Balboa, Livingston; lap books and pieces; straws, plastic cups, thumb tacks, pencils, construction paper

Plan: Study early navigation tools (land and sea), hints in nature ( sun, stars, etc.), famous explorers.

Lapbook Pieces: Constellations, Early Navigation, and Famous Explorers

dscf7731

Week 5: Latitude and Longitude

Supplies: Globe, lapbook pieces and books, protractors, straws, string, paperclips

Plan: What are latitude and longitude? Find important lines on a map and a globe. Make an astrolabe.

Lapbook Pieces: Astrolabe, Lat and Long, World Map

dscf7735

Week 6: Sundials

Supplies: stick, paper, pencils

Plan: How can a sundial help navigators? Make a sundial outside and check it at least twice.

Lapbook Pieces: Sundial, Finding North

Week 7: What is Scale?

Supplies: yard stick, ruler, measuring tape, graph paper

Plan: Measure student paces (steps). Pace off the length of the room. Calculate actual size based on steps. Use a yard stick, ruler, or measuring tape to measure and map the entire room to scale.

Activity: Map the room and all furniture in it.

Week 8: Map the Building

Supplies: measuring tape, graph paper

Plan: Break into groups and measure the interior of the building, work together to create a full map of the building.

Activity: Create a map of the building to use for treasure hunts later. (We were doing this section of the class in November. Had it been spring and warm, we would have mapped the outside of the building for the treasure hunt.)

Week 9: Following Maps

Supplies: coffee, white paper, bowls, cookie sheets, hair dryers

Plan: Talk about using the compass and landmarks to orient yourself with a map and make pirate maps.

Activity: Make a Pirate Map! Tear the edges of the paper and crumple it up to look old. Soak the paper in coffee. Carefully remove paper and lay it flat on the cookie sheet. Use the hair dryers to dry the paper more quickly. Draw a pirate map. Include all elements of a good map – legend/key, compass points, and scale. (With younger students, you can soak and dry the paper before class, then let them draw their maps.)

Week 10: Treasure Hunt

Supplies: 2 maps, 2 treasure chests, 2 sets of clues

Plan: Follow the map, collect the clues, and find the treasure!

I over planned a little bit for our group. Cutting and pasting did not go as quickly as I had planned, and the couple of things that needed to be handwritten really slowed us down. We ended up cutting out some of the explorers section to make up for time. Once I finished making the lapbook, this class was easy to teach! Most of what we did came from my memory of what I learned in middle school and my hands on experience with maps in high school at various summer camps. Here are a couple of books that would be helpful for someone not as experienced with maps and navigation:

Tools of Navigation by Rachel Dickinson- This is a great introduction for kids. I found some fun activities in it. It also prompted me to add a day of history into our study (the day on Navigators). I just wish we had had more time that day!

Be Expert with Map and Compass by  Bjorn Kjellstrom – This looks like another good resource for brushing up on some skills. I do not have this book, but it was on my short list as I was making purchases.

Orienteering Made Simple And Instructional Handbook by Nancy Kelly – I picked this up to help brush up on my orienteering skills. I did not do as much orienteering as I had originally wanted, but we did the basics. This gave me a good reminder of what all orienteering entailed.

Teaching Orienteering, Second Edition by Carol McNeill – This helped me decide what skills would be best to teach the group I had. The book breaks the skills up into age levels.

With the availability of GPS navigators in cars and on phones, kids don’t see the need to learn to read an actual map. I do believe it is still a valuable skill. I hope this plan makes it a less daunting task for some who have not had the training I was given.

 

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taughtcheryl ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

"Write From Ancient History" Level 1: Review

Megan and Caitilin each received a review copy of Write from History; Megan a Level 1 copy, and Caitilin a Level 2.

Megan says:

“Anyone who knows me knows that I am in love with the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. I try to apply it to my own homeschool as much and as often as I can, so I was excited to review a product that both followed her methods and incorporated two subjects into one. I always appreciate programs that make my life easier.

I used the Write From Ancient History Level 1 manuscript models. We used the digital format, which retails for $22.95. Each lesson has a story for the child to listen to or read, a page where you can write your child’s narration of the story, and three copywork sections. There are also instructions on how to use these lessons to incorporate grammar.

At eight years old, my son often balks whenever he has to write copywork sentences. This was not the case when we used the Write From History program. When we first started, there were a couple of times when he didn’t want to copy longer passages. When I told him he didn’t have to write the entire passage, he cooperated much better. By the end of the review, he was willing and able to copy the entire passage.

He really seemed to enjoy the stories we read.  I was surprised at how well he did with narrations. I told him that he needed to pay attention and he’d have to tell the story back to me at the end. Then at the end, I’d ask him to tell me what happened in the beginning, middle, and end of the story. And as he narrated, all I’d do is ask, “Then what?” and he would keep going. This is the first time he’s narrated such long passages with such accurate detail.

We aren’t really studying much history at the moment, but I think it would be very easy to coordinate Write From History with your regular history spine. Since we aren’t using a history spine, I would just talk a little about the history and try to explain any questions he had.

Some things that I would have preferred:

–Online samples of what a lesson looks like. I would have a very hard time not being able to see samples before I bought a program.

–More stories and less copywork. The level we used had one passage for narration and three copywork sections. One of those sections is a passage that is meant to be copied twice. I think I would have preferred the reading to be divided into two days and two days of copywork. Also, one of the chapters is Aesop’s Fables. While I love Aesop’s Fables more than anyone, I would have preferred more history stories instead of the fables.

–A clearer schedule. While I understand that this program is meant to be flexible according to each student’s needs, the sample schedule was very confusing to me. It lists parts of two lessons for one week. I wasn’t sure why they would suggest using two lessons instead of one or why there would be so many copywork sections if they weren’t all needed. In the end, I chose to do one lesson per week. I did the narrations one day, plus three days of copywork. I did simple grammar lessons with our copywork.

All in all, I would recommend this program as a history supplement.”

Caitilin says:

“Overall, I enjoyed the program, which used as its base Famous Men of the Middle Ages. The materials were engaging, and the writing selections were well-chosen. I used it as a temporary hiatus from our chosen program, also based on Famous Men, so we were able to pick right up in the middle of the program. For our family, Write from History was not as good a fit as our original program, due to the style of the writing assignments. We prefer less copywork or dictation but more essay or comprehension questions in our history work. That said, I would heartily recommend it to a family whose children need extra practice in writing and don’t want to add another subject into their weekly routine.”

If you would like a chance to win an e-book copy of Write from History, enter our giveaway!

Disclaimer:  We received a free copy of this product in exchange for our honest reviews on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of ourselves or our families and do not necessarily reflect those of the From Sandbox to Socrates blog. We received no compensation for this review, nor were we required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Megan–Megan is mom to three children: Pigby (boy, age 7), Digby (boy, age 4), and Chuck megan(girl, age 2).  She loves history, ballroom dance, and crocheting.  She made the decision to homeschool when her oldest was three and they’ve been on this journey ever since.