There is no comparison of lapbooks to digital enhanced content today, but there may be competition. Bring it.
When I started homeschooling, I stuck CDs in the computer and I controlled the digital content that my children were watching. After being introduced to lapbooks, I knew it was a learning tool that could be a contender to digital content.
My affection for lapbooks, however, was not immediate. At first glance, I assumed it was a learning tool that was opposite of what I thought learning should look like. The lapbooks seemed more like a crafty project and waste of our learning time with all the cutting and coloring.
Today, I’m sharing the 3 best and worst things about lapbooks because I want to be sure when you try one, you have less stress.
3 BEST THINGS ABOUT LAPBOOKS
ONE/ If your child wants a whole to pieces look at topics, he’ll love lapbooks.
Information can be arranged in a lapbook to give a child a quick glimpse of a topic. That’s the point. It can be as general or as detailed as you or your child want it to be.
I love details, but when I teach I also can overwhelm my sons. A lapbook allows us to add minibooks or facts to remind my kids of the major teaching points I want them to remember.
TWO/ If your child does better with a mastery based approach, lapbooks allow him freedom to master the material that piques his interest.
Another lure of lapbooks is that if you have an independent learner, he doesn’t always want a lot of direction when his curiosity has been piqued.
Lapbooks incite an uncontrollable urge to research and add more information that your child wants to learn. It gives an independent learner freedom to learn what he wants to.
One of the best things about this step is that he has to learn to organize that material so it fits compactly into a minibook or chart. That is a higher level skill.
That technique has been one of the things I’ve liked most about lapbooks. Our kids amass so much knowledge. But instead of using rote memory to tell it back, they need to learn how to connect it to other topics they know.
Understanding comes from manipulating the information and categorizing it.
Because the books are small, a learner has to manipulate and extract key points. In a setting that seems more fun than work he learns to organize his information.
THREE/ No amount of digital content can rival your child’s own work for a masterpiece that lasts into adulthood.
When my older two sons look back at their learning journey, they haven’t mentioned any learning app, but they do remember the hard work put into their lapbooks.
Not only is it a learning tool that they used for constant review, but it’s a project worth keeping.
3 WORST THINGS ABOUT LAPBOOKS
I almost stopped doing lapbooks because I fail into traps that most new lapbookers do.
ONE/ Lapbooks can turn crafty project if you allow it to overtake your day.
I admit it. I wasn’t all that much into crafts. I’ve come a long way since I first started using lapbooks.
Now, I realize the value of allowing children creative outlets and try to look past the mess.
If you and your kids love crafts this won’t be a negative for you. For me and my sons, we focused too much on the crafty part of the lapbook instead of the research part of it.
I soon learned that minibooks didn’t have to be all designed by the kids. We could use some premade ones.
TWO/ Lapbooks can be expensive because we do like color pictures and clip art.
If you only use black and white pictures and have your children color them all, you can save some money.
But in the process you may create a lapbook hater if you have kids that don’t really like coloring.
Coloring by younger children for the most part is enjoyable, but as they grow, emphasis needs to be on clip art and pictures that inspire a learner to dig into the information.
Cardstock, printers, and colorful clip art costs money. If you have multiple children, it can cost a bit more.
Although it can get costly, I also remember that we will have a tool that lasts almost a lifetime. And lapbooks can have flips and flaps added to it each year as your child grows.
It costs something to have a portfolio for my children’s work other than a bunch of boring stapled worksheets.
Lapbooks have been worth every penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar I spent through the years to have something my children can look back on that they had a hand in creating. What a worthy investment.
THREE/ I’m not a patient person either. I don’t like the prep work.
If coloring is one gripe then right behind that is my gripe for the time it takes to prep the minibooks.
Through the years, I’ve learned a few tips. I don’t have us sit down at one time and do all the minibooks at one time. By doing one or two each day, I can help each child and it doesn’t become too overwhelming to prepare one or two each day.
Also, unless I’m teaching a course in fine motor skills, I’ve learned to cut some of the minibooks on my own time. My kids seemed more impatient than me and having to cut out all the minibooks just seem torture.
Although I still don’t like the prep work, I see the value of having it done before we sit down to work on the lapbook. Emphasis is put on the content instead of cutting.
Now, I will print and cut out some of the minibooks on my time. I kept each of my kids’ books in separate ziploc bags.
By storing each kids’ books in separate ziploc bags each kid can add special things he discovers to his lapbook when he puts it together. One of my sons found a shed snake skin and kept it in his ziploc bag until he put his lapbook together.
Lapbooks are not time wasters but a good use of time. It’s a fun and interactive way for kids to remember information. Whatever digital curriculum comes, it just can’t equal the time each child puts into preparing a lapbook.
A premade book or digital curriculum is no comparison to a handmade interactive tool made by your child.
I have over 30 free lapbooks here on my site organized by time period. You want to give one or two of them a try?
You’ll also like these other articles:
- Free 27 Week American History Study through Lapbooking In Chronological Order
- Beware of the 3 C’s of Lapbooking
Hugs and love ya,