Lapbooking through history

Back in the summer, I researched ways to make my son’s upcoming 6th grade history fun and interesting.  Just reading about history bores him to tears, and he desperately needed something more with a hands-on approach.  It didn’t need to be heavily activity based, but it needed to be something more than reading and note taking.

We had done notebooking in the past, but a fellow homeschooling mom suggested that I try lapbooking.  What is lapbooking?  Lapbooking is a project folder created by the student and held in his or her lap.  Information and pictures are glued or taped inside the folder in the form of mini-books, fold outs, and flaps. It unfolds and opens up to display a wealth of information on a particular topic, all on one place.  This sounded like a great idea!  I knew that we could do some serious lapbooking for American history.

Lapbooking was a God-send, until I got my hands on it.  You see, I identified my short-coming long ago with teaching history and science.  I know exactly what my problem is- I collect too many resources and tend to be too eclectic.  Teaching from one book with one point of view or one example is so…BORING!  I’d rather teach from four or five books!  Now, introduce lapbooking to this eclectic homeschooling mom, and it almost spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.  I had to be very careful not to complicate the project and overwhelm my son with too much information.  Trying to keep everything concise would be a challenge.

My first intentions were to make only a few lapbooks about the major wars. Then I thought there needed to be more.  I felt it would be important to show how America progressed over the last century because there were some remarkable changes and advancements.  That idea developed into making a whole series of America lapbooks to show images of people and how they changed, as well as highlights of cultural and historical events. We paid special attention to the developments in televisions, telephones and automobiles. 

As anyone can guess, gathering the information was extremely time-consuming with all of the researching, formatting, and printing.  There was often a lot of information to include (and figuring out what to exclude) for each lapbook.  My son started out pretty strong with adding drawings and writing short summaries, but by the time he got to the fourth lapbook the common question was, “Are we doing another lapbook?”  It was clear that I had overdone it again.  Ugh!  Where I thought the lapbooks were the answer to making history fun, I had made making them a nightmare!  The last three lapbooks were mostly my doing because my poor son was approaching burnout.  I only required that he add a title here or there and just read the information.  To keep my son from hating lapbooks and me, I made the final lapbook appeal to him on a personal level.  I added images to the cover of things that he currently likes, such as Mario and Yoshi, his Nintendo DS, and his one of his favorite TV shows, iCarly. ;-) Doing that redeemed myself a little, but not completely. 

All seven lapbooks are featured in the slideshow and appear in the following order:

  • America 1900’s – 1920’s
  •  World War I
  • America 1930’s-1940’s 
  • World War II
  • America 1950’s-1960’s 
  • America 1970’s-1980’s
  • America 1990’s-2000’s

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I would like to thank Jimmie, over at Jimmie’s Collage for inspiring me with her lapbooking ideas.  Her blog was the most helpful with providing templates and pictures of her daughter’s lapbooks. 

We finished American history, and are now studying Ancient history.  Luckily for my son, there are no lapbooks to make.  Our only projects are to construct a Mayan temple and the Roman Coliseum…from a kit, of course. :-)

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Lapbooking through history

  1. The lapbooks looks quite cool. I could look at them for a while.

    Maybe Kramer could have made a lapbook about “laps” instead of coffee tables. hee hee!

  2. planetross: Thanks! It would take a while to look at all of them, more time than my son actually wanted to spend. I hope he’ll see the value in them…someday.

    I would buy a lapbook about “laps”. That’s hilarious! Where do you come up with this stuff? hee hee!

  3. What a great way to study! I can see how it might get stale to a young guy after a while, but MAN OH MAN my daughters would LOVE THIS! My girls are all about making books and drawing – my older daughter spent all summer making daily family newspapers, which (of course) I found irresistible. You continue to amaze me with your ingenuity and tirelessness. Keep up the good work – both of you!

    • Christy, thanks for the boost of confidence. You got one thing right – tirelessness! LOL
      I hope you kept your daily family newspapers. Those will be fun to look at when your girls are older.

      • Oh, you KNOW I did! I enjoy re-reading them now, can’t imagine how sweet they’ll be when I actually stow them away and stumble upon them 20 years from now.. *sniff* They grow so fast..

  4. Wow, that is so cool. I always admire parents who homeschool their children! I have a 6th grader but he is in public school. I know how hard it is just helping with homework (esp. since he has Asperger’s Syndrome and some learning disabilities) and I just love that you’ve shared with all of us the challenges and rewards of homeschooling!

    • Hi Girl from the Ghetto! Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I admire parents who juggle their kid’s school, homework, along with their jobs and home obligations. So much time is spent on homework; it eats into family life. It’s the pits! Then, add it to a child with learning disabilities and it’s worse! Most homeschoolers don’t have homework (my son only has reading in the evening.) There is enough one-on-one during the day that allows them to understand the concepts.

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