Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Our Adventure into Lapbooking!
Lately I have been feeling a little like I haven't been investing enough time into teaching Roman- things such as numbers, letters, shapes, colors and so on. This problem partially stems from the fact that (yes, I will admit it) I don't always know what to do with him! I didn't have the upbringing that I hope for my kids- a large family where you learn how to take care of children because there are always some around. I had one brother 21 months younger than me, and my world was all about... me! By the age of 11 I had an agent across the state and was filming commercials and staring in local theatre productions. I rarely babysat- and even when I did it wasn't children under 4 or 5- and I had no younger cousins nearby to speak of. So, this is me- completely and utterly unprepared for what to "do" with a 2 year old!
So, of course I had to turn to the place I always do when I am once again reminded of my total lack of education in the homemaking realm- the internet! I had known for quite some time that I was going to homeschool our children and had done a small amount of research on the matter (even reading homeschool books when I first got pregnant!) but I hadn't heard much about what to do with a child this young. I began searching out some homeschooling forums for ideas but was mostly met with the response that I was starting much too young with "formal education" and I should just let him play. Somehow I felt misunderstood and the idea of "just letting him play" wasn't working for us. I knew that I needed to be playing with him but I just didn't feel like I knew how.
I am the kind of person who needs structure and a plan or things just won't get done the way they should be! So, I did a little more searching and I found this great (and free) little curriculum called Letter of the Week. There are all sorts of different levels to work from and since we are starting at ground zero, the Preparatory Curriculum seemed like a good place to start! Each week it includes a general theme (such as cows), a letter, a number, a color or shape and a nursery rhyme. I have tweaked it a little bit to include Bible verses and stories and we also are using a lapbook to display Roman's work instead of the poster board they recommend. Throughout the week you do different activities from coloring, to dancing, to singing, to writing letters in pudding- all of which reinforce the main focuses of the week.
Each week I simply copy the curriculum into my Pages program and get everything lined up for what we will be working on each day. I then print out coloring pages and activities for the areas we will be focusing on that week, and type out the poems, songs and the nursery rhyme in cute little fonts. I also glue together a simple lapbook that will house all of Roman's work for that week, and map out where I expect to put all of his activities inside of it. As we work on things throughout the week we then paste them into his lapbook so he can continue looking at them the rest of the week. When the week is over he can then show off his work quite easily to grandparents and friends. It amazes me just how much pride he is taking in his work even at this young age! I also plan on including pictures of Roman doing the different activities and a list of the accomplishments he made that week. I am looking forward to having these lapbooks as memorabilia of the different things Roman was learning as he grew and it is nice to not just have random coloring pages floating around my house and in boxes- they are displayed and available to look back on at any time.
Here are pictures of the first lapbook. We started last week with the theme of Easter (not part of a curriculum). I printed out different coloring sheets and mini-books, along with children's resurrection songs and Bible Verses. Throughout the week we read the verses, sang the songs, read resurrection books and completed the activities, all the while including them into the lapbook. By the end of the week I was truly amazed by just home much Roman had really absorbed! His verbal skills expanded ten-fold in just one little week and he seemed to really catch on to the meaning of Easter by the time we celebrated on Sunday. It brought such joy to my heart!
We still have to complete the activity for the cover (a tomb with Jesus popping out the top), and I plan on scrapbooking our Resurrection Sunday along with our traditions in the last half of the lapbook. This lapbook took a total of 4 file folders, which I connected with permanent double stick tape, and includes a nice little pocket in the middle where we can keep his Easter cards from this year. I am very happy with the way that it turned out and am so glad we will have it to look back on next year and compare how much Roman has grown and changed.
This week is our first in the Letter of the Week Curriculum and so far it is going well. I will make sure to post our completed lapbook next week sometime for you all to see. I hope this post can help encourage you all to find activities to participate in with your youngsters as well- it is truly rewarding as you see the wheels in their little heads turning and things really beginning to click! Happy Learning!
By the way- here is another great site on Scrapbooking to Learn: http://scrapbooktolearn.ning.com/