Friday, July 9, 2010

Mini Lapbooks

For the next couple of weeks we're off of an official school schedule. We're taking time to regroup after our nice long Revolutionary War unit. During this time we spend a few days just lazing around and follow that up with crafts, planning, and park trips.

I decided to try something different this time and make the boys each a mini lapbook or two. Jayden pipped up that he'd love to learn about trains next. Now honestly, I'm just not feeling a train unit in our future. Mostly, because this kid knows more about trains then most of us. He's been obsessed with trains since he could utter the word. The day we moved in near a train track he was in seventh heaven; the day we moved away from it Mr Scarecrow slept a full night without complaining about "that stinking train" even once!

The point is, Jayden loves trains and that's just part of who he is, but a train unit study? I so wasn't feeling it. Yet, I didn't want to squash the desire to pick something for us to learn about. Enter the mini lapbook idea.

I filled up his workbasket (they now have one basket vs several workboxes due to a space constraint) with all the Thomas books I could find on our bookshelf. The basket is quite full. I also remembered that we had a wonderful little train book in the home library about The Age Of Steam. So I pulled that one out too. Then I set to work on his lapbook.

This lapbook is a combination of things. I started out with the Mini Train Lapbook from Currclick. It was, however a bit preschoolish for my 7 year old. I pulled out the pieces that were good for us and left the rest. Then I went over to Homeschool Share and picked through their fun Train Lapbook pieces. I also snagged the free Thomas book from here.

The dot-to-dots were something I found via a quick google search. Jayden loves dot-to-dots. One is ABC related the other is numeral. Those colored trains you see sticking out of the red paper are actually long tabs you can pull out. They have math facts on them. I loved that feature from the Mini Train Lapbook. The inside of all the booklets are empty or undone. I then stuck this lapbook in his basket and when he's not sure what to do or asks for too much screen time I simply suggest he do 1 or 2 things in his lapbook. Pick out a train book for someone to read to him, etc.  And yes, unfortunately, Sir Topem Hat has a boogie coming out of his nose. Boys will be boys..

Because the train book was labeled a mini lapbook I took that idea to the max and cut a normal file folder down. I cut off about 3-4 inches off the bottom and 1/2-1 inch on the side. The amount cut off on the bottom will not go to waste, we'll use them for our geography cards (post later.) The Thomas book took two file folders to make, the Canadian one below only took one and it's slightly wider as I didn't trim it on the side.

Canada Day was earlier this month and I picked up this Mini Lapbook for a meager 50 cents. I'm doing a lapbook theme for my niece's craft kits this month and I couldn't pass up this lapbook for her. However, I realized it was something Morgan would really enjoy doing as well so I printed one out for him as well.  Again, I went with the entire mini theme. This is a lapbook Morgan easily did in one day, which is good because I have some World Cup lapbook, books, and crafts ahead for him! We soccer freaks must take advantage of it while we can!

I ended up adding two things to this lapbook. The booklet on the far left about the provinces and territories as well as the Canadian Animal cards. Those were freebies from Homeschool Share. To go with this lapbook Morgan also made a Canadian Mountie and I told him we'll stop off in town to pick up Dudley Do Right. We'll also be making some very yummy Maple Cookies.

The boys are also required to read a book a day to me during our off week. Morgan is hot to trot on this job right now because he's currently involved in a Book Challenge and hopeful he'll win an audiobook out of it. (Little does he know he's going to win an audio book if he reads those 10 books, which he's avidly doing!) Jayden has gone on strike, big time, against his reading books. He deemed them, "Boring and babylike. Can't I read something better then this?" So he's now reading through the 12 stories in this book. He adores this book and feels oh so grown up to get to use a bookmark and read a book that came off the every day bookshelf. Best Part? I get a kick out of seeing Morgan help him figure out tougher words.

As for math during our off week. We normally don't do anything formal. If the boys request one of our tried and true games I go with it. Honestly, the boys find all our math games to be awesome and fun favorites. They ask quite often to play them. We're also reading through How High Can A Dinosaur Count and doing the math mysteries inside. Fun little word problems. Jayden still needs a bit of review on being a Math Detective, and Morgan just gets a huge kick out of word problems. He's a top notch Math Detective when it comes to word problems!