The kids and I have been hard at work with our homeschooling these past few weeks. Britches an My Man are learning tons of things and having a great time doing it! But...
Lately, I have had a time with Little Sister, because she is always asking to play with My Man and Britches. I send her to go play or watch PBS Kids, but in no time, she's back under our feet. After sending her away several times, I begin to feel really guilty that she is all alone in there and we're having all the fun. But she's just not old enough to do what the older ones are working on.
But she IS old enough to do her own "school." So I dug into my memories of days gone by, and began to think of the things I did with the oldest 2 when they were her age. When they were small, we did all kinds of learning together, and we had so much fun with it all! One of the things I did a lot of were lapbooks. It was always something Britches and My Man liked, so I decided to start one with Little Sister.
Lapbooks are really nothing more than scrapbooks that are put together using your child's school work. My friend, who originally introduced me to lapbooking, is EXTREMELY creative with her kids lapbooks. But being the un-creative person I am, mine usually stay pretty simple. The point is, if you're a creative and crafty person, make it more elaborate. But if you're like me, keep it simple. The point is to have a cool place to store your child's work, so you aren't just stuffing it in a box in the top of a closet somewhere. Also, it is something tangible that your child can pull out any time, look at it, and remember the things they learned.
So I told Little Sister one morning that she and I were going to learn all about apples. (Amazingly, my 2 oldest - who think she is a "baby" - stopped what they were doing and wanted to participate. I told them they were out of luck. This was our project, and they were working on the project they needed to finish that was more age appropriate for them!) Little Sister was so excited. I didn't send her to go play by herself, and I didn't sit her in front of the TV, so I was pretty excited myself. Here are some pictures of our fun.
To begin a lapbook, you need one manilla folder, legal or letter size depending on how much stuff you have and how big you want it, and in any color. We used a letter size red folder. Open it up flat on a table. Then, fold each side in to the center. Use a ruler to crease the folds. You now have a folder that looks like 2 shutters opening. This is your book. Then you can begin the fun stuff!
First, she colored a picture of an apple with a worn in it. If you notice, she decided to color the worm with 3 colors at once. Very pretty. I helped some, because she wanted me to, but I tried to get her to do most of it. I wanted it to be HER work.
We made a game that I printed off a web site that I came across. It was called "Five Red Apples." I used contact paper on the game pieces, so, as she was playing with them, they wouldn't get bent or torn. Then I let her glue the tree to the back of our book. She had so much fun playing this game over and over and over.
I glued the poem inside on the top left hand side, and I made a pocket to hold the game pieces under the poem. The pocket was made out of a piece of card stock that was held on with packing tape. I taped one side down, and then I stuck my finger under it a little to be sure there would be room for the pieces. Then I taped the other side and the bottom down.
I had given Little Sister a piece of paper to draw an apple. But when I came back to check on her, she told me she had drawn a cloud, like the cloud in our apple game. So I wanted to include that in her book.
Little Sister learned that there are 4 seasons, and she made a book showing the differences in an apple tree in each season. She also learned that apples are ready for picking in the fall!
We also made another similar circle picture chart - or whatever you want to call that thing - that we glued in the center of the book. It showed the apple tree in each of the different seasons. Also, at the very bottom center of the book, we taped down the seeds that we counted from an apple we cut. After we cut the apple for our lunch, she learned what a half and a whole are, and she was able to tangibly learn that it takes 2 halves to make a whole apple.
And these are the pictures of our finished book. She was so proud of her work. On the front cover, I cut her apple picture in half, and I glued half to each side. Also, I let her take a bingo dot maker, and she made red "apples" all over the cover. I came behind her with a green marker and made stems and leaves on them.
Just to be clear, she and I did not try to make the entire book all in one day. We worked on the different parts for a few days, and then I came back, while she was playing one day, and glued part of the book. She helped with the dots on the front and gluing the game on the back. She also glued in both "tree" books. The glue stick was a BIG hit!!
So if you have a pre-schooler who just isn't big enough for "big school" but still is underfoot, try making a lapbook with them. It is a fun way to learn on their level, and it can include anything you would like to teach them. The biggest point here is this. Don't teach only to your oldest children. The younger ones will feel left out and neglected. This project really helped Little Sister to feel like she was included with "the big kids"! And I haven't decided what our next lapbook will be about, but I know it will be fun, and we will be starting it soon!