One of the great things about homeschooling, unit studies and lapbooks in particular, is the fact that when we are learning about something, we can delve off and explore one part of the topic. If we want to we can even make a separate unit or lapbook on the things we want to explore more. The “problem” comes in when there are so many parts of a topic that we want to learn more about. For instance Jonathan’s all about me lapbook lead to a my body lap book, which in turn is looking like it is going to lead to lap books on several different topics.
So, he’s learning all this great stuff, what’s the “problem?” First, we have to work on Jonathan’s patience level, as he wants to do everything all at once. I can handle two or three lapbooks going at one time, but any more than that is too much for me. Jonathan will be okay, he can handle it. I, on the other hand, will have a breakdown. Secondly we have a list a mile long, okay not a mile long, but a quarter of a notebook long with each page divided into four columns full of topics he wants to explore. This isn’t including the list of things I make that we will be covering nor the list of topics that I’m sure will branch out from that. How do we handle this problem?
The first solution is we homeschool all year long. When I say this to someone who is used to traditional school or school at home, they look at me like I’m crazy. They imagine me making Jonathan sit for several hours doing school work every day. This is not the case for us though. Jonathan loves learning. I never have to tell him it’s time to work on something. He asks me several times a day if he can work on something school related; sometimes it’s a lapbook, sometimes it’s a notebook, sometimes it’s a workbook, and sometimes he even asks if I will help him study spelling words. I don’t have to schedule school time with Jonathan, I just have to keep track of what he’s worked on and sometimes suggest something else if he wants to work on something that needs my help and I’m not available at that moment.
Another solution is, sometimes something that we want to explore more at one point in time doesn’t hold his interest when we actually start to explore it, or is to advanced for him emotionally (such as the Holocaust, or Antietam). When this is the case I move those studies onto different lists. One list is to come back to later that year or next year, for the ones that don’t hold his interest. The other list is for the ones to come back to when he is older. For this one I put down the approximate age that should be appropriate for the study.
A couple of advantages to doing it this way include the fact that I have a list of everything we have worked on. Another is I have a list of things to chose from for making my list of things we should study in a year. The advantages I believe to be the best though is Jonathan is choosing what he wants to learn about; he is choosing how much information he wants, and even how much he can handle at any point in time; and each new topic we study creates an even greater thirst for knowledge.