As a home schooling parent I had heard the name Heidi St. John before but I wasn’t familiar with her or her materials. I’ve heard of lapbooking. I’ve even done some lapbooking with the girls though we never completed a lapbook “from scratch.” Supergirl loves lapbooking so I asked to review Lapbooking Made Simple by Heidi St. John and published by Real Life Press.
At first, as I skimmed through this short eBook, I found myself thinking, yeah, yeah I know all that already. It’s not like we haven’t created lapbooks before, but in the past I had always purchased a pre-planned lapbook. When I slowed down to really read this little gem, I realized that I really could use help in creating our own lapbooks based on our current studies or interests.
This fifty-four page digital resource includes a preface, six chapters and an extras section where readers will find lapbook photos and mini-book templates. The chapters cover:
- What Is Lapbooking
- Unit Studies and Lapbooking
- Getting Started
- Lapbooking Elements
- Lapbooking Versus Notebooking
- Your First Lapbook Step by Step
Sprinkled throughout the book are orange colored squares and rectangles with tips and suggestions. One of my favorites is found on page twelve in chapter three: Top Five Lapbooking Tips. She and I think alike because she suggested to keep completed mini-books in a zippered bag to keep safe until you put the lapbook together. We currently have a zippered bag going with the mini-books we are creating for our Knights and Nobles unit study for history.
In my mind lapbooking has always been something that goes along with history or maybe science. All of the pre-planned packaged lapbooks we’ve used have tended towards, literature, history or science. When I read Chapter One, it’s like a light bulb went off in my head. Supergirl has some gaps in math and we’ve been working to close those gaps. She is learning some vocabulary for elementary geometry. I realized that creating a lapbook would help solidify those definitions and give her more practice with cutting and pasting.
In Chapter Three Ms. St. John details out five steps to getting started. Step number four “Write out Ideas” has been my hang up in the past. With pre-planned or pre-packaged lapbooks, I don’t have to come up with the ideas of what to include. Ms. St. John writes that she and her family like to write ideas down on a white board. She also gave a sample of suggestions for a specific topic. When I broadened my thinking to include math concepts as a topic, I was able to brainstorm ideas for mini-books with Supergirl.
Now that she knows we are going to be making more lapbooks, Supergirl is starting to come to me with ideas for lapbooks and mini-books. My preferred method for tracking these ideas is to use a free note app that syncs with my phone, Kindle, and PC. I can then have the Kindle or Phone at the table so I can reference the idea list when we are making mini-books or planning a lapbook.
My favorite part of the book is on page six. She lays out the Golden Rule of Lapbooking “Your lapbook belongs to your child. Don’t take over and do it for him.” This has given me permission and freedom to let go of my perfectionist tendencies. While working on our Geometry notebook, I found myself saying “it’s your lapbook. You can put that anywhere you want.” I did help her by being her scribe and I did any cutting or trimming she needed but in essence it is Supergirl’s lapbook and she knows it.
One last thing that I am taking away from this eBook is the idea that lapbooking isn’t just for younger students. My 17 year old high school student, Turtlegirl said “I loved lapbooking when I was younger.” I told her that she could still do lapbooks so she has decided that she will be creating a lapbook for her nutrition studies. It may end up being more of a hybrid cross between notebooking and lapbooking like described in chapter five but it will be her creation.
This short simple eBook is a great overview and introduction to lapbooks and lapbooking. If you are new to homeschooling or new to lapbooking this book can get you started quickly. If you are like me and have some experience with lapbooking, mostly using the pre-bought kind with the templates and guides, this guide can take you to the next level and help you get started making lapbooks from scratch.
- The Vendor: Real Life Press
- The Product: Lapbooking Made Simple
- The Author: Heidi St. John
- Format: Digital (PDF)
- Price: $7.95
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