Tips & Tricks for Lapbooking Success

I am often asked to share some of my tips and tricks for completing lapbooks. Sometimes the hardest part about lapbooking is trying to decide which topic to choose! Are you interested in pirates or penguins? Or do you have time in your curriculum to study both pirates and penguins? Choosing a topic to study should be the only step that is most difficult. After you have chosen your topic, the process of making a lapbook should be a fun, easy, and rewarding experience for you and your student(s).

Lapbooking can be a little overwhelming, especially for new lapbookers or those who have many students to work with. So I have compiled a list of some tips and tricks that I have found helpful when completing lapbooks with my children, and some helpful hints that have been passed on to me by our customers at In the Hands of a Child.

  1. Is this going to by your first lapbook? For your first lapbook, choose a subject that is of high interest to your student. Maybe pick a few options and have your student choose his or her favorite. Often times, parents choose a difficult topic (or one that is not interesting to the student) and both the student and parent can become frustrated before they even begin! In addition, giving the student the option to choose the topic gives him or her ownership of the lapbook right from the start.
  2. It is helpful to have all the materials organized before beginning. Basic supplies needed to create a lapbook include scissors, glue (or other adhesive), stapler, hole punch, colored paper, file folders, crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers. Without good organization at the start, you could spend valuable lapbooking time looking for scattered tools. Many people find it helpful to have a box or tool caddy to keep all their lapbooking supplies handy.
  3. If you are working with young children or a group of children, cut out all of the graphics before beginning the lapbook and store them in a zip-top bag. Snip off the very tip of a bottom corner, so that the air can escape, and your bag will easily store flat. If you wish to have the students work on their cutting skills, set aside a few for them to cut themselves or have them help you with the cutting before you begin the lapbook.
  4. Vocabulary words and timeline activities can be very important to a lapbook. They can also be very tedious and time consuming for the student. Remember that vocabulary and timeline activities do not have to be completed in one day! They can and should be worked on throughout the entire study. At In the Hands of a Child, we recommend that students learn a few new vocabulary words each day or learn them as they encounter them in their study. We also recommend that timeline activities be done a little each day; for example, plan to cover a 10-year block of history each day, or as you encounter it in the study.
  5. Your student may choose to add the various activities to his or her file folder as they are completed or wait until all the activities are completed and then attach them to the file folder. If your student chooses to do the latter, simply store the completed activities in a zip-top bag, expandable file, or pocket folder until he or she is ready to attach them to the lapbook.
  6. If you run out of room with one file folder, add an extension! There are many different options for adding extensions to a lapbook such as adding another file folder or adding a sheet of cardstock or heavy scrapbooking paper.

Lapbooks are easy to store, an instant review tool, and a ready-made portfolio of a student’s studies. Now that you have some of the tips and tricks for making your next lapbooking project a success all you have to do is decide which topics you want to complete!  Enjoy your learning!

Learning Language Arts Through Lapbooking

Here are a couple of poems that will help you learn your parts of speech. I remember learning these when I was in school!


The Parts of Speech

Every name is called a NOUN,

As field and fountain, street and town;

In place of noun the PRONOUN stands

As he and she can clap their hands;

The ADJECTIVE describes a thing,

As magic wand and bridal ring;

The VERB means action, something done-

To read, to write, to jump, to run;

How things are done, the ADVERBS tell,

As quickly, slowly, badly, well;

The PREPOSITION shows relation,

As in the street, or at the station;

CONJUNCTIONS join, in many ways,

Sentences, words, or phrase and phrase;

The INTERJECTION cries out, “Hark!

I need an exclamation mark!”

Through poetry, we learn how each

of these make up THE PARTS OF SPEECH.

The Nine Parts of Speech

Three little words you often see,

Are articles- a, an, and the.

A noun’s the name of anything

As school, garden, hoop, or swing.

An adjective tells the kind of noun-

Great, small, pretty, white, or brown.

Instead of nouns the pronouns stand-

Her head, his face, your arm, my hand.

Verbs tell of something to be done,

To read, sing, jump, or run.

How things are done the adverbs tell,

As slowly, quickly, ill, or well.

Conjunctions join words together,

As men and women, windor weather.

Theprepositions stands before

A noun, as at or through the door.

The interjection shows surprise,

As ah! How pretty-Oh! how wise.

The whole are called nine parts of speech,

Which reading, writing, speaking teach.

Be sure and check out Operation: English GrammarProject Pack for help with parts of speech!

How About a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving This Year?

One of my very favorite Thanksgiving specials on tv is Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. Chuck and his friends are always showing some semblance of God in everything that they do.


When my kids were younger, I decided one year that while we were studying about the First Thanksgiving, we would watch Charlie Brown and then recreate our very own first Thanksgiving just like Chuck and his friends.


To do this, you will need the following for each person:

  • Two slices of buttered toast,
  • Some pretzel sticks,
  • A handful of popcorn, and
  • A few jelly beans

While you watch the movie with your kids, you can eat your own Charlie Brown Thanksgiving dinner. You can even talk to your kids about parts of the movie like Linus’ prayer.


In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought ninety of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this:

“We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land.

We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.”


And who could ever forget the moral of the story in ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ when ungratefulness reared it’s ugly head by way of Peppermint Patty prompting a quick depression in Charlie Brown:

What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this?

Where’s the turkey, Chuck?

Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners?

Where’s the mashed potatoes?

Where’s the cranberry sauce?

Where’s the pumpkin pie?

Of which, Marcie delivers the punch line . . .

“Don’t feel bad, Chuck. Peppermint Patty didn’t mean all those things she said. Actually, she really likes you. Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck.

You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too.

We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving,’ Charlie Brown.


Have fun with Thanksgiving. Your kids will love that you used a show on television to teach them about the true meaning of Thanksgiving!

While you’re at it, grab our Thanksgiving Project Pack to enrich your studies even further!

Thanksgiving Project Pack

Jamestown Craft and Study

My kids and I are working on studying Jamestown at the moment. My children are not little. In fact, they are teens, so craft time does not happen as often as I would like. However, when I come upon a study that I can incorporate that little bit of craftiness, I jump on it!


I found this neat Jamestown fort craft at


I knew as soon as I seen it that we were going to enjoy making this neat craft! To create it, you only need the following craft items:

  • Pop-cycle sticks
  • Brown wood stain/Acrylic Paints
  • Hot glue & glue gun
  • Small pieces of Pine tree
  • Dirt
  • Sticks
  • Styrofoam

I know this will help them out a lot with actually seeing a visual image of what a Jamestown fort will look like. It also doubles as art for the day!

To bring this study home for my kids, we completed the the project pack The Story of Jamestownwhich you can snag today for only $5.00!!

Grab your $5 Jamestown project pack and learn all about how this little settlement came to be!

What Credits Will My Highschooler Need to Graduate?

During our Facebook party last week, one of the topics that kept coming up is “What if I forget to teach them something they need in order to graduate?” With that being said, we thought it would be a good idea to share what a general credit lineup looks like for a high school graduate.

There are no national standards–every state has its own minimum requirements–but the average number of credits needed to graduate is 20. Credits have to be distributed among math, science, languages, social studies and electives that include technology, physical education and art or music.


Most students have to earn four credits in math during high school. These credits are most earned for algebra I, algebra II, geometry and trigonometry. Other math courses like business math and calculus also count toward the requirement.


Students have to earn three or four credits in science. Courses that meet this requirement are biology I and II, chemistry, physics and earth and space science. Students might earn additional credits for science classes like Anatomy and Physiology.


High school seniors must earn four credits in English. Each credit represents one year of study in English grammar and literature in grades 9 through 12.

Foreign Language

Foreign language requirements vary. Students earn one credit for each year of study of a foreign language.

Social Studies

Students usually graduate with four credits earned in social studies courses. These include American and world history, civics, state history and geography.


Students can earn credits for elective courses that will count toward the overall number required. These include classes such as art or music appreciation, keyboarding, accounting, technology and physical education. Students earn a half-credit for classes that last one semester.


Now that you have a basis on what credits are needed, now you can map out what they need to do for their course of high school.

Start a New Family Tradition With the Thankful Tree

During November and December, my kids and I take a break from our normal homeschool studies to break up the routine of schoolwork. During this time, we study things like Fall, harvest festivals, thankgiving, and we do several unit studies based on literature that we can read together.

One of my favorite things during this time is to create a Thankful Tree.

You can create one too and start a new tradition in your family. All you have to do is draw a tree trunk and tape it to your wall. Then trace some leaves of different sizes and fall colors. Each day, a member of the family writes something down on the leaf that they are thankful for. By the time November comes to an end, your tree will be full of goodness and thanksgiving unto God.


Looking for more fun studies during November? Check out the following Project Packs we have available.

Prek-1st Harvest Festival Project Pack


Grades 3-7 The Pilgrims Project Pack

PreK-8th Thanksgiving Project Pack

Harvest Ideas

This weekend,  my family and I will be attending a harvest festival put on by the people that live in my city. I am quite excited about attending. I love to see all the decorations and vendors. . .and don’t get me started on the food!

While my kids are older now and we don’t get to do this very often anymore, we used to gear up the week before any harvest festival we were attending by planning and having fun at home.


Yes! You can have your very own harvest festival at home.


Here are a few ideas you could incorporate.


·      For starters, you could grab this preschool project pack and learn all about Harvest Festivals!

·      Have a water gun shoot out using a pumpkin with a cross carved in it. The first one to put out the flame wins!

·      Bubble blowing for the toddlers! They love that.

·      Have an old fashioned face painting time. Let the kids paint your face as well. Even mom needs a painted face.

·      Make street fair foods like corn dogs, Homemade potato chips, and homemade ice cream—even homemade lemonade shakeups!


There are many things that you can do to celebrate the coming of a new season and fun times like harvest festivals. Why not visit one when you are done studying all about them?

National Pizza Month

Did you know that October is Pizza month? There is SO much you can learn from one giant round piece of food!

Pizza can be used for:


Reading—Sign your child up for Pizza Hut’s Book It Program. They earn free pizza for reading books! My kids LOVED doing this all the time. They were always so proud to turn in their certificate to redeem their pizza.


Science—Do you wonder how pizza gets chewed and digested? Discuss with your kids their theory and then do some research to find out just how pizza is digested!


English—Make a fake piece of pizza. Decorate pepperonis with different parts of speech (ex—noun, adverb, adjective, verb, preposition, article) and describe pizza! My kids love doing this. It helps them to realize what parts of speech really mean and how to use them.


History—Where did pizza originate? When was it started? That, my friends. . .is history!


Math—Ah. . Math. I love math and pizza. You can learn all sorts of things with math and pizza, especially MULTIPLICATION!!

Use our Multiplication Pizza Party Project Pack to help!


October is a great month to take one of our favorite foods and use it to “do school”.


What is your favorite thing about pizza? Do you have any ideas on using it in your homeschool?

Is it possible to successfully homeschool when you have little ones to tend to?


If you’ve ever wondered the same, here are a four ideas to keep your sanity and your joyous spirit while juggling your smaller ones and learning all at the same time.

                  1. Practice flexible timing.

You need to have both strategy and flexibility when you have little ones and older ones involved in order to have a productive school day. 

You may want to plan your most important school subjects for when the smaller children are taking naps, so you can focus on your older children. Don’t schedule any intense experiments or subjects at the same time your little one is getting cranky. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure!

So look at what you need to accomplish in a given day and plan around the needs of your little learner.s

                  2. Schedule older children time to play with the younger children.

If you have slightly older children in your home, they can be assigned a daily 30 minute block of time play or assist with your smaller ones. Older children can help with assignments and practice their reading skills with a picture book as a young child listens.

This time together between the older and younger children creates family bonds, allows siblings to develop deep relationships, lets your older child learn responsibility, and provides the practical break you may need to help another child with his spelling.

                  3. Plan lots of fun activities.

Rotate a list of activities for your toddler–something he or she can do to feel like they are doing school as well.

Babies may enjoy time in an activity center (like a playpen, highchair, or walker) while, older toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy a variety of play tasks. Keep assorted bags or boxes for each day of the week so that they always have something new to keep their attention.

Make sure you pick activities that your little one can do without direct assistance (Some ideas: playdough, crayons and paper, lacing beads, blocks, etc.)

                  4. Remember that flexibility is the key.

Always leave room for the unpredictable moments..


How do you orchestrate school in your home with a baby or toddler on the scene?


Are you looking for preschool activities for your little learner? Be sure and check out our entire Preschool section

Lapbooking through Thanksgiving & Christmas

We have tons of lapbooks that any family would enjoy, but our favorites during this time of year are the Thanksgiving and Christmas ones in our product line.


Below you will find a list of those for you to take a look at. Each one has a downloadable sample so that you can see if this project pack is right for you. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to

  • November Sampler Pack
  • Harvest Festival Project Pack
  • The Pilgrim’s Project Pack
  • Thanksgiving Project Pack
  • 5 Little Pumpkins project Pack
  • Winter Sports Project Pack
  • New Year’s Celebration Project Pack
  • The 12 Days of Christmas Project Pack
  • Katy’s Big Snow Day Project Pack
  • Holiday Traditions: Nutcracker and the Story of the Nutcracker
  • What is Snow Project Pack
  • Let It Snow Project Pack
  • Symbols of Christmas Project Pack
  • Christmas Around the World Project Pack