If it were up to me, homeschooling would be about curling up with a book. I guess you could say that's my energy level.In particular, I am not into "crafts" or the "crafty" approach. I'm not very hands on.
In case you are like this too, I wanted to share one of the very few hands-on activities that I think is worthwhile. Maybe it's something you would want to try next year, since we all know that if we get through the rest of this year doing a little math we will be lucky.
I realize this is pretty much my first homeschooling post, so don't go expecting a lot of this kind of thing ever again. We had these out to show a friend and I thought I would take the opportunity to show them to you. It's all out of order, in terms of what I want to say about homeschooling, but since they're out, I am posting now. Don't get too excited; most of the time I won't have such nifty stuff.
You know poster projects? Do you hate them? I really hate them. Not only are they annoying, but when they are done -- and this is where the true white-hot hatred comes in-- where do you store them?
Lapbooks are far superior. They are an easy way to do a unit study (not that I like unit studies either. You will find that I'm a very impatient homeschooling mom who thinks you should read a book).
With a lapbook you can pull together several aspects of study into one place, but in a meaningful way that is actually very enjoyable.
At this very moment Bridget is poring over the lapbooks she made four years ago!I wish I had found out about this long ago. I know that my older children would have loved doing this, but I am not imaginative enough to think of it on my own. (My thing is to give someone else's idea a few tweaks :)
And above all, being 8 1/2 x 11 in size, these projects are easy to store! In fact, they store other work! They aren't so much a project in themselves as a way to collect other projects together.If you google lapbooks or lap books or shutter books you will find a lot of pictures and information. I would like to share my own little twist that I think makes it a bit less stressful and more colorful to work this way.
Instead of using plain file folders, as most recommend, try using pocket folders.
Aim to do one lapbook per quarter, especially with young children who tire easily and lose interest. A nice one to start with is Thanksgiving! Now, with lapbooks, you sort of work backwards. You don't get out your pocket folder and start decorating it.
No, you start by doing your usual schoolwork, with a theme. First, read some interesting (preferably old) book about the subject. Maybe the child writes a little report on it or draws a picture. That gets tucked into the folder.
Next, maybe the child looks up where England is on the world map, and also Holland.A map can be colored and tucked into the folder.
Another day, the proclamation of Thanksgiving could be read out loud, then copied. Again, tucked into the folder.
I'm sure your mind is sparked with all sorts of ideas for studying Thanksgiving. The main categories would be geography, history, penmanship, and reading, of course. You could turn from one subject to the other, keeping your orderly day, but still be working on one overall theme.
Each of the assignments can be thought out on a somewhat small scale and tucked away. You could certainly include information about the American Indians for this one, which would be very colorful. I think we ran out of time, ourselves.
Then, when enough has been collected, these items can be pasted or tucked inside the the folder, the edges of which have been folded to the center to make what's also called a shutter book.It's fun to go through the button box and find some buttons to form a closure with some string.
When Bridget made these, she was 7 and 8 years old.
For geography and reading we were doing the much-loved Twins books. Have you heard of them? They are wonderful -- read about Lucy Fitch Perkins and her Twins books here.
Each book features a different boy and girl who are twins and have adventures in their respective country and culture and time period.
I acquired most of these books from my mother-in-law, who kept every school book she ever had, and since she went to school in Boston in the 20s and 30s, they are all treasures for the homeschooler.Later, I found a couple at thrift stores, but for the most part, these books were just on our shelves, to be enjoyed by any child with an interest. And they all really loved them -- and loved hearing the Chief rave about his favorite, The American Twins of the Revolution.
Now, if you decide to read, say, the Scotch Twins, you could find out about St. Andrew and make his cross.You could tell about the story (very different from telling the story, and very important to learn).You could write your own little book:You could decorate the front with some coloring and a couple of plaid buttons.And years later you would still enjoy looking over what you did! In fact, Bridget is having so much fun revisiting these projects that she is thinking about making new ones. It's not so hard to see how any age level could enjoy making these with as much or as little sophistication as appropriate.Since we only have four of these lapbooks, I'm going to go ahead and show you the last ones!For The Japanese Twins, you could do some origami one day, haiku another. You could learn about St. Francis, who converted the Japanese.A very young child might not be ready for the decorating part, and that's okay.But as he's learning to read, he can draw pictures to go with the text.......make his own book to paste inside......and put individual words (to rhyme, to spell, or to learn the meaning of) into little envelopes that are pasted on the pockets.Copying the beginning of the 23rd Psalm is a great start to learning it by heart. In fact, a lapbook is a great way to take the seeming pointlessness out of copying and penmanship, since now you will have a way to display it!When you are done, for the love of all that will make you pat yourself on the back later on, write the child's name and the date on the back! Then put in any normal container -- it will fit with notebooks and binders, hooray!