Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lapbooking Made Simple Review

We received Lapbooking Made Simple from Real Life Press to review. Lapbooking Made Simple is a comprehensive ebook, available as a PDF digital download, with numerous resources for homeschooling, and also non-homeschooling, families. It's mainly a resource for parents, with advice, suggestions, ideas and templates for lapbooking. You can easily read the ebook on a tablet or laptop, but I highly recommend printing the templates. Lapbooking Made Simple has become part of my Homeschooling Mom Binder, which is full of all of my homeschooling "teacher" resources that I can look to when I need inspiration.

I actually printed off my copy (and I'm seriously kicking myself for not having a color printer because the pictures are amazing), because the weather has been nice and we have been spending most afternoons outside, which is perfect reading at the park weather. It was also where we collected a bunch of samples and pictures for our first lapbook! The pictures actually didn't make it into our lapbook, since we used them as picture references for drawing and coloring.

I have a whole folder on my computer of printables for lapbooks, but I had no idea where to start. I had the supplies, the themed printables, the unit study materials and the curriculum. But I feel like I finally found the element that we were missing. Lapbooking Made Simple answered all the of the questions I had about lapbooking. I always second guess myself when designing, so it was like the perfect resource for me. Ideas, inspiration and templates all in one place! Lapbooks are like those folded poster boards, but smaller and easily portable, without lacking any of the information. They are now the last component to our unit studies, where were can store all the main information we learned, and save it for future unit studies on the same, or similar, topics.

I attended public schools growing up and we actually rarely did projects which involved independent research. Most of our lessons involved copying notes off the board, followed by a test at the end of the week. Rushed much? We had one big project a year that involved a poster board and I remember those most because I had the most fun working on them. I have always learned best by reading books, going to museums and creating hands on crafts, experiments, or projects about the subject we are learning about. And now that I'm homeschooling my own children, I am encouraging them to learn about subjects and topics that interest them. With spring finally being here (rough winter), we are learning about growth, plants and birth. We started with flowers and trees and their life cycle. My daughter, who is obsessed with how everything grows and "is born," loves spring time. 

For our lapbook, we started with one theme: trees. Since lapbooks usually have a cover, Bean made a tree using construction paper. She made sure the tree had roots, branches and leaves. We glued it to the front of the folder (a regular manila folder).

I labeled the tab.

We found printables online that fit our theme. I did most of the cutting, but Bean drew in her answers. For some of the written parts, I typed what she said and printed it, so she glued those answers in. 

And since we collected so many "tree samples" outside, we had to use some of them in our lapbook. She glued the seeds she found inside the seed packet. We actually can't close it flat now, so in future we will just leave things like this in a baggie outside of the lapbook.

This printable was really neat! (And yeah, we did put some of the answers in the wrong spot, since some are upside down.) It asks simple questions are photosynthesis.

You can quiz yourself to see if you answered correctly.

We drew out a life cycle for an oak tree. We consulted google images for all the stages.

Some parts of the folder was left blank, so Bean colored tree circles. (She later added more tree elements, like leaves and roots.)

And that's our first lapbook! We actually planned to add a plant cell drawing and a "tree facts" spinner to the back of the lapbook, but we could not find brass fasteners!

I'm really glad that I had Lapbooking Made Simple to get us started. We learned a lot about lapbooking! This ebook is seriously ideal for first time homeschoolers or anyone who wants to begin lapbooking. The only thing I would change or improve, would be the printables in the extras section. I think that they should make those available as a separate download and separate them from black and white and filled in, and also offer them in different sizes. Then it would be an all-in-one resource and make it so much easier to create our own lapbooking materials! But as it is is still perfectly fine to start with! 

Get your copy of the ebook for $7.95.

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