Lapbooks offer hands-on, creative approaches for researching and recording information, creating study tools, and summarizing or illustrating what a student has learned. In short lapbooks are a tool for organizing and presenting learning on a particular topic. These are especially useful with unit studies, but they will also work with other educational approaches.
Lapbooks are constructed from three, colored file folders that are cut, folded, and glued to create a single, complex folder. Smaller "booklets" are created and attached within it. (See the illustration to the right.) Knowledge Box Central provides the instructions, templates for the booklets, questions or directions for the student for each booklet. The small booklets are where the creativity shines. It's hard to find two alike from lapbook to lapbook. They fold like accordions, have inserts, twirl around brads like spinners, or have multiple layers--the permutations are endless.
Many lapbook kits also include background information, although some will require research.
Some lapbooks were created specially to correlate with Jeannie Fulbright's Exploring Creation science textbooks (published by Apologia.) Some correlate with Tapestry of Grace studies. All can be used independent of any particular curriculum.
There are lapbooks for History and Geography (such as the Ancient Egypt Lapbook), Science, Bible and Character Building, Holidays, Book Reports, and Interviews with Grandmother or Grandfather.
Knowledge Box Central offers lapbooks in a variety of formats: ebook (download), CD, printed version with templates, and assembled version. Only selected titles are available assembled. As you can tell from the photo above, these are relatively complex projects that take a bit of time to put together, before students even begin to enter information. If you have students who enjoy the arts and crafts part of it (or if you do yourself), by all means get a do-it-yourself version. If you're short on time and/or inclination to do all the cut-and-paste work, go for the assembled versions. (Check their website to see which are available in the various formats.) Obviously prices will vary depending upon the format. Base prices for ebook versions are mostly in the $15-$20 range, with complete course lapbooks sets for some of the Exploring Creation Lapbooks selling for about $37.
Prices are higher for CDs, printed, and assembled versions.
Lapbooks might be a great way to motivate students who prefer arts and crafts to do research and writing. Other students might enjoy them simply because this is a different, more creative way to learn and present information.