Getting Started with Homeschool Lapooks {Unschooling Approach}

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Lapbooking is an easy way to present the information your children learn in unschooling. You might be saying to yourself, “I’m not quite sure what a lapbook is.”

Cathy Duffy offers an excellent explanation of lapbooks.

Lap Books offer creative ways for children to record information they are learning and create attractive presentations of that information, as well as use the information to study. A Lap Book is essentially a creatively folded manila file folder with lots of smaller creatively cut and folded pieces of paper that are attached in different ways. This loose definition reflects the realm of creative options that might be used to create lap books.

An example of a lapbook might be one about  Reptiles. You have a pocket or a booklet about the Chameleons, one about Venomous Snakes, one about What to do when Bitten by a Snake, another about Turtles. Whatever you’re interested in learning about reptiles is included in your lapbooks.

getting started with homeschool lapboks - find out how from
photo from A Journey through Learning

Making Lapbooks

You can use poster board or card stock as your lapbook, but we often would use manila folders as the base of our lapbook.  Manila folders make a very nice, sturdy lapbook where you can cut out pockets and pieces to glue on the lapbook.

If your children make many lapbooks, you might color code them by using colored manila folders. For instance, blue is reading/literature, red is history, green is science and so forth.

I’ve also seen several lapbooks done in a single sketch book because the paper is heavier than  regular paper.  As you open up each page, you have a mini-lapbook. You might do this as a modified notebook.  When you are studying art history, let each open page represent an artist.  Add pockets & pieces to insert information about that artist.

You might choose to have one lapbook for each child or you may choose to do one lapbook for the whole family. Do what works best for your family. Your lapbook will record what is learned. Some of the ideas to include in your lapbooks are vocabulary words, concepts being learned, timelines, diagrams, maps,  & lists.

Realize that all your vocabulary words aren’t done in one day. You can have a pocket for vocabulary.  Insert slips of paper with a new vocabulary word each day.  Encourage your child to use that word in conversation each day, as well as his writing each day.

In our Ancient Greece example, each child puts a new word in the pocket everyday for a week. At the end of the week, your child should use all of his new words in a paragraph about Ancient Greece. The best way to learn vocabulary is to use new vocabulary words in conversation and in writing.

With a history lapbook such as Ancient Greece, might have a timeline where you fill out the timeline across the top of your lapbooks.  Include the years of major events in Ancient Greece.  Other pockets in your lapbook may include information about the culture, the food, the slavery, the architecture, the arts.

Lapbooking Supplies

You don’t want to be running around for a half an hour, trying to gather all the supplies you need for lapbooks. Get one of those big Rubbermaids to keep your lapbooking supplies.  Keep it next to you art supply box and your science experiment supply box.

What will you need to make lapbooks?

Obviously you’re going to need scissors and glue – lots of scissors, glue or glue sticks. You’ll also need colored paper, construction paper or card stock. For the base of your lapbook, I suggest manila folders or large art books. From there, make a box with your other supplies:  colored pencils, felt tip markers, and small ready-made booklets of different shapes and sizes.

Envelopes are a great to put in this bucket of supplies. Glue down the side we normally address. On the flap side, you can open it up and insert slips of paper or index cards with the information your child learned.

Keep a Ziploc filled with ribbons, stickers, rubber stamps, glitter, art supplies, & other fun ways to decorate your lapbooks.  A box of giant Ziplocs can be used to keep the entire lapbook as your child works on it. They won’t necessarily have everything glued down everyday. So they place their in-progress lapbook with all the pieces in the Ziploc. Label the Ziploc with each child’s name.  The next day, each child pulls out their lapbook and starts working. Everyday, it all goes back in that child’s Ziploc.

One of my favorite resources for lapbooking is A Journey through Learning.  You can even get a free lapbook to try it out & see if it’s a good fit for your family.  Just click on the image to the left to sign up for your free lapbook.

I’d love to hear how you use lapbooking in your homeschool. Please leave a comment or a photo of one of your lapbooks here.

7 Approaches to Christian Homeschooling ebook |


Unschooling is one of the approaches I discuss in Approaches to Christian Homeschooling. You can grab a paperback copy and $160 bonus items when it launches on Wed, July 15, 2015 on Amazon.  Click here to get it next Wednesday.

If you’d like to be notified about the bonus items, send an email to: kerry email

How do you use homeschool lapbooks ? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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