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Should You Use A Lapbook Or Notebook?

October 13, 2015 3 min read

Lapbook or notebook?

Notebook or lapbook?

It’s a question that we hear often here at Sassafras Science since we offer both a lapbook and a notebook, a.k.a. logbook.

Both are fantastic ways of recording what a student is learning through notebooking, but there are differences between the two.

We thought that we would invite Paige to come back to the blog today to help clear up the difference for us all!

Let's get to it...

Lapbook Or Notebook?

Should you use a Lapbook or Notebook?

We have used lots of lapbooks and lots of notebooks in our 10+ years of homeschool. And I much prefer to use these two formats of notebooking over worksheets.

But before I share which I like to use the best, lapbook or notebook, let me share a bit more about the two with you.

What Is A Lapbook?

A lapbook is an educational scrapbooks that fit into the lap of a student.

A lapbook usually contains a collection of related mini-books on a certain subject. Each of these is then glued into a file folder for easy viewing. Plus, you can also include pictures or projects that the student has completed.

Lapbooks are great for younger students because they only need to record one or two facts into interesting-looking mini-books.

What Is A Notebook?

A notebook is a workbook—spiral bound, pre-printed, or blank—that student can use to record what he or she is learning.

A notebook will provide space for the student to include both the material and visual components of notebooking. The material component of notebooking contains the information the student has learned. The visual component of notebooking displays a picture of the concept the student has studied.

One of the benefits of using a notebook is that it allows for plenty of room for the student to record what he or she has learned. In other words, notebooks are perfect for recording all the facts that the student finds meaningful.

How To Choose – Lapbook Or Notebook?

So which do I prefer to use in our homeschool?

Both - I know I am being as clear as muddy water!

Seriously though, both lapbooks and notebooks have a place in my teacher toolbox. That said, there are a few questions you can ask to help to determine your answer to whether to use a lapbook or notebook.

1.   How Proficient Is My Student With Writing?

A student who is barely writing might find all the white space of a notebook intimidating, while the student who writes well might be limited by the space a mini-book in a lapbook provides.

2.   How Long Do I Plan On Spending On This Unit?

If you are only devoting a few weeks to your studies, a lapbook can be the best choice for your situation. If you will be spending an entire semester on the subject, a notebook is the better option.

3.   How Old Are My Students?

In my experience, younger students tend to gravitate towards lapbooks over notebooks. While older students seem to prefer the freedom that a notebook provides over a lapbook.

4.   Which Do I (Or My Student) Prefer?

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule! If you or your student love lapbooks, you should try to use them as often as possible no matter what their age or writing ability may be, and the same goes for notebooks!

Paige Hudson


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