Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lapbooks and Journal alternatives

Journals are a pretty big deal in our public school system. Every day, for every grade, my boys were supposed to journal. Only problem was? Neither ever actually WROTE much down! I wonder how many countless hours were wasted, 10 minutes at a time, day after day, as my children stared off into space?

When I began homeschooling them, I tried to follow the journal routine. Many, many days of frustration on all of our parts as I attempted to force them to record something trivial about their lives. Finally, I stepped back and realized that the process of journalling is supposed to be relaxing. I also realized that the main point of writing in a daily journal for public school was about sentence formation, imagination, and penmanship. NONE of which were being accomplished by my children in their forced one-sentence pages!

I heard about "lapbooks" from a very organized mother in our homeschooling group. She directed me towards many online sites where you can print out EVERYthing you need, right down to the smallest details. I printed out a few pieces, here and there, and then realized that my ink on my printer is VERY expensive and that all of those color pages were sucking it dry!

Enter the scrapbooking supplies!! I used to scrapbook a LOT when the boys were little. Sadly, the joy of it was lost somewhere along the time that blogging came into my life. One can only have so many outlets, you know? For homeschooling, though? The extra scrapbooking supplies have been a lifesaver! All of the colored paper, stickers and cutting supplies are PERFECT for the lapbooks! I lugged it all out and began laying out designs for the boys to fill in. Basically, I ask questions, leave space for artwork and graphs, and direct the boys in learning certain aspects about the topics they're studying. For Justin, who abhors anything with the word "art" attached to it, asking him to design a cover for his Energy lapbook wasn't "art". It was just another step in the project. Submarines and Airplanes by Justin

For Evan, who needs extra help on reading and writing but loves to draw, the lapbooks offer variety and a break from something that he doesn't feel he is very good at (writing/spelling).

Another way I've found to encourage Evan and Corinne's imagination, spelling, and writing skills is to offer them small booklets to fill in. Using colored pencils and his own creativity, Evan has written about 4 different short books! He can do one page a day or 4, there is no limit or requirement needed. Arachnid Wars by Evan

Even Corinne has benefited from making these booklets and is currently writing a fantastic story entitled "Princess Wars." (Can you tell she's a girly girl who has older brothers?)


  1. Gosh moms are endlessly creative...and you are no exception. Well done...thinking it thru...what you wanted to achieve...and helping them to discover other ways to do it. I too have heaps of scrapbooking stuff that will never get used. Must break it out. Thanks for coming by today. Holly at

  2. Weird. I just today came to the same conclusion about journaling. It's dumb and pointless. My daughter, who actually likes to write and is good at it, hates journaling. Unfortunately, it's a once-a-week assignment in her spelling book. Today she had just finished writing a long, newsy letter to a friend on her own time and here I was saying, "Honey, you need to put that down and get to your journal." Duh. Lightbulb moment.