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Mini Offices


What is a Mini Office?

A mini office is a particular application of lapbooks. Each child can make his own mini-office -- a lapbook filled with reference pages for his own learning. The sky is the limit on what you can include. Fill the mini office with the charts that your child needs -- maps, state abbreviations, penmanship models, clock faces, a multiplication table, or timelines. The mini office actually helps the student move towards being a more independent learner as he looks up the answers to his own questions.

With a mini office, you have an individualized reference tool for each student! Cater it to your child's level and needs. Make a new one each term if necessary or make several -- one for each school subject. Pull out the math mini office when studying math. Or use the language arts mini office when doing a writing assignment.

Since the mini office is affixed to a file folder, it can be easily folded up and put away when not needed. But when the child needs to look up a fact, he knows right where to go -- to his mini office. And because it's so small and tidy, it's portable when you want to "homeschool on the go."

The Mini Office Base

How to Make a Minioffice

For more visuals, visit abc teach for a great PDF, complete with photos and directions for creating the file folder base.

Mini-Offices from the Classroom

These links show you mini offices created by classroom teachers. These webpages are filled with colorful photographs that will demonstrate exactly what a mini office is.



Classroom teachers also use the mini offices to make a temporary study carrel, shielding each child from the distractions of the others in the room. Use a legal sized file folder for maximum height and privacy.

  • Teaching Heart
    This site will explain mini-offices to you in detail and inspire you with all the great photographs.
  • Busy Teacher's Cafe
    It's all here -- directions, pictures, free downloads, and links.

Homeschooling families use mini offices as well! Visit these links for photos and how-tos.

  • Junior Mini Office at Practical Pages
    Nadene shares not only photos of her children's mini-offices but also shares free PDF files of printables -- the complete set and also just the math items, just the writing items, etc. She even has some items specific for South African students.
  • Living Water Christian Academy's Mini Office Lapbooks
    This is an incredible LIST of what this mom will put in her children's mini offices. I read her list thinking, "Wow! That should be in the mini office! How brilliant!" Her 6th grade daughter's mini office is quite advanced! In includes chemistry and
  • Successful Homeschooling: Mini Office
    Colorful mini office pictures from Carletta.

Mini Offices Poll

Printables for Math and Science


You can use your own printables, copied from the curriculum you use or favorite posters you already have. But these links may give you some ideas for other things to include in the mini office.

Math Mini Office

Seeing a math mini office in action may help you understand it better. Watch this video to see an actual mini office used by homeschool children.

Scroll to Continue
  • American Sign Language
    Look for the links near the bottom for two finger spelling alphabet charts -- one is B&W drawings, the other is photographs of hands.
  • Morse Code Chart
    Dots and dashes in a simple printable chart.
  • Handwriting Printables
    Several penmanship styles are offered. Print an entire alphabet for your child's mini office.
  • Braille Alphabet Card
    National Braille Press offers a PDF braille alphabet printable.
  • Parts of Speech Sheet from Scholastic
    This parts of speech reference sheet includes definitions and examples.
  • Slightly More Advanced Punctuation Chart
    This chart would be for the child who already knows the basics but needs help with the less commonly used forms of punctuation: quotation marks, apostrophe, parentheses, colon, semi-colon, slash, hyphen, and comma. This is a full sheet poster. Print
  • Calendar Set
    This freebie from Montessori For Everyone includes a blank month template, numbers for the days, days of the week labels, and stickers for various holidays and special occasions.

Mini Offices


Reproducible Reference Materials

  • Outline Maps
    Nice PDF files with names of countries. Print by continent or the whole world.
  • Nicolas Academy Printables
    Scroll down for "Printable Charts" in the areas of math, science, and social studies. These charts should be saved as images and then printed. Charts include presidents of America, planets in our solar system, states and capitals, and many more.
  • Music Basics
    A great printable for students learning to read music!
  • SparkleBox
    Free teaching printables for lots of topics, all in PDF format!

Creating the Mini Office

For younger students, most mothers would create the mini office for the student. But for an intermediate elementary and higher student, why not let her create her own? Of course, you will want to guide her choices. But let her design the layout and decorate it. When she has some ownership in it, she will be more likely to use it each day.

Reader Feedback

RoadMonkey on August 25, 2019:

Wow, what a great idea. Schools have notebooks where kids practise concepts but to keep the concepts all in one place for their own reference service - great idea. Thanks.

Richard Lindsay from California on April 25, 2016:

Lots of information and great ideas, Great post

Bobbyann on June 07, 2015:

This is just wonderful. Thanks a million.

Doc_Holliday on August 24, 2013:

I love the organised approach behind this. It's a great idea.

bilafond lm on June 19, 2012:

Excellent idea. You have made a very nice lens

anonymous on September 16, 2011:

Cool! Awesome! I might make one! The mini offices are very nice!

AsianMarketplace on July 14, 2011:

Interesting and nice lens you have here

anonymous on March 23, 2011:

Thanks so much. I liked your Squidoo.

LouisaDembul on March 20, 2011:

What a great idea! This can be used for so many subjects, not only home-schooling. you are so resourceful!

lilgirllapbooker on December 22, 2010:

Really great lens, thanks. Do you know specifically where I can find resources for a 7th Grade Geography mini office? If you do, email me!

dustytoes on October 16, 2010:

The mini-office is such a helpful resource for anyone homeschooling. If I had read this about 25 years ago, I most likely would have been convinced to home school. I give all homeschooling parents loads of credit for their dedication to teaching and I'm sure your kids will be well equipped for the world by graduation! Excellent..!

VarietyWriter2 on September 10, 2010:

Thumbs up!

Robin S from USA on September 10, 2010:

Great resource page!

SnoopyGirl1 on March 01, 2010:

This lens is an awesome resource! (5 stars) I have made several of these now and my kids love them. Thanks for all the great links! They were a big help!

mariedaniels on February 09, 2010:

Good ideas nice for homeschooling and also public school kids who need extra help.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on February 01, 2010:

I just saw this lens (and some of your other ones) in a message of recommendation on my local homeschool group's mailing list. Very cool! I love this resource, too. Lensrolling to my Lesson Plans and Planners lens!

anonymous on January 19, 2010:

Loving Jimmie and her ideas...we just finished our daughter's 2nd grade mini office! Check it out here. Thank you, Jimmie!

anonymous on December 09, 2009:

These are fantastic - great resources mini offices - I can't wait to get started using these.

JenniferAkers LM on November 23, 2009:

This is an amazing resource. One my son's teachers introduced a mini office for their desk, and it was so helpful for him. I'll have to pass your lens along to her because your mini offices look more organized. I loved the photos - thanks for all the links and resources.

Joan4 on August 14, 2009:

Wonderful! I will print out many of the printables! What a resource! I want to make a mini office for second grade granddaughter. She loves to "work" and would so enjoy all the reminders! Thank you!

anonymous on July 14, 2009:

Hi Jimmie! You always have great lenses and resources! I can't wait for you to see what I've been working on. Anyway, great work! I'm making one for me, and one for each kid, and maybe even hubby!

hlkljgk from Western Mass on June 23, 2009:

great format for info!

Ruth Coffee from Zionsville, Indiana on June 16, 2009:

These are a great idea, maybe I need one for my work!

ElizabethJeanAl on May 03, 2009:

Great lens!

I never would have thought to use a lapbook for reference material.

Thanks for sharing


anonymous on March 26, 2009:

This is a great lens with tips not just for home schooling but any parent who supports their children's studies. I am thinking that we ought to create a mini-office for both our girls as it will definitely help them be more organised with their homework - this will undoubtedly help both of them, but particularly Lizzie who struggles with being "organised". She is mildly dyslexic so "organised" is a slightly alien concept to her, but she is working very hard at grasping it!

anonymous on March 21, 2009:

WOW... the sparklebox link was the best for me personally....

anonymous on January 28, 2009:

Home schooling is an every growing trend and having a mini office for the children was something a I did for my kids. It sure helped them to be more motivated and productive. Great lens!

marsha32 on January 26, 2009:

I bought the materials today and we've been printing off stuff...she seems really excited about making her math office...and hopefully will then want to continue and make them for other subjects. (can you tell me exactly how to put the file folders together?, we can't seem to figure that out)

ngio64 on January 18, 2009:

I never hear of Mini-offices! We are going to be busy making some! Thanks!

marsha32 on January 14, 2009:

Jasmine is in 6th grade this year but just hates math. I am going to have her build herself a math office in hopes this will help and inspire her. I can't wait to go check out the links you share here.

SJMurphy LM on October 26, 2008:

This is an awesome lens! It's so nice to have all these resources in one place. It has inspired me to make another mini-office. :) Thanks!

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on October 16, 2008:

Great lens, you have so many brilliant ideas for homeschooling. 5*****

anonymous on September 13, 2008:

Thanks for linking to me, Jimmie! :) I also added your link to my post too - you've got lots of great resources here too! :)

anonymous on September 13, 2008:

I was just browsing through your lensography last night and discovered the mini-office. I had seen stuff about it before but the title kind of through me off. I didn't think it would be so cool. Little did I know!!!

You should visit Jolanthe's blog at She has some pages she created for the mini-office.

I also created a couple of other charts: the 12 tribes of Israel and the names of God from the O.T. I would like to share them, but I'm not tech-savvy enough to figure out how to get them from my computer to the internet.

Sorry this is so long! I love, love, love this. You are so creative!


jazzymomintx on September 11, 2008:

Hi Jimmie! I made a mini office for both of my kids today. It was so fun and I'm sure it will be helpful.


MusicMadness LM on September 10, 2008:

That's a great idea for kids. I would think it would help with their organizational skills as well. It's nice to see so much stuff to help kids learn with these days. I think I'd be a lot smarter today, if I had something like this as a kid. 5 stars for you.

Antidote LM on September 10, 2008:

This is great! The interesting title caught my eye, and I wanted to see more! This is a great idea because all of the necessary information that they may need is right there in front of them, ready to be accessed!

Neosoul_Mama on August 22, 2008:

What a great idea! I wish I had this at my disposal while I was still teaching elementary school.

CLB LM on August 07, 2008:

Great lens, thanks Jimmie! I'll be adding this one to my favorites.

anonymous on August 06, 2008:

I just completed my 6th graders mini-office lapbook. I posted some photos on my blog.


I'll be back when I get our 3rd and 1st grade mini-office lapbooks completed.

anonymous on August 04, 2008:

Great Lens I love it Restaurant Oslo | Catering Oslo

anonymous on July 24, 2008:

Hi Jimmie! Here's a link to my blog entry where I posted our mini-offices. Thanks for all the links on your site, very helpful! My kids had a lot of fun making these. God bless, Merry :-)

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on June 01, 2008:

I was looking for some sites about Mini Offices for Math to link to my lens when I ran across your wonderful lens. The work you do is always inspiring. I have featured this page on my Hands-on Math Lens.

anonymous on April 12, 2008:

AWESOME! You are always a step ahead of us.... pooling together great resources & inspiration! Thank you! :D

anonymous on March 10, 2008:

Thank you so much for this wonderful idea! I plan on starting mini-offices with my children tomorrow!

anonymous on February 08, 2008:

You did it again! Well done!!

anonymous on January 26, 2008:

I really like the minioffice idea. thanks for posting

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