Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Homeschooling: What is Notebooking, Lapbooks and Copywork?

Do you research the internet for ideas for homeschooling? If so, it is imminent that you will find many, many blogs where moms write about their homeschooling efforts. As I read through some of these informative blogs, (I will have a post soon where I will link to those that in my humble opinion, are some of the best!) terms that I heard (read) the most were: notebooking, lapbooks and copywork.  

If you are starting or thinking about homeschooling, and you want to learn what methods are working for other homeschools, here is your first vocabulary homework:  learn these terms so you know what fits with your education goals!

This is a form of educational journaling or scrapbooking with visual and written components that show what your child has learned.  A fantastic blog post that chronicles all that you need to know about notebooking is here:  There are several tutorials with detailed information to help you understand what notebooking is all ab0ut and if it fits for your child.  

A lapbook begins with making mini-books that cover details of what your child has studied.  When the child has made several mini books about a larger topic, all the books are put together in a large folder.  The finished lapbook is large and can covers your lap. Here's just one place for lapbook info:


A technique from the Charlotte Mason educational philosphy, a simple definition at The Homeschool Magazine states: "Copywork is simply the practice of copying a piece of well-written work from any of a variety of sources onto paper or into a notebook ... It is a method that, when used consistently in your homeschooling studies, will improve your child’s penmanship, grammar, and punctuation skills."  

Another good explanation of copywork from The Well-Trained Mind says: "The purpose of copywork [in the early grades] is to get into the child’s visual (and motor) memory the look and feel of a sentence that is corrrectly composed, and properly spelled, spaced, and punctuated. "

A benefit I have noticed with my 5th grader is that doing some standard "copywork" of terms and sections in a book helps him to retain subject facts much more easily.

Another "term" you may want to know:

Unit Studies
This type of learning works along with the lapbook process.  Here are two websites that give a great explanation of what unit studies are, and aren't.

Hopefully this information will help you as it did for me (and save you from hours on the internet!).  In regards to our family, we are going to do "eclectic" homeschooling (using different curriculum and methods for learning different subjects).  For instance, we will do notebooking for History and Science, sprinkle in some copywork, and keep other subjects fairly traditional for now.  That's the great thing about homeschooling -- YOU fit the education to the way your child learns best!

If you have a suggestion about notebooking, lapbooks and copywriting, write it below in the comments so that we can all learn together!