Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Lapbooking Life

How we got started

We started our homeschooling journey with lapbooking.  I've always enjoyed simple scrapbooking and I noticed that Emily loved to pore over her baby scrapbook.  Lapbooking therefore seemed like an easy way to start working together at home.  In early December, we attended a two-session lapbooking workshop with From Tiny Acorns and off we went!

Beginnings - We're Going on a Bear Hunt!

One of our first lapbooks was based on Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's We're Going on a Bear Hunt.  I didn't think Emily would like the book at first as the repetition patterns - "we can't go over it, we can't go under it..." - seemed terribly boring to me, but she loved the book. 


We made a card game to learn prepositions - under, over and through.  We played memory games to recall the sequence of events in the book - first, the family went through long, wavy grass; followed by a deep cold river; thick oozy mud; a big dark forest; a swirling whirling snowstorm and finally, a narrow, gloomy cave (where the bear is waiting).  And  Emily learned to read some "B" words, like bear, bat, bed, ball, bag, box and bar.  For a Mathematics activity, I had her stick the appropriate number of bears for numbers up to 20 as well as for simple addition equations like 1+2, 5+2 and 3+2. 


It wasn't all work and no play.  We made decorated teddy bear cookies!  Emily loves to bake and she used cookie cutters to stamp out bear-shaped cookies.  She was also very involved in decorating the bears with royal icing, sprinkles and dragees.  I did the tricky outlining work, while Emily handled the flooding work and decorated the bears.  Dragees make for good eyes, noses and pearl necklaces (our bears were posh, what can I say!). 


As a reward for working so hard on the lapbook, we brought Emily to the Build a Bear Workshop to make a teddy bear from scratch. She chose a pink bear and selected the clothes for the bear, whom she named "Sophie".  We made a personalised mini storybook, complete with text and photographs, about the process, and Emily was thrilled to bits with it.  She made us read it to her over and over again. 


Overall, a very successful and fun first attempt!

Why We Lapbook

Lapbooking takes time.  Theme-based learning is well and good, but requires a high degree of preparation, on the part of the teacher, to create a lesson plan and teaching materials. 


But we continue to lapbook because Emily loves the hands-on nature of the learning and I feel it is important for children to have something tangible to show for their homeschooling activities.  Both Emily and I are goal-oriented and we genuinely enjoy working on the activities and putting the lapbook together.  Emily turns to her lapbooks over and over again to review knowledge gained and to remember activities attempted. 

However, the important thing to remember is that it is the learning journey that is important, and not the final product (the lapbook).  The prettiest lapbook is useless if the child did not learn anything in the course of putting it together.  Conversely, if you've enjoyed learning together but the child displays no interest in documenting the process, I honestly wouldn't worry!

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