Combining Notebooking and Lapbooking

I tried lapbooking with my two non-cutting, non-coloring boys (who don’t mind making things from scratch or writing notebooking and pages and adding their own artistic renderings of what they have written). It was not the success I had envisioned or hoped for. Something about the file folder and putting all of these little booklets on the file folder turned them off. I still don’t completely understand the emotional reaction they had to this, but we have found something that does work for us.

I’d like to share this idea with you. We use pieces of card stock, 3-hole punched and place these into our notebooks alongside our notebook pages. We do a couple of little booklets or whatever at a time and glue them onto the card stock as we study the topic throughout the semester. I think the variety of combining the written narration, their own drawings, and the booklets a few at a time breaks up what they might have felt either overwhelming or monotonous in putting together a big lapbook alone.

To give you some ideas of what we have done, I broke down ideas into subject areas and have included pictures, descriptions of what we have done, and links to resources you might find helpful:

  • Science
    Botany Notebook – Using Jeannie Fullbright’s Exploring Creation with Botany
    My son used Jeannie’s free notebooking pages available here – Botany notebooking pages and whenever we went on a nature, Charlotte Mason style, we would look for a sample of the plant life he was studying in this book to take home. We dried it, glued it onto a piece of card stock, labeled it, slipped it into a plastic sheet protector, and placed it into the notebook with the rest of the pages.
    At the same time, I printed off little diagrams or booklets about parts of a flower, seed, or plant that he would label or fill out. After completing each one, he glued that onto a piece of card stock and placed it into the notebook in the appropriate section discussing that topic.
    Each piece of card stock would be labeled with the topic on that page, and would be close to full- so that it wasn’t just one or two small items on the page.
    Whenever, my son had a science experiment to perform, we had a science experiment procedure notebook page, that he would use to write out his hypothesis, materials, procedures, observations, data, results, and conclusion. This page would also go in the appropriate area of study.
    In the end, he had a nice botany notebook with a cover provided in the free notebooking pages filled with samples, notes, experiments, and little diagrams and booklets. All of these placed in topic areas, as opposed to notebook sections labeled “notes”, “labs”, “projects”. This was more fluid for him.
  • Apologia General Science with my older son was a bit different.
    My older son likes a bit more structure and functions better when things are categorized. He labeled sections of his notebook “notes” (written narrations for him or handouts of notes), “labs”, “questions and answers” (lapbook parts from Live and Learn Press), “quizzes” (review study guides and tests provided by Apologia), and a pocket for index cards that he used to make flash cards for himself from the study guide questions.
    His notebook was organized according to function of the piece of paperwork. It was a combination of notebooking pages on which he wrote narrations of topics he read aside from the Apologia text and handouts where he read something and answered questions (this usually was a tie in to the historic period we were studying and how it related to his science), science experiment procedure notebooking pages (just like his brother) or printed from the Apologia text CD-Rom, and lapbook booklets glued onto pieces of card stock.
    The lapbook components we use are from Live and Learn Press – Live and Learn Press. They have booklets in which he can write the answers to questions from the Apologia text and write down definitions to vocabulary words as he proceeds through the text. My son glues these onto pieces of card stock as he works on them in order of the text.


  • History
    For the past two years, we have studied ancient civilizations and the middle ages. We put together a notebook for each during each year. We used a variety of notebooking pages from different sources for our written narrations and map study. For a study of crests and family history, we had matchbooks and other little books to glue onto cardstock to explain heraldry.
    For the chain of causes for the black plague, we used the wheel from the Story of the World Activity book, glued onto cardstock also.
    This year, we will be studying the Renaissance; we’ll be using a lap book (glued onto card stock pages) for that as well from Live and Learn Press along with our notebooking pages.

Heraldry and our Ancestors





Learning about the Hagia Sophia.


Notebooking Links

Here are a variety of resources that you may find helpful in assisting you in your notebooking endeavors:

Notebooking Pages (Great pages to purchase – big sale right now)

 Cindy Rushton – Notebooking Queen (Click on the Exploring Creation product and then the journal pages you want) (Great notebook pages to purchase) (Great notebooking lens by Jimmie)

Notebooking training resources (ebooks, audio seminars in mp3 format)



Cindy Rushton lapbooking ebook and audio seminar

Hip Homeschooling

Check out our Dollar Days Back to School Sale on our Cottage Store Page! (E-books as low as a $1.00 and as much as 75% off)

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TOS Homeschool Crew Review – SpellQuizzer

Spelling… I have one child that was born spelling out words with no problem; it was an instinct. I have another child who needs the review and extra time spent. So, I volunteered to review the SpellQuizzer spelling software program. We had  a lot of fun trying this out! It is geared toward elementary through high school grade levels. It is easily downloadable to Windows platforms and simple for parents and their children to use. We were up and running within ten minutes after I downloaded the software.

When you open the program, you will see a screen of options from which to choose:

spellquizzer screen shot

You can:

  • choose a list and let your child type in the spelling word the program requests.
  • create a list from your own words that you want the program to test your child on. Here you type in the word, say the word into a microphone you provide (you can also dictate a sentence using the word), and save it to a list. If you do not have a microphone, you can type in the word and a descriptive hint for the word, so your child will know what spelling word he is to type in during the quiz.
  • edit a spelling list. Here you can add or delete words from the list, and change hints, audio files to go with the words or spellings of the words.
  • import spelling lists. SpellQuizzer provides an online Spelling Lists page from which you can download, save, and use ready made lists. These lists include:

                                         sample lists for grades 1 – 8
                                         frequently misspelled words for grades 1 – college
                                         holiday themed word lists
                                         Dolch Sight words
                                         Religious themed words
                                         Season, Months, Days
                                         Greek mythology
                                         US States and State Mottoes

Or, you can import spelling lists from other SpellQuizzer users. They can be friends you know or co-op members. There is even a Yahoo Group!

  • export spelling lists. Here, you can send another user one of your lists you created.
  • use the Help feature to answer questions you may have.

How did this work?

After I chose a sample list or created my own from words that I knew my son was having problems with, we selected the “quiz me” option. From there, the program took over. My son heard an audio file say the word (in a human voice – pleasant) and a sentence using the word. He typed the word into a space on the screen. If he got the spelling right, the program went on to the next word. If he spelled the word incorrectly, a box came up telling him how the word should be spelled, and beneath this was a short explanation of how he spelled the word. My son would then proceed to the next word and move on to complete the quiz. After he had spelled the last word, the program then asked him if he would like to try to spell any of the words he misspelled again. I had my son always click on yes, and he tried again until he got those all correct. The next day I had my son do the same list to see if he remembered all the correct spellings, and he repeated the same procedure again. By the third day, my son was able to spell everything correctly the first time. When he tried the fourth and fifth day as well, he was still able to remember all of the correct spellings.

What did I really like about the program?

I really liked this program because I can customize it with words I know my son is having trouble with. This program allowed me to create a word list one time that my son could practice for a few days on his own, that gave me some extra time to do other things I needed to do. I also liked the fact that it only took about 5 – 10 minutes and it was effective. It gave my son a different venue in which to learn his spelling that he enjoyed. I especially liked that the program immediately corrected my son when he misspelled a word and showed him the correct spelling for that word before he could move on to the next word. The review of all misspelled words at the end was also effective. My son and I enjoyed the applause at the end of the list when he did a good job, too! This is a program I can use throughout their schooling year after year; so I think it is a good investment.

What are some other uses for SpellQuizzer in my home?

I love thinking of new ways to use things and multitask as well. Being an eclectic Charlotte Mason homeschooler, I appreciate the audio files with this program and I can have my child write out the sentences using the spelling words as a form of dictation and review of his spelling if I wanted to. I used this program with my older son for SAT word review and it was very effective for that as well. As an experiment, I also created lists and imported them into my program that asked for answers to math facts (I would type in the answer where you would type in the spelling word, then verbally record the equation), states and capitals, Latin and Greek prefixes, and vocabulary terms and definitions. As long as you can type in the answer, verbally record the question or type it in the hint box, the possibilities in using this program as a way to review facts are endless.

You can find a demonstration and full explanation of the SpellQuizzer program here. It comes with a guarantee and you can download a 30 day free trial offer to see if it works for your family! Or, you can purchase it for $29.95.

I plan on joining the Yahoo Group for SpellQuizzer and upload some of my lists, and hope to share lists with other users. Maybe we can exchange more ideas in using the program for other lists as well!

If you’d like to read more opinions about this product as well as others, please visit The Homeschool Crew blog for more reviews!

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