Saturday, August 6, 2011

How I use tools like lapbooks and worksheets

Over the last few years I have learned that we are primarily a unit study family.  I have found it easy over the years to teach everything around what the child is interested in at the time in one obsessive month - ahem - ‘unit study’.  I like following the children’s interest and then making their studies center around that interest until the interest runs out. I have tried various curriculum’s over my years as a homeschooler and have basically decided that a curriculum is a backbone in which to play with… not a strict guideline.  I take what I want, add what I want, and then leave the rest. 
I wanted to show you how I use Lapbooks and Curriculum to make the kids Interest Notebooks.
This is Cyan’s Animal Science Notebook.  Our backbone is Winter’s Promise Animal Habitats curriculum and Homeschool Shares Animal Lapbook pages.  Everything (pretty much) stems from there.  I don’t follow a dated guideline… for example, this year we started at the end.  We were going to the beach and Cyan was currently obsessed with the beach. So we started our year with a beach study… which happens to be the very last unit study in the Winter’s Promise curriculum.
This is what that looks like:
This starts off our Ocean “Lapbook” pages.  I punched two pieces of cardstock and placed them in her notebook to start off her unit study.  Then I had her pick a post card when we were actually at the ocean to decorate the front of her lapbook section.  After that I used the lapbook idea of minibooks to bring some interest to these pages and some variety to Cyan’s daily work.
I printed minibooks about sharks, albatross, and sea stars.  As she was studying these creatures she would fill out the lapbooks minibooks and paste them inside her lapbook pages.
This section is just filled with fun factiods she discovered from trips to the aquarium, our beach trips, and her readings tucked inside neat little minibooks!
The second section is her World’s Oceans Montessori Nomenclature cards.  I had Cyan sew this pocket set on the sewing machine.  It was super simple and a fun way to store the cards in her notebook. 
This particular set of cards were from ETC Press Inc eductaional materials. It was in the free section. The control cards are the worlds oceans in words and images so the kids can correct their match ups themselves.  The holder keeps all of the cards nicely together.
The next section in the notebook is mostly the pages that she works through from Winter’s Promise. 
The various reproducible pages have so much variety that we can use them for whatever we want.  At one point she really loved reading about dolphins.  So I copied the blank Animal page and she wrote up a page about what she loved about dolphins and put it in her notebook. 
Another time we spent a week at a beach house and I was able to give her a page and print outs of pictures from the trip that she could use to talk about what she saw next to the ocean.
By the end of the year, she will have an accurate representation of her studies this year.  She gets to see how much better her handwriting has gotten, and what types of trips we took…. right next to finding out cool facts about the animals and places she is studying.
The next section of the notebook is where she is working on now.  She has been very interested in harvesting and hunting this year.  She has even expressed an interest in fishing.  For my sweet, nature loving girly this has been an interesting turn of events… and has started a unit study on deer and the Woods.  And for that unit study, we have two pieces of cardstock in her Interest Notebook ready to be filled with lapbook facts, and the three rings after it with neat worksheets… one after the other.
I have started using this general plan for each of the kids.  Years past I have always taken their best work and put it in a notebook for them to look through at years end, and I am sure that something like that will still happen… but I am guessing that most of it will be in this one large notebook they work on all year.


Brandy said...

Came across this via pinterest. I love it!

Deanna Cheriese said...

I also found this via Pinterest. Wonderful ideas and awesome job!