I just bought this great Lapbook Unit, now what? Ever thought that? Well no worries! It’s easy to pull it apart and figure out what you want to do when. One of the reasons I fell in love with HOAC’s Units long ago was that I had the option of creating a Lapbook like I wanted to. It wasn’t a cookie cutter thing where my Lapbook will look exactly the same as Joe Smith next door. (Can you tell I was the type of student that ALWAYS colored outside the box?!) I love the ability to create my own thing and I hope I’m instilling confidence in my kids to be able to take something and make it their own too.
First things first: find the Activities page. Depending on the Unit, it will be a list of questions or a list labeled “Activities and Instructions”. Print that out! If it’s a list of questions, simply group like questions together. I usually try for one to three questions a day …. depending on how much writing is required. If your Unit has an “Activities and Instructions” guide in it, then it is already grouped together for you. However, I have been known to change that …. depending on the writing and how it fits into our schedule!
Another thing that we do is schedule Vocabulary Words and Timeline graphics for each day. Sort of “fill them in as you get to them in the study” type thing. Another words, study the Vocabulary Words that you read in the guide that day while doing your activities.
Now you need to figure out how many days you want this study to be. I always try to include what is happening around the house, outings and field trips as well as a trip to the store that could easily turn into an all day thing!!
You’re almost done! You just need to plug it all together! Take each group and match it up with a day. Putting groups that are heavy (a lot of writing and/or research) on days that are empty (no trips anywhere) and days that are light on days that have errands and such on them.
You can make out a really cool S & S (Scope and Sequence) for yourself if you wish. Mine has Day 1, Day 2 ect listed down the left hand side of the paper with the following titles across the top: Theme, Activities, Guide, Vocab Words. I like to make a Theme for each day that revolves around the Activities that we are doing that day. I try to bring in the Basic Five, as I call it (Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Science and History) into each Lapbook I teach. It’s really easy with HOAC products, cause they are mostly all done for you! The Activities you have already done, the guide is simple: just look over the Activities that you will be doing that day and find the answers in the Guide. Write down the title of the articles in the Guide on your S & S. Then go through the Guide Reading and write down any Vocab Words that are in bold print. Those are the Vocab words that you need to study for that day.
No, I don’t do “all this” for each and every lapbook. If it’s a study that I know a lot about, I totally wing it!!! However, the less I know about the subject matter I’m teaching, the more planning I do. It is my responsibility to teach my kids …. not the curriculums, not anyone else but me. That’s tough …. but it’s the truth.
Part of the joy of Lapbooking is letting your kids have creative license to make it their project. This includes letting the kids take a day at the end of the project and put it together how they want to! I have two kids and usually the same Unit looks completely different for each of their projects. Sometimes they choose to put everything in the same place as their brother/sister has it, but more often than not, each come up with their own way of putting it all together! (We put all the ‘little books’ that we create each day into a plastic zip baggie and keep them all till the last day. Then that last day we spend “creating” the actual Lapbook.) We usually start with two file folders folded and pasted together, then add extenders as needed. (it all depends on which activities and how many activities you covered as too how many file folders/extenders you will use. Of course, your child will help with that too. Mine LOVE to draw in-between the “little books” (activities), so it takes up even more room and we come out with “Lapbooks on steroids”!!)
Want a checklist? Here you go:
Maggie McCormick is mom to two kids, one of whom has special needs (ADHD/ODD/Aspergers). She has been homeschooling since 2002 and was first introduced to Lapbooking the summer of 2003. Maggie is married to her best friend Dave. They live in the mountains of Southern California where they homeschool their kids. Encouraging and lifting up fellow moms and dads of special needs kids is a passion of Maggie’s. You can visit Dave and Maggie online at www.MaggieMcCormick.com When asked about homeschooling, she is often heard saying, “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but oh, so worth it!”
I am amazed at how many kids …. mainly boys are learning how to read later in life now a days. It’s not just the Special Needs Kids who are learning to read late. I’ve got good news for you: Don’t give up, they can still learn to read!
These “Late Learners” have a unique challenge: wanting to read something that is their level of reader, but not full of baby pictures! While trying to teach Ian to read, I came to the heartbreaking reality that there really aren’t any good Supplements out there for older learners. All the Supplements are geared toward younger kids and have lots of graphics and big chunky drawings all over them.
So, I got busy and researched and tested. My poor kids had so many different designs and “here, try this … do you like it? Will you use it?” but in the end, they loved using the Big Kid Supplements. And what’s better …. they were fun, easy and they worked!
Ian’s first favorite and therefore the first of the Supplements we produced are the Word Fans. The Word Fans consists of 30 Word Family endings that can make over 100 different words! All you need to do is print and cut out the fans and connect with a brad. Personally, I made one fan for every Word Family and put them all in a plastic bag. At first, I put them in five different bags (a, e, i, o, u). But as Ian got better and better at making real words, I put them all in one bag and he got to pick out several Word Fans for that days “Fun Time”.
These Fans are very versatile. As your child gets older, you can add other consonants that might or might not make a word in that word family. Or you can take one of each of the consonants and each of the Word Families and secure them all into one fan. Then your child can make any kind of word or create a “non-word”. That, of course opens up another avenue to teach about words and “non-words”. While your at it, try your hand at Creative Writing using some of those non-words! There are so many ways to use these wonderful fans.
Recently I was asked what I use to homeschool. Well, due to financial restrictions out of my control … I use lots and lots of freebies! But, I do also invest in some add-ons, however … I’m very particular about what I actually spend $ on! I want to be up front with you all and let you now that I do not get any money or any kind of compensation for any of these recommendations. I’m only sharing with you what I personally use.
First has to be Hands of a Child. (http://www.handsofachild.com/2/) I LOVE Lapbooks and they make the easiest Lapbook Units around!! You can check out a free (yup, I said FREE) Lapbook Unit on their site. Look down on the left hand side and you will see a freebie button, click that and you can get a FULL Lapbook Unit for FREE!!!Â Make sure and sign up for their newsletter too. That way you know when all the sales are!Â Another thing this company offers is a Membership Page. They call it Super Memberships and man is it a good deal! A brand new Unit every month plus all the extras on the Membership Page …very well worth the $. We are using HOAC for both our Science and our History curriculum this year. We love it!
Hopefully you have a lot of space on your computer, cause you’ll need it if you sign up for The Erskine Family’s “LIVINGBOOKS FOR THE EARS” Newsletter A free service of www.homeschoolradioshows.com This is a great site, and make sure and sign up for the weekly FREE downloads!!! They also have a Membership site which I invested in … and already, within the first month, have gotten more out of the site than that which I put into it! Jim Erskine is a wonderful homeschooling dad … I love reading his little adventures and such! And wow, are his kids talented!!! I’m impressed!
At my first homeschooling convention, I saw these wonderful drawings that went with the History curriculum we were looking at. The curriculum didn’t work at our house … but the Historical Timeline Figures are still a hit … 5 years later!!! You can see them by checking out http://www.homeschoolinthewoods.com/HTTA/timeline.htm and don’t miss out by not signing up for Amy Pak’s newsletters:
http://www.hands-onteachingtips.com/newsletter/current.htm They are AWESOME!!! Each of them is a Unit Lesson all there for you to teach! So informative and now her kids are starting to write some of them! Oh, she’s just one of my fav’s!!! A real homeschooling mom and a real artist too!
Of course, HSLDA is a must for us independent homeschoolers. You can check out their site at: http://www.hslda.org Seriously, do NOT try to homeschool in the US with out being a member of this. They are lawyers and are here for you and your kids. They are awesome.
The final site I’d like to mention today is ABC Teach. Oh my goodness! I took years to finally join them, but once I did, I realized how much I could use and how it’s not just a bunch of worksheets!!! It has all sorts of helps for Ian in learning phonics … wall words, sort words … on and on and on! Go check them out … but remember … they are SO much more than just worksheets! http://abcteach.com
One very interesting note on all of these sites is that they all offer freebies! If you just don’t know and want to make sure before you buy … these are the sites you want to check out! They work for me!
Hey all you fellow Californian’s! I would LOVE to meet you! I will be at the CHN Convention here in California on August 10th, 11th & 12th in Ontario. Come and say “Hi” to me at the Hands Of A Child booth or at one of two seminars. The fist seminar is on Friday, August 10th at 1pm in room 310 and it is “Lapbooking for Special Needs”. This one is gonna be great! Lots of ideas to take home and try with your own Special Kid. The next seminar is Sunday, August 12th at 9:30am. This one is a General Lapbooking seminar and fellow Homeschooling mom and awesome writer, Kris Doyle, will be joining me. We will be sharing lots of tricks to creating fun and exciting Lapbooks including the new Template Unit from HOAC!
The CHN convention will be held at Ontario Marriott Hotel. Check out the web page for the convention: http://www.californiahomeschool.net/events/expo/familyexpo.htm . Lots and lots for everyone to do! See you there!
“I have the best Special Needs Curriculum for you.” Ever heard that before? I have, tons of times! The longer you homeschool your Special Needs Child, the more you realize that there is NO curriculum out there that is “perfect” for every Special Needs Child. As a mom and teacher, you know your child better than any one else. God’s given you the ability to listen and learn about your child more than any one else in the whole world.
An amazing fact that I am still wrestling with is that what clicks with my Special Son one day, might not click with him the next day. How he learned yesterday isn’t how he’s learning today. It means that I need to have tons of ideas to teach the same thing. Tons of ways to say/eat/feel/act the same thing. I’m not that good. I need help!
That’s where CoOps come in. Only problem with the “normal” CoOps is that we live up in the mountains and it takes about 45 min to drive off the mountain, then another who knows how long to get where ever! So … I turned to my friend: the internet!
I’ve already written about Homeschooling Conventions and how to not sell the farm when going to one (http://www.maggiemccormick.com/?cat=6), so I won’t repeat myself. But I do want to reference back to my meeting Tammy Duby (a normal mom who just happens to be famous). When sitting in Tammy’s workshop, learning how to make Lapbooks, I realized that this is a great way to reach Ian (my Special Son). But I was totally stuck on how to take the information and actually create a lapbook.
Enter “Hands of a Child” (http://www.handsofachild.com) If you like the idea of a Lapbook, but don’t have a clue how to put it all together, you have to check out this company. They take the pain out of putting it all together. Kimm and Niki create the most wonderful mini-books and graphics and Katie writes the guides that tell all about the unit. It works out great. They have a free lapbook that you can download so that you can see if you and your child like lapbooking. (follow the “Freebie” link)
Personally, I downloaded the free Lapbook, did it with my kids and was hooked! I became a Super Member and got lots of free stuff. Then Niki started up this thing called CoOps. Oh wow! I signed up for the CoOps and we started on a learning adventure!
What we, as moms/teachers of Special Needs kids need most is options. Options of ways to present the same material in a multitude of different ways. That’s what’s so great about the HOAC CoOps. Here is a very short explanation of the HOAC CoOps:
Now, here’s where we get all the options. There are about 9 “core” jobs and 7 other jobs that are filled when more moms join the CoOps. So … even if only the “core” jobs are filled … you still have everything that the HOAC ladies bring to the unit, plus all the other “jobs” that the other moms bring to the unit … all placed into the Daily Unit Planner. You can then print out the Daily Unit Planner (or just bring it up on your computer) and pick and choose all the things that will work for your Special Learner. My favorite job to look through is the Preschool Princess.Â No, my son is not Preschool, but the fun, hands on stuff they come up with is just perfect for my Special Son.
How do I know so much about the CoOps? Well, after several CoOps, Niki figured out just how much I LOVE the CoOps and asked me if I wanted to help out with them. One thing lead to another and now I’m the CoOps Coordinator for HOAC. But even if I didn’t have anything to do with the running of the CoOps … I’d still be signed up for every single one of them and totally involved. They are THAT great!
If you are interested in learning more about the HOAC CoOps, you can join the “News Group” at http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/HOAC-Co-Op-News/ (if this link doesn’t work, please copy/paste into your browsers address bar). Look in the files section for the 2007 … 2008 Schedule and the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure). The SOP will give you a great overview of what the CoOps are and how they work. You can also email Niki or I at Co-Ops@HandsofaChild.com with any questions that you might have.
The Homeschooling Conventions
How in the world do you homeschool a Special Needs child without selling the farm? Well, speaking from someone who sold the farm – hind sight is 20/20!
My first Homeschooling Convention and I was one of about 5,000 moms and dads walking around the Ontario Convention Center in California. After walking up and down the isles of the Vendor Hall, my eyes were huge with wonder … and a little bit of doubt. How in the world was I going to educate my wonderful boy? This Special Needs child with a GREAT heart but such a different way of thinking.
I decided I needed a little food break! So off I headed to the snack line. While standing there (in a very long line) the lady in front of me turned, looked at me and said, “You look so lost. Are you ok?” “Well, I’m not sure” was my honest reply! We struck up a conversation and I ended up telling her about my special son She listened and smiled, then she asked me if I would stop by a booth five rows down, eight booths up.
So after lunch, I walked up the correct row and stopped at the eighth booth. Hmmmm. Tobin’s Lab…I wonder what that is? The lady I met in the snack line was there and she waved to me then introduced herself: Tammy Duby. She showed me some of these really cool things called Lapbooks that her kids made. She explained that most kids (especially our Special Kids) learn when they hear the lesson and then “do” the lesson. Then she invited me to a workshop that she was giving on making a Lapbook – “but get there early, as they always run out of seats for my workshops!”
I got there early and got a seat, then I learned about the most exciting thing … a Lapbook. And you know what? I actually made a Lapbook right then and there!!! I was SO excited! “Oh, THIS is what I need for my Ian – this is what will help him learn!” I bought a book about Lapbooking and was set for the day.
Next day, I went back and heard more speakers and was convinced that well, maybe if I buy this program, my sweet boy will learn better. I can’t tell you how much $ I spent at that convention…over $2,000 on this or that that was made “especially for Learning Disabled kids”. I will go into detail on all the different things that we tried, what worked, what didn’t and why in several different posts later, but for now, suffice to say…I sold the farm.
Now I wish I could say that I learned from my first year at a convention…but I didn’t! The next year and even the year after that, I went and sold the farm…again!!! (I’m fairly thick skulled – ya think??) FINALLY I got smart!!! Now, weeks before I go to the convention, I go to the convention web site and look at all the vendors. Then I look up all the vendors web sites and make a list of what I might want to get from them. Then I sit on it for at least a week!! Pray about it and ask His guidance on spending $. After all, it is His $ I’m spending (took me a long while to learn this important truth).
After I’ve gone over my list but one more time, I print out my final copy of what I REALLY need. Amazingly enough, it came to less than $150!!! So all the rest was just emotional spending – THE absolute worst kind of spending you can have! And off to the Convention I go with my list in my hand and my head held high!
So, let’s recap:
Have fun at Conventions. Meet other homeschoolers in your area. Go listen to the speakers – especially those who work with Special Needs Kids. Get encouraged. And don’t forget that CD table! Most Conferences record the speakers. Most speakers allow the conference to sell the tapes. If a speaker doesn’t allow his or her tape to be sold at the conference – take notice. Those that do allow – like Joyce Herzog – are wonderful,