I'm not sure where the phrase 'lap book' came from, but if you are a homeschooler you've heard the term. A lapbook is a learning manipulative that generally consists of a file folder (or two, or three) with small pieces of paper glued inside. These folded papers inside contain facts, diagrams, maps, illustrations, photos, etc. related to the subject of study. Lapbooks can be adapted for any subject and grade level. I like to think of lapbooks as a smaller, more condensed version of any project I did as a child. We liked things bigger in the '80s (think hair...clothes....cars), so the Dinosaur report consisted of three extra large pieces of poster board along with an additional large binder of dinosaur skeleton sketches. I'm guessing that throughout the years some wise parent came along and thought, Let's condense this project into something that would fit on our 'laps'. I enjoy lapbooks because in my former life (my life before homeschooling) I was an avid scrapbooker. Creating a lapbook is much like making a scrapbook on a certain subject. You can be as creative and/or detailed as you'd like. You can see some great pictures of lapbooks here.
Over the weekend we quickly assembled these lapbooks for our History Sentences. I mentioned in an earlier post that our curriculum this year has us memorizing U.S. History. We'll memorize details, facts, and events that have shaped our nation beginning with Columbus and ending with 9/11. I want my children to review these facts and events on their own, so they designed these lapbooks to assist them in this effort. I stapled two file folders together. I printed the coloring pictures from this website, and my children glued the top half of the illustrations to the folders. Then they wrote the prompt (or event, i.e. Boston Tea Party, War of 1812), on the folder and the sentence that corresponds to the event underneath each picture. They have their first 12 weeks of History sentences to review in this simple illustrated lapbook.