Day 27: Lapbooks & why I’m making peace with crafts. #Back2School in #31Days

B2S Day 27 Lapbooks peace with crafts

Remember my list of resources from the GHC in 2015?

I was thinking about a few of the items on the list this past weekend actually. My thought was, I don’t want to be a bad example to my readers – writing huge long lists of “good things” to read and buy and then doing nothing with it. Other than maybe feel good in the moment of accumulation.

You know that feeling of purpose that comes from making a huge commitment to something (similar to New Year’s resolutions or an online challenge)?

The feeling that fades into a mild to moderate shade of guilt when life keeps moving and little to none of the items purchased actually get used?

Yeah, I don’t like that feeling, but I have dealt with it more times than I want to talk about.

So, I want to bring one item from the list into the light today and say that I’m actually using it. It was really a wise purchase, and I hope that encourages you to look into the good things you’ve bought before and see if there’s anything you can still use too.

It’s never too late to be a good steward of your stuff.

I bought Lapbooking Made Simple from TheBusyMom Heidi St. John (she was such a wonderful speaker, I highly recommend going to see her in person if you ever have the chance).

Making the commitment to purchase this eBook guide forced me to work through some major hurdles I had all lined up – keeping me from any sort of crafting in our home education.

My 3 hurdles:

First, I’m not a crafter at all.

I kind of loathe foam cut-outs, glitter glue, and construction paper. (There. I said it.)

I tried liking these things when my firstborn was a toddler because I thought that was what the ideal mom would do. My husband made me a whole piece of furniture to contain my mass of craft stuff.

I let my daughter take things out of the closet sometimes. When I did, the cleaning up drove me crazy. So, during one of our moves – I threw everything away.


Goodbye crafting. And good riddance.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had confused “busy toddler activities” with “any crafting supply.” Let me tell you that there is a huge difference. (I’ll write a post on my current toddler busy activities.)

Second, there has been a certain level of crafting since then in each of the curricula packages we’ve used. So, I’ve done my best to be engage and involved – excited to make and create – buying the glue sticks and glitter (heaven help me, I hate glitter) all over again.

The problem I created as I attempted to introduce the right crafts at the right time was: I gathered everything necessary for the entire year in advance (wanting to be prepared) before I knew if my kids even liked the crafts.

They didn’t.

So, I was stuck with an entire alphabet-based curriculum printed out (times 2) all organized in a file folder box that my kids didn’t like and wouldn’t use.

I have since vowed to stop printing things in advance for my kids to trace, cut, or craft because I wasted so much money trying to do it all when my kids were in the preschool stage.

Third, I see now that my distaste for crafts has in fact affected my kids in a negative way. For a long time I had them answer this constant question: What makes mommy crazy? “Messes make mommy crazy.” They would say.

I didn’t mean for them to internalize guilt for crafting and creating (what I saw as just another mess to clean up) but they did.

Now that they are in early and mid-elementary grades, they are so much more capable of the crafts and the clean-up! It was my fault in the first place to even trust a 3-year-old with scissors!


This is from 2010. My daughter cut through her shirt!

My frustration was all due to my lack of understanding, my rush to teach, and my imperfect progress as a housekeeper.

So, I’m making peace with crafts, and just committing to “try” lapbooking.

What is a Lapbook?

Imagine a science fair project board – you know the stand up cardboard display that the student decorates with all the facts, pictures, and reports they learned in the process of testing their project? Yes, take that and shrink it to fit inside a simple file folder – that’s a lapbook.

Let me tell you why I will be trying lapbooks this year:

  1. Because gluing all the extra papers associated with a unit into one place will help me with my I don’t like papers floating all over the house feeling.
  2. My school-aged kids are old enough to take ownership of their lapbooks. Meaning, I won’t be the one stuck at the table gluing, taping, and picking up scraps while they watch Sesame Street! They are able to get out the supplies (color-coded which eliminates the sharing-becomes-fighting noise) design their craft, and clean it all up while I play an audiobook for us to enjoy while sipping a cup of coffee.
  3. For keeping records and making memories. Why lapbooks? Because the notebooks we’ve created in the past have had this wonderful effect on the kids of drawing them back into the pages where they study the crafts, pictures, and reports they have written – learning and relearning all the important and fun facts.

They don’t care to pour over their old math workbooks, but they will want to have easy access to these lapbooks. So, I do need to designate a home for their lapbooks to live within reach.

This whole year is going to stretch me out of my original teaching style with the unit studies, lapbooks, and block schedule but I’m so grateful to continue to grow in my own learning journey.

Further resources for lapbooking:

One final thought: I know I’ve made myself sound a little bit like a lunatic when it comes to crafting, and maybe you found yourself concerned for me or my kids. Let me tell you that even though I can write about it now in jest – it has taken me a long time to process the feelings that came from living like a “bad mom.” If you’re struggling to be your child’s safe place or you want to better determine what elements of education are important in your home, I recommend reading through the Parenting Purpose Statement.

This is Day 27 (almost done!) in the #31Days to #Back2School series; check out Day 1 and the Index by clicking here.

A BIG THANK-YOU to everyone who purchased this course:

Crystal Paine’s #MakeOverYourMornings course has been one of the most inspiring sources of help-to-change for me, and I hope it will be for you too. Join me and a group of friends as we go through this course now! Comment or contact me if you want in on the group encouragement.

Read my post detailing the 5 things I needed most from the course, and how this course was the catalyst to some really great changes in my life.

Thank you for reading this post. If you've found it helpful, bookmark or share it for future reference. There are affiliate links in this post, because that's just good business - they are all marked by underlining. If you want to know more about affiliate links read my disclosure. As always, be sure to subscribe for more free content and to download your free guide to writing your own Parenting Purpose Statement.

It’s a blankie, and way more than a blankie.

We were in the van on our way to ballet and the ACE program, and I was listening to the news.

(Note: Don’t listen to the news with young children unless you like answering hard questions.)

This was unusual for me because I don’t like to expose my kids to too much violence. We talk about the world in layers. Right now they are in the layer where they are learning to discern safe from unsafe.

But on this particular drive, I felt like I needed to know what was going on, so we listened.

And my daughter was taking it all in.

What if that happens in our city? If it does, and I’m only allowed to take one thing with me – I will take “mimi.”

“Mimi” is the name of her blankie. Yes, my daughter is 7 years old, and I have no plans to make her give it up. She has to grow up in 100 different ways during each new day, and I want her to be able to go to sleep at night and still remember her littleness.

Blankie and more than a blankie

I wrote last week about being your child’s safe place. And while the idea is easy to spell out, and the reasons are many to desire this for your child – it’s a whole lot easier said than done.

Because sometimes I don’t feel like their safe place. I don’t want to allow her to express herself by scattering (what feels like) 1,000 papers across the floor. Or I simply don’t want to hear what he has to say. Again.

It can be rough. And it feels a whole lot like sacrifice. Like dying to myself.

But before I go on, this is not a post where the call to action is embrace your child and allow them to do whatever they want. I believe in discipline, order, and respect. I don’t allow myself to do “whatever I want” and so I don’t teach that to my children either.

But. I do teach them that they have value regardless of their behavior.

And I want them to know that I choose to value what they value too, because that is a part of love.

So I value “mimi” with all my heart. I protect her with sincerity. This blankie has been with my daughter through everything. Moves, time away from parent(s), illnesses, losses, milestones, etc. The first thing my daughter will do when she hears bad news is run to find her “mimi.”

For my 5 year old, his greatest treasure is similar. He too has a blanket and his “babies.” (Don’t ask me when or why he started calling his stuffed animals his “babies” – he does and they are cared for like children. It’s very sweet; he’s going to be a tender daddy someday.)

And for the little guy, it’s his blankie too, but also his favorite spatula or his ukulele.

Homeschool Music 1

While they each have their ultimate valuable, they also transfer temporary value to things that are in other ways just trash. A candy wrapper from a birthday party, a neon admittance bracelet from the fair, a McDonald’s toy (for goodness’ sake it feels like these things breed and reproduce when I’m not looking), a bead from a broken necklace, a bouncy ball from a 25₵ machine. It can be anything!

Because for them, that one little piece of trash holds a memory.

And memories are precious. I think kids understand this more than adults. They see how quickly they are growing up. They feel the changes in their development, and they want to live their lives full. Soaking in each little moment from birth to the end.

So while I’ve had my moments of ranting about the thousands of papers scattered aimlessly across my daughter’s bed, I’ve also grown to slow down and ask her to tell me the story.

Why does this matter to you? What memory does this hold? And while she’s telling me, I see that she’s letting it go. The trash part. As the story is shared, and she can tell that I care – she realizes that she may not have to keep the sticky wrapper to remember the sweet taste of a lifesaver.

I respect that she transfers value to these little things as a way to hold onto memories, and she respects me in that she knows she isn’t allowed to scatter her memories all over the house. We work together. I help her take ownership of organizing her memories, and she grows in discerning what memories need a physical reminder and what ones can be stored in her heart.

It’s a work in progress. It’s an opportunity to grow in mutual respect.

But it’s the number one way that I have become and continue to be her safe place. So it’s worth it.

What does your child(ren) value? How can you show them that you respect them in this?

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