Monday, June 6, 2011

Notebooking Vs Lapbooking

Charleen asked: “I am in the process of deciding between notebooks or lap packs? Actual books or sheets of paper added to a file? What's your take on the two methods books or folder ?”
boys geography notebooks
What an awesome question! I find myself answering this often, and decided to answer it right here because I was worried my answer might get too long for the comments section.
I've never heard of a lap pack, unless it's meant to be similar to a lapbook. If that's the case, we've done lapbooks and notebooks. They are both fun, and my kids, at different times, have really pulled to one over another.
I liked to do lapbooks with the kids when they are younger. There's not a lot of room inside each lapbook booklet, and that's just right for kids who only have a sentence or two to say about something. As they get older and love to give more detail it's nicer to use the notebooking pages because there's so much more room!
That said, many people use notebooking from the get go with littles. I didn't. I used lapbooking from the time they were in Kindy until about grade 3. Then we do notebooking.
When we were at the Kindy level the kids would do fun little booklets or papers or coloring sheets and I’d stick it all in a scrapbook. We’d oogle over it all the time and they couldn’t wait for their grandparents weekend visit to share with them each and every time! We have a couple of these books that are still well cherished.
It was a lot of work on my part to glue it all into the scrapbooks and that’s when I started considering lapbooking more. As I understood it the children would do the cutting and gluing. So we made the switch. Morgan’s first lapbook was such a hit with him he decided he wanted to do it forever and ever! He said the same thing when he made his first official notebook for a unit study we did.
I'm going to admit that my all most 8 year old has been doing notebook because he likes to do what his big brother does. This can often times mean more writing for me because I find that they can't write as fast as they think! To me, at my boys ages, it’s more important for them to get it all out then it is that they write it in their own hand. I don’t want to squash their enthusiasm or their creativity. This means sometimes I write it all up for them, sometimes I type it for them. Sometimes we gather ideas and I jot them on our whiteboard and have them copy it down on their notebook page, etc. It depends on the topic at hand, time allotted, and other things happening. I have even been known to take a ruled notebooking page and edit the lines out so I can type directly onto the child’s notebooking page. Then we print it out and they color or decorate it.
I'll also admit that we combine lapbooking and notebooking sometimes. This year we'll be doing that a LOT as we're doing a new timeline notebook. As the kids make notebooking pages we'll slip them into the timeline notebook behind the right time pages. This will include any little booklets we make, crafts, pictures we take, etc. We'll simply glue the little booklets or pictures and other paraphernalia onto larger paper.
Okay, so now that I've said all that here’s some of the “dirt” or “low down” on the two
I think notebooking is cheaper. You utalize all of the paper when you use it. For instance, you can use a regular lined notebook or one of the many art diaries locally available, you don't need fancy papers all though they are fun! Even if you do use the fancy premade notebooking pages you use the whole thing, hole punch it and stick it in the notebook. If you’re like me you might bring on the front and back of the paper {no I don’t have a special printer for this. I simply feed the paper back in and print something on the reverse} Or you can glue little booklets or trinkets that apply to the notebooking pages on the reverse. 
Lapbooking is different. With lapbooking you print out a paper that has a little booklet {or three on it} and you cut them out and throw away {or recycle} the scraps. When I make lapbooks I try really hard to fill the paper as much as possible with booklets so there’s very little waste. However, there’s more expense with lapbooking then just the paper!
You need glue or adhesive of some sort to attach the booklets. We find that honestly double stick tape is the bomb when it comes to this! No excess mess, no lost tops, no one screaming about sticky fingers, & no wrinkled papers! The downside is that double stick tape is pricier then glue. That said, good quality glue sticks {we like Blu*Sticks} aren’t cheap either. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll use some of this with notebooking but you won’t need it every time.
There’s also the expense of the files you refold for booklets. Some people use empty art diaries, often from a company called Bare Books. Bare Books would be awesome, but they don’t ship outside of North America. You could easily pick up large spiral bound art journals from many local shops which would reduce the cost greatly and be oh so similar to a Bare Book. File Folders can really be costly at times, especially if you like to have a rainbow of colors available!
We also found that not refolding the lapbook, but trimming the edges even gave us more room to work inside and was easier to store. In fact, we also enjoyed adding pages to our lapbooks like this. It just made us feel like we had more space inside to work with!
There’s also the whole issue of storage. We like to keep all of our lapbooks in magazine holders on the bottom shelf of a bookcase where my children can easily access them. They love pulling those lapbooks out to look at themselves, to share with friends & family, and to remember things. They are a cherished item in this home.
I’ve also heard of people who trim the file folders {we’ve done that} to a smaller size and then hole punching them to they can be stored in a three ring binder. I think that’s a fantastic idea, but I also think that pulling them out to look at would be a bit of a bother. I’d also worry about the tearing of the holes. 
However, I saw this nifty idea for storing them in 3-ring binders. I thought it was very nifty when I spotted it, but I’ve never done it. Our lapbooking days seem to be slowing down which is great for the budget but a little bit sad at the same time.
Don’t let my negative points to deter you from trying lapbooking! It’s fun, we enjoyed it, and we love being able to go back through and look at the lapbooks. Plus, I find it quite easy to find many free lapbooking pieces. You might have to snag stuff from a few places, but generally you can round up plenty to fit your needs! {see links below}
That’s not to say there aren’t free notebooking pages out there, there are! I just think there are often more lapbooking freebies that fit my needs then notebooking freebies. Then again, we've not been notebooking as long as we've been lapbooking yet.
All that information given, we’ve liked doing it both ways. My eldest enjoys doing notebooking, but he’s an excellent narrator. When you ask him to tell you about something you must be very specific about what you want or you’re likely going to be told the entire book/event/time period/story/etc.  He also loves drawing and coloring so being able to express himself like that on his notebooking pages is a double whammy for him!
My youngest didn’t enjoy lapbooking as much, but that’s because he hates glue. As in he’d have me do all his gluing for him because the thought of getting his hand sticky with glue would bring him to tears. Never mind the fact that I caught him “storing” his bubble gum on his pant leg the other day... He  did enjoy having his own lapbooks though, and would happily write inside the booklets. Sometimes I’d write his sentence{s} on the white board and he’d copy it down and other times he’d happily write it on his own without help.
Over all, I think the best option is that which your child likes best because it’s going to make “the doing” personal for the child and thus be less work on your part! Does your child enjoy cutting and gluing? If so then they might enjoy lapbooking. Do they prefer to draw and color compared to cutting and pasting?
No matter which one you choose I think the hardest part can be remembering that it’s your child’s project and offering up advise is okay as long as you remember to let them make it their own. Because my youngest hated gluing I’d often put all his booklets in his lapbook in a way I thought looked pleasing. One day he lodged a complaint that he’d prefer to lay it out and watch me glue it in so that the “books are in the right place.” Whoopsie! 
Sometimes I’d forget that he didn’t mind cutting even though he hated the gluing and there’d be bitter words over how I cut out his booklets too! Double Whoops! They love it more when they do it themselves!
I make the same mistakes, at times, with notebooking. I might require that they use a notebooking page for a specific topic. Then I lodge suggestions and leave them to it. I have been known, however to veto a particular title they want help spelling on their page. Why? Because to me it seemed the wrong title. I apologized and told them next time I’d try to remember it was their project and whatever title they wanted would be fine so long as there were no rude words in it.  After all, they might laugh as much at it one day as I do while they are writing words like, “God’s Revenge” or “All Most The Greatest Adventure Ever”. 
Homeschool Share -- they have heaps of free lapbooks, some free notebooking supplies, & even free booklets you can print and use for lapbooks/notebooks anyway you’d like. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask on the forum!
Notebooking Pages -- They have a few freebies of all their lovely pages and now have a Treasury Programme. Basically you become an annual member and you have access to every/all notebooking pages. We’re utilizing this feature this year and signed up during one of their sales. There are a treasure trove of resources and considering you can download and save them all I think the price was reasonable. -- You can find both lapbooks and notebooking pages for sale here. If you sign up for the newsletter you’re likely to get quite a few of each for free. We’ve scored many Hands Of A Child lapbooks free that way. If you’re not interested in being a member at Notebooking Pages you can buy various sets of their pages at Currclick! Scour their freebie section and take advantage of sales to get the best deals on Notebooking & Lapbooking stuff.
Notebooking Nook -- You can pick up free notebooking pages here. There aren’t a lot of freebies, but you can also purchase the sets over at Currclick. They recently had a beautiful American Set on special which we picked up to use with our upcoming studies.
Notebooking Fairy -- you can pick up many freebies over here as well on a variety of subjects. If you check in often you’ll find links and other goodies that are shared each month.
Dynamic 2 Moms -- they have some beautiful lapbooks for free over on their website too. Each time I pop in their collection seems to grow! Indians, Lewis & Clark, Nature, Pirates & more. 
Hands Of A Child -- you can pick up their lapbooks on their own website or on Currclick. In fact if you check in at their site monthly or so you can often find a freebie over there. I will say that we’ve enjoyed some of their lapbooks and others we found to be so-so. I think their earlier lapbooks aren’t nearly as good as some of their later lapbooks.
Lulu -- Angela Frampton has posted some free lapbooks on Lulu. We snagged the 4th Of July & the Nativity lapbook last year. We really loved them, and being free was a nice bonus!
Practical Pages -- Nadine has some amazing free lapbooks, notebooking pages, and combination ones to go with a variety of topics and subjects. Most recently she put up a lapbook for the entire book of James! I’m seriously considering doing that one for myself.

Live & Learn Press -- they have free lapbooks & sell them as well. If you join their yahoo group you'll get information about accessing their free lapbooks. We did their free Thanksgiving lapbook one year and it was amazing!

Always Outside -- this is our Nature Blog. We post the occasional free notebooking page which is often nature related. We recently shared  silverfish notebooking pages.

Homeschool In The Woods -- they do have freebies now and again, but what I wanted to share about this company is, not only that they have AMAZING products, that their Time Traveler Packs incorporate both lapbooking and Notebooking. We really enjoy using these and can't rave about them enough! Last I heard they were nearly done with their WWII pack, and down the road when they finish with the US history they'll be making Ancient History Packs. I also heard tell they'll be making "passport packs" where you'll learn about different countries!

Homeschool Creations -- They have a stack of notebooking pages that are geography based. They were originally created to go along with Galloping The Globe {a fantastic curriculum/resource by the way}, but honestly these pages could be used for any geography study!

The Chronicle Of The Earth -- Alia has created an amazing lapbook that goes hand in hand with Story Of The World Volume One. She's working on a lapbook that goes with Volume Two and sharing it as she goes along.We haven't used the lapbook because we haven't used SOTW, but I still find the work put into this project amazing!

Simple School -- Maria has created a variety of notebooking pages including some for Mystery Of History that she's sharing via homeschool launch. In fact, you can find a large variety of notebooking pages over on homeschool launch if you search around enough.

Homeschool WIth Index Cards -- There are many notebooking pages for free over here too. We've used several of her math game sheets in the past as well! She's got some neat Geography pages available in the freebie section too.

Raising Superheroes -- You'll find a nice assortment of American History notebooking pages and lapbooking bits here. All are listed for free and are quite nice too! My guys will especially love the Revolutionary Spies pieces!

Activity Village -- this website is brimming with free printables, but I was delighted to stumble upon their Famous Person Notebooking Pages which included famous Aussies! I was extremely excited about that little find! You might enjoy checking out all their educational resources while you're over there.

And there you have it, a few {too many} resources to get you started! Oh, and we like to save notebooking pages/lapbook finds right to our computer and then save them to discs or print them out so we can file them and use them. Here's a nifty way to file lapbooks/notebooking resources so you don't lose track of what you've got!


Nadene said...

Wow! What a wonderful detailed and encouraging explanation! I agree when you say that notebook pages offer more space for the older child to write. My middle schooler uses her minibooks to decorate her notebook pages, but prefers not to write in them. I like to offer the combo - they choose the layout and where they write.
Thanks for linking to my blog along with all those other amazing sites!

Angela said...

Great post!! Thanks for taking the time to put all this together. We will be trying some lapbooking with my Ker in the fall.

Martha said...

We have done both lapbooking and notebooking. I think my kids prefer the lapbooks though.

You have some great links in your post, I am off to check out the ones I didn't know about.