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Successful Homeschooling, Issue #07 -- A Surefire Way to Make Learning Fun!
November 12, 2008

As we approach the season of giving, give your children the gift of learning to think of others and give your home school the gift of fun...

In this issue:

  1. Give the Gift of Giving
  2. Lapbooks - A Surefire Way to Make Learning Fun
  3. Why You Should Use Lapbooks - An Expert Weighs In
  4. What's New

Give the Gift of Giving

There is no better time than the present to begin teaching your children the joy of giving. Start your holiday season by creating or purchasing a Giving Plate. Bake cookies, brownies or other goodies, place them on the plate and pass them on to friends or neighbors with instructions that they also bake goodies and pass them along.

Take your children to a local pottery store to create a custom plate, or purchase an inexpensive plate from your favorite retailer. You can find the Giving Plate shown here at For Small Hands, an online store that sells Montessori supplies for the home.

This month, I am continuing my blog series, Make it Fun Monday! Every Monday through the end of December, I'll share fun ideas like this one that can be adapted for all ages. For details, check out my homeschool blog.

Lapbooks - A Surefire Way to
Make Learning Fun

Lapbooks are file folders that contain homemade mini books of information that has been studied. They are a surefire way to make learning fun!

I'll admit that I was initially reluctant to try lapbooking. The end product looked nice, but the process seemed labor-intensive, time-consuming and, quite frankly, overwhelming. However, after seeing my friends have success with lapbooking, I had to give it a try.

We made our first lapbook about the 2008 Summer Olympics using a free template from Homeschool Share. From then on, I was hooked. Here's a picture of our first lapbook:


While we were working on our lapbook, my children couldn't wait to start school every morning. They more readily remembered information we had studied, and they loved showing their daddy what they'd learned.

Lapbooks are great for kinesthetic and visual learners. Creating mini books is a hands-on activity that increases comprehension and retention, and completed lapbooks serve as a visual reference for review.

Here is some information that will help you create your first lapbook, along with links to helpful lapbooking resources.

Why You Should Use Lapbooks -
An Expert Weighs In

This month's interview is with Niki McNeil, homeschool mom and co-owner of the company, Hands of a Child - a leading provider of pre-planned lapbooks. Here are some of Niki's thoughts on learning with lapbooks.
  1. What do you like about lapbooking? My favorite thing about Lapbooking is that all three of my children from Grades 2-7 can do the same unit and learn at their same level so Iím not teaching ALL day! My next favorite thing is the children retain what they are learning because they are doing something with all the information they are reading and researching.

    They are also great because they become a self contained portfolio which means there are not projects all over my house, everything fits into a file cabinet which can be pulled out for reference or for showing off. You canít beat that because if you are like me you are short on space.

  2. What are the benefits of lapbooking over other homeschooling methods? Children learn by doing something with the information, Lapbooking breaks it down into bite size pieces of information. This allows the children to really understand the information and then put it back into their own words in the graphics that goes into the Lapbook.

    By the end of the unit the student has a Lapbook that they are so proud of they want to show everyone and then they start telling what each booklet is about therefore reviewing the topic without being asked, what other method does that? And as I mentioned before you can use it with all age groups together which saves from teaching all day.

  3. Do you have any advice for families who are new to lapbooking? Donít try to be perfect, the goal is fun, learning, and let the kids do it their way. The end result doesnít have to look like the pictures or like the other persons! Just have fun going through the process and enjoying the learning!

    Start with a topic of high interest for the student, then move into those topics youíre wanting to do for your studies. Kids will be more receptive to a new way of learning if it is something they want to learn about.

  4. Why did you start Hands of a Child? We started HOAC because there were no products out there to make Lapbooking easy on the moms. I was recreating the wheel each time I created a Lapbook unit with my son and I didnít want other moms to go through the same process after seeing how much Lapbooks helped my son learn.

  5. What is unique about Hands of a Child lapbooks? We are the premiere company, the first of its type starting in 2002. We have the highest quality, the best customer service, the most complete units, as well as the most extensive product topics available of all the Lapbook units available.

Follow this link to read the full transcript of my interview with Niki, in which she shares tips for overcoming burnout, dealing with gaps in learning, and starting a homeschool business.

Follow this link to read reviews of Hands of a Child. Use the coupon code on the graphic below to receive a 40% discount on your next Hands of a Child lapbook.

Hands of a Child

What's New?

My October homeschool curriculum review contest is over, and I want to thank those of you who have helped me build a database of over 400 curriculum reviews that will benefit homeschoolers for years to come.

Please continue to take time to give back to the homeschool community by telling others about your favorite products.

As always, feel free to pass this newsletter on to friends and contact me with your questions or comments.

Thank you for subscribing to Successful Homeschooling!

Enjoy the journey,


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