Monday, September 28, 2009

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks

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When my girls were very young, 8 years ago, I learned about lapbooks at a homeschooling conference.  I bought a book that taught me how to make the mini-books, and went home to begin making lapbooks with my daughters.  We made 4 lapbooks to go along with our Five In A Row unit studies, and my creativity ran out.  The girls weren't old enough to do any of the work themselves, so I was thinking of the mini-books, creating the mini-books, and filling them in for the girls.  All they did was color them for me. 

Thus ended our lapbooking life until I found a free Christmas lapbook online two years ago, which we created as part of our holiday schooling.  That was my first introduction to prepared lapbooks.  We've since created a few of the prepared lapbooks, and I appreciate that I don't have to come up with all the ideas myself --  I just have to follow the instructions.  Of course, I also appreciate that my kids are now old enough to do more of the work themselves.

Click to view lapbook

We usually rush our way through lapbooks, completing them in a week or two.  We can't do that with the Desert Lapbook we received from A Journey Through Learning.   It is so full of information that we are taking it much more slowly.  I love how it is set up with a page of information, followed by the corresponding booklets, and then another page of information, etc.  It's easy to grab just what you need for that day's lesson.  You can cover 1 page of information, two pages, or more -- depending on your children's abilities, attention span, and interest.  My children prefer to only do 1 or 2 pages at a time.

Paula and Nancy have created lapbooks for a variety of subjects:  history, science, seasonal, Bible, and literature.  There are lapbooks for students in preschool, up through 9th grade.  Most of these come with a study guide, so you don't need to gather additional information unless you want to.  While the Desert Lapbook has all the information we need to study the desert, it is much more enjoyable when paired with colorful, interesting books about the desert  When taken as-is, the lapbook information is somewhat dry. 

My kids have been enjoying their Desert lapbook since we recently visited the desert. The Desert lapbook is designed for grades 2 through 7, and I am using it with my 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade students.   We've chosen to take this one more slowly, completing 1-2 sections per day, about 3 times a week (in addition to their regular science lessons).  Although lapbooks are not our usual method of learning, we occasionally use them for a change of pace.   My children love to review their old lapbooks, as well as share them with others.

We have been using this lapbook as a group, but it could also be given to an older student, with the supplies and a list of corresponding books to read.  My 5th and 7th grader could have completed it on their own.  The instructions are very clear, and we had no problems completing any of the mini-booklets.

My 7th grader reading sections to younger siblings

5th grader reading more information aloud while 3rd grader colors title page

Searching for desert plants and animals to place on our title page

Still in the process of completing our Desert lapbook

And now, let's talk about the details.  When you purchase a lapbook from A Journey Through Learning, you choose between the instant download, the CD-ROM version, or the printed version.  With the instant download or CD-ROM version, you'll need to print the lapbook components yourself.  We usually just print the entire lapbook onto white paper, and then color in our mini-booklets after they're completed.  It's more time-consuming and costly if you print the booklets onto colored cardstock, but it makes a nicer lapbook.  This requires taking the time to print sets of pages differently. 

Once you have printed your lapbook, or received your printed version, you'll need 3 file folders to place the booklets in.  These will be glued together to create one large lapbook.  You can see an example of a completed lapbook on this page at A Journey Through Learning's website.  You will also need glue, scotch tape, possibly clear packing tape to reinforce your lapbook, stapler with staples, and probably some brass paper fasteners.  This list will vary with each lapbook, but most lapbooks require these basic supplies.

Lapbook prices vary according to the size of the lapbook, and the version you choose.  For instance, the Desert Lapbook is available  in three formats:

  • as an instant download for $13.00

  • on CD-ROM for $14.00

  • in a printed format for $21.00.  

However, the Shakespeare lapbook starts at just $10.00 for the download, and the printed version costs only $17.00.  While it is tempting to purchase the printed lapbooks to save paper and printer ink, then you miss out on the ability to re-use the lapbook at a later time.  With the electronic version, you are able to re-print the lapbook at a later time.  (Pages may be copied or re-printed for other members of your family only.)

Our family gives a to A Journey Through Learning lapbooks.  We're looking forward to completing the Autumn lapbook next.

Click the TOS Homeschool Crew banner at the top to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting in Him,


  1. Did you print it all in black and white then let the kids color it?

  2. Yes, that is how we usually do lapbooks. We print in black and white (because that is what my printer is) and then we color them in with colored pencil.



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