Lap Booking {and Timeline} Questions Answered

by | Mar 2, 2012 | Frequently Asked Questions, Lap Books, Timeline | 17 comments

I’ve had quite a few questions over the past few months about Lap Booking, so I thought I would post my answers here for anyone else who might be curious.  If you have any other questions to add, please leave them in the comment box and I will do my best to answer them as well. 

“The quality of the cutting, pasting, coloring amazes me. Do your children do it all themselves, or how much do you assist?

I do help my children with some of the cutting.  I’d much rather my children spent their time working on the content on the Lap Books.  I also assemble the base for the lap books (the file folders and any additional pages).   They do the rest of the pasting and all the coloring themselves.

“How did they learn to cut so well?”

Lots of practice. Our children love to cut up paper to create little projects, books, etc, which I often find all over the house.  It sometimes drives me crazy! 😉   We also have a paper cutter (an older version of this one) that we use all the time.

“Where do you buy your colored file folders?” 

Locally at Staples, or online from Amazon.  I have purchased a few 100 count boxes (including this box of assorted primary file folders) and probably have enough to last a very long time!

“Do you use just regular glue sticks for the pasting?”

Yes, glue sticks work wonderfully.   We go through a lot of glue sticks in our home!  I always stock up during the Back-to-School sales in the fall.  We also use some double sided tape as well.    Oh, and also regular tape or packing tape to attach extra pages.

“Does the history CD include all the lapbook components as printables?”

All the products we have used made by Homeschool in the Woods have been amazing!  So far my boys have completed their New Testament Lap Book, and New World Explorers Lap Book, and a Colonial Life Lap Book, using the mini-books found on the corresponding Time Travelers CD-Roms.   These CD-Rom’s are a little on the expensive side (I’ve purchased most of ours discounted on Amazon) but worth every penny!   Homeschool in the Woods is not a Catholic company, and I haven’t used or read through any of the included lesson plans that also come on the CD’s to be able to tell you if they contain any anti-Catholic material, but the mini-books are so detailed and well made, plus I can easily modify our Lap Books to add a bit of Catholic History as well.   (We added Our Lady of Guadalupe to our New World Explorers Lap Book and Inspirational Catholic of Colonial Times to the Colonial Life Lap Book.)   The CD-rom’s also include creative writing activities, recipes, time period craft instructions, file folder games, and so much more.

{Merchant Marauder Game made by Rascal using printables from the New World Explorers CD-Rom}

“Do you print everything out and do just one or two elements of the lapbook per day, or do you have large chunks of time devoted to it periodically?” 

Both. Depending on how organized I am at any given time, I will pre-assign certain mini books to go along with what they are reading that particular week. Towards the end of each unit we do end up spending a whole afternoon, or two, finishing up any projects/mini-books that are not yet completed and then assembling the lap book. Oh, and I do try and print out everything we will need for the whole lap book at one time…

However, I quickly learned that there is absolutely no need to print out EVERYTHING, like I did when we first started creating Lap Books!  Now I just scan through the documents on the computer, if we are using a purchased lap book with various options, only printing the select pages that are needed for each particular lap book.  This saves so much ink and paper!

“We like lapbooks here as well but I find it’s a lot of work to try and get mine to focus on the whole process and not just the end result. Maybe they need to get older?”

We had that same problem when we first started making lap books.  Over time I found that if I begin with just assigning one or two mini-books at a time (instead of a whole lap book project), in addition to some corresponding picture books/reading material, it isn’t nearly as overwhelming.  That way it is much easier to focus on each topic and before you know it you have everything you need to assemble your lap book!

“How do you store your children’s lap books?”

Even though it make not seem like it, we really don’t make all that many lap books.  The ones we do make we spend plenty of time on, really making them worth the extra effort.   My children are all very proud of each one of their lap books and just love to pull them out and share with any visitors that come over.  Up until now, one magazine file box for each of the boys, and one for the girls to share, has been plenty.   Probably sometime this year I will pick up 3 more, so the boys will each have two and the girls will each have their own.   We keep them on a bookshelf in the school room, right next to our Draw Write Now and Draw and Write Through History Collections.

“Do you have any other hints so we can get our lapbooks to look that good?” 
Also, since I do assign the mini-books individually, we store them in gallon sized ziplock bags until each unit is completed and the Lap Book is ready to be assembled.    This really helps prevent the individual mini-books from getting lost or damaged.  I also oversee and help (when necessary) with the layout and assembly.   

“I was looking at that same timeline book recently, so I wanted to ask how you like it… does it include enough space for every century? Is it in a 3 ring binder so the pages can be taken out or more can be added as necessary? Do you have one for the whole family, or does each child have his own?”

I would have to say that not only do I like our timelines, they are at the very top of my list of favorites.   I LOVE these books!  Each of our school-aged children has their own Record of Time, and Chiquita received one this year.  She was very excited!  (They are available directly from the publisherAmazon, Sacred Heart Books and Gifts, or from RC History’s new website!)

The beautiful 3-Ring Hard-Cover Binder measures 12″ x 9″ and lays flat when open.  It comes with 122 ivory colored cardstock pages which are dated from 5000 BC to 2025 AD, as well as an additional 17 pages of maps and a signature page to personalize the Record Book.

For the most part they create their own illustrations (rather than using pre-printed timeline figures) to add to their timelines.   They will continue adding to their books each year, creating quite the keepsake by the time they graduate!


  1. Nicole

    Jessica, thank you for taking time to write up this post. Those history timelines look wonderful!

  2. Collette

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your notes & resources! Homeschool in the Woods looks like a fantastic source….something I've been having a hard time finding for my family. Blessings!

  3. Kristi

    Jessica, thank you for such a wonderfully inspiring blog. I delight in it each time I visit. May I ask where you purchased the magazine files you keep your lapbooks in. Also, where did you find all your beautiful woven baskets you use as your book baskets? Thank you so much. God bless you.

  4. Jessica Gordon

    The magazine files are from Wal Mart – ours usually carries quite a few different seasonal colors, but I choose the white ones to blend in with our bookshelves. I checked their website, but I wasn't able to find them online…

    The woven baskets we have are from Michaels, one was a set of four (that can nest inside each other when not in use) and the other two have handles on the sides which will rip out if your children try to lift it when the basket is filled with books. 😉 Michaels frequently has great sales on their baskets, or you can purchase them with their 40-50% off coupons.

  5. Anonymous

    May I ask: Do you plan to homeschool through highschool? You are doing a great job! I come here for lots of ideas for our homeschool. My oldest is the same age as yours, but we only have 4 children.


  6. Jessica Gordon

    We haven't made a decision either way. That is still a little ways off, and who knows what God has in store for us between now and then. If we do end up home educating for high school as well, I really hope that hiring tutors will be an option, or that we will be able to use some of the online classes that are now becoming available.

  7. Anonymous

    This is great Jessica! Thank you!

    A note on homeschoolining high school. It is not as hard as you might think. Expect some rebellion in 9th grade ( this has been my experience so far with my two high schoolers) but at that age they are very independent and will work for you if you stay strong. I can't tell you how many incredible conversations I have had with my older kids about their studies. Things we never would have done if not for homeschooling.

    Also and most importantly, homeschooling high school is, in my experience and opinion, more important than any other level. The things middle schoolers and high schoolers are exposed to is frightening on so many levels. It doesn't matter if it is privte or public, high schools are dangerous places both physically and mentally. I was going to be a high school teacher until I saw what the schools were like. I am so blessed to have been able to homeschool my junior and freshman high schoolers!

  8. Stephanie

    Thank you so much for sharing your life, your family, your faith, etc. through this blog. I just discovered it & am so very grateful. I am just beginning my homeschooling journey – I have a soon-to-be 5 year old daughter, soon-to-be 3 year old daughter & 5 month old daughter. I am very new to homeschooling and really have very few "contacts" to answer/get me started. Your blog has been such a blessing as I begin putting together a curriculum. I was just curious if you have a few suggestions for resources, books, etc. that came in helpful when you first began homeschooling.
    May God continue to bless you as you bless others.

  9. Tiny Actions

    This post couldn't have come at a better time. My oldest is Twinkle Toe's age and we're just busting out a lot of lapbooks, really understanding history and in need of a timeline. So, so nice of you to showcase a little bit of your homeschooling day with us. Thank you.

  10. fadfd

    I was just going through the Sacrament of Confession lap book CD this morning; deciding on what to copy. We started lapbooking with the Year of the Priest lap book and I remember printing out the whole thing. We had a lot of scrap paper for a while.

    Now, high school for us has been great and challenging. I agree with Amy regarding the difficulties out there in schools. But I have to say we've seen difficulities in all areas. Be it softball teams or co-ops. The lovely thing about the older ages is, at least here with us (and let me say it does vary with each family) their level of understanding and their strong faith.
    We take homeschooling year to year and leave it to God to lead us. I know you do the same. BTW, there are some great online options; Thinkwell, currclick, and Homeschool Connections have been a great help. "Lucy" is taking her first course with Homeschool Connections…so far so good.

  11. Mary Beth

    Could you post some more pictures of your home school room? I'm looking for some ideas about how to organize ours. Thanks!

  12. Anonymous

    Hi Jessica,

    I was looking at the reviews on Amazon about the
    Draw and Write Through History (Creation through Jonah, Volume 1)
    I saw there were some concerns about the book. How dinosaurs and people lived together and other things they mentioned. What is your opinion on the volume1?
    Thanks and God bless you.

  13. Jessica Gordon

    Interesting… We actually don't own the first Volume yet. I thought I would wait until we are studying Ancient History again before adding it to our collection. The volumes we own are The Vikings, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; Pilgrims, Pirates, and Patriots; Napoleon to Lady Liberty: The World of the 1800's; and Invention, Exploration and the War: The 20th Century. We use both of these drawing series specifically for learning different drawing techniques (the kids drew me amazing pictures of the Alamo inspired by one of these books, while I was in TX last fall) and not for the cursive copywork in the Draw and Write series. I guess I will have to try and take a look at a copy before ordering the first volume, but I'm not sure I'd have a problem with it showing men and dinosaurs at the same time… Didn't God create both Man and Animal on the 6th day? From the description it says that this book teaches how to draw a dinosaur, Noah's Ark, a giraffe, the tower of Babel, a pyramid, mummy, sphinx, silk worm moth, giant panda, Bible characters, the Trojan horse, a phoenician ship, and more… I am not sure how interested my boys would be in learning how to draw a mummy or a sphinx, but those types of illustrations might come in handy for their timeline illustrations for Ancient History. I guess we will see. Sorry I can't be more helpful!

  14. Jessica Gordon

    My home school room… My husband says I should post a few pictures of it, if only to practice the virtue of humility! Seriously, the only inspiration you would get from seeing that room at the moment would be to get in your car and come help me clean it! 😉 Actually it really isn't quite that bad, but I do have quite a few piles that I've been working on sorting through, and it is a very small room. Once I get through them I will take a few pictures to share. I've moved a few things around, and added more school books/supplies, but other rhan that it really hasn't changed too much since I posted pictures in 2009.

  15. Anonymous

    I don't have any of these books…but there is proof that dinosaurs lived and we have no clue when and if humans were alive than too…maybe they all lived together before the flood, maybe not…that is a question we will only know the answer to when we go to Heaven and can ask God 🙂 but there is proof of their existance…so they were a very real thing in history…

  16. Amber

    Dear Jessica,

    I wanted to thank you for for encouraging me to take another look at the Time Travelers series and to think of out of the box with it. I tried the New Explorers one and we weren't very happy with it – but I was trying to do everything in it as well as doing all our other subjects! I think we would have been so much happier with it if I had selected out what I wanted to use and set aside the rest, as it sounds like you did in using it with your children. We're studying Lewis and Clark right now, and we'll be covering the War of 1812, Westward Expansion, and the Gold Rush through the rest of the school year (and the summer *ahem* We're moving slowly through history because we're enjoying it so much!) so I decided to get the Early 19th Century Time Travelers to use with all of this. I'm looking forward to picking and choosing and adding in some of these games, activities and lapbook pieces.

    By the way, I remember when I was using all the written material that came with the Explorers set I felt I need to edit some of the writing and omit other parts because of the content. I don't remember anything completely anti-Catholic, but there were some parts that were incomplete or just showed a lack of understanding/bias. I can't think of anything specific (this was almost two years ago) but I do remember having to make some changes.

    Thank you for posting this!

  17. Naptime Seamstress

    Thanks for this post. WE just did our first-ever lapbooks and really enjoyed them. I had several questions that were answered by this post! Thanks so much for the peek into your homeschool.


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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