All of this time, I thought that the boys would not take to doing lapbooks. In the past, when we had tried similar things (they were much younger), they didn’t want to do this kind of thing. Looking back, I think what must have been the issue with the History Pockets from Evan-Moor were 2 things:
- Coloring – they DO NOT like to color!
- Most of it was to color, cut, and paste with no involvement with the information contained in the activities. The ones that did require writing, they didn’t like to do when it required writing by hand! Paradoxically, if there was no writing, they were just cutting it out and gluing it in – what’s to say they actually read it much less understand it?
While searching for a better way to proceed through our American Revolution Unit Study, I found kits from In the Hands of a Child that offer “Type It In” technology so that the boys can type in their descriptions, stories, etc. BEFORE printing them out. Since they are older, they know how to change the color paper in the printer and get things to print the way they want to on their own, so it has become a much more feasible project for them. And I like that they still have to “respond” to the information they are reading in a way that helps them assimilate the information.
Here are pictures of their American Revolution lapbooks. The blue one is Dragon Rider’s and the red one is Alex Rider’s. They still don’t always care how the things are put in the folder, hence the rotated items, but at least they did it!
Last week, we started our volcanoes unit study using another lapbook (we now alternate between history and science units – it’s easier on all of us to manage on a daily/weekly basis.) Now that I know they kind of like doing these activities, I bought plastic pouches for them to store their cutouts (foldables) in during the unit. This is so they can wait until the end to decide on the layout of the folders/cutouts and make sure there is room for everything before gluing it all together. I also bought some new folders since we were down to about 2 left unused from my file cabinet.
Since I didn’t suddenly start one of these in the middle of the unit this time (like happened in the American Revolution unit), I was able to plan things out better so I think they will enjoy it even more. Basically, I used the lapbook kit as an outline and structured a 4-week study around it. I gathered a selection of books, both non-fiction and fiction, for volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. I kept the reading level of the books somewhat easy, but insured that they cover the necessary topics of volcanoes. I spread them out over a 4-week period, including 1 or 2 that I have/will read in the evenings. I reduced the numbers of cutouts from 3/day to 2/day (feedback I received from the boys seemed that 3/day was too much for them and often didn’t get completed) and only have them doing them 3 days/week. On the 4th day (Wednesday), I have them viewing various videos, most of them fairly short (~25 minutes each.) The 5th day (Friday), they now do a mini-report (50+ word paragraph) on a topic chosen from the books from that week. Then I thought that for fun at the end of the unit, I would have a family movie night and watch Dante’s Peak with Pierce Brosnan!
On Wednesdays, our “lite” day of the week when they only have a short movie to watch for this unit study, they also are doing a live online web class with Science Jim. We tried one of these in January and they really liked him, so we signed up for another 2 classes! January’s class was The Physics of Flight. On Wednesdays, they will be doing Electrifying Electricity (4 weeks) and on Tuesdays they will be doing The Physics of Energy (9 weeks.) Since these don’t require a lot from them other than attendance, they are not a huge burden on their schedule. Science Jim sends us eBooks with the lessons and the materials lists so that we can replicate most of the demonstrations that he does in class if we so desire.
Maybe sharing this will give others ideas for their homeschool!