Notebooking Spotlight: Nadene

by Jimmie Lanley on February 2, 2011

Notebooking Spotlight at The Notebooking Fairy

(photo credit by Carmela Nava)
In the Notebooking Spotlight, we feature homeschool moms who use notebooking with their children.

Today we have Nadene in the spotlight.

Nadene blogs at Practical Pages where she offers lots of freebies. Speaking of her blog, Nadene says

I am so passionate about how easy, versatile and creative notebooking is, that I had to share it with others – and Voila! Practical Pages was born.

Be sure to browse her site for lots of lesson ideas and free printables. You won’t regret the time you spend there.

Getting Started

Nadene began using notebooking around four years ago when her children were 12, 8, and 5 years old. By that time she had already been homeschooling for five years.

She was introduced to notebooking at a homeschool curriculum expo where she saw pre-made notebooking pages for the first time. In the beginning, Nadene made her own notebook pages for each theme.  Her girls loved them!

Using Notebooking

Nadene has made a complete transition to notebooking. She explains,

We now work only on notebook pages!   We use notebooking for absolutely everything  (okay, maths is still in their workbooks).

I create customized notebooking pages for each child:  primary lines for my 8-year-old and ordinary lines for my 11-year-old.The kids keep all their notebook pages in their own files.

For most themes one notebook page is sufficient.  Minibooks are extras we add if there are additional topics. We do combine minibooks and notebook pages.

I see our notebook pages as a versatile way of capturing anything we study. As I read living books aloud, they draw the story.  Those pictures are filed along with their narrations in their notebooks.  Anything we find on our nature walks we sketch, note, and file.

My youngest treasures everything, so it is easy for her to paste her findings and scraps on notebook pages.  My middle schooler loves to organize, so she fills and organizes her pages with ease.

Notebooking is so versatile!  It grows and changes as we are inspired. Everything in a notebook becomes a testimonial of our life of learning. The pages are easily filed and stored for re-reading and for portfolios.

Q & A With Nadene

What is your favorite thing about notebooking?

  1. Somehow the heading and a graphic consolidates my children’s thoughts, and they write with freedom and enthusiasm.  I am delighted!
  2. Lines help a beginner writer master better handwriting.
  3. There isn’t a daunting, empty, white page for a child to fill.  They are no longer reluctant.

What is your greatest obstacle in notebooking?

  1. Wanting to have something specially created for each theme.   I’m always grateful for creative children who transform the simple lined notepaper into something special when my printer ink has run out or I haven’t made a page.
  2. Reluctant writers are a challenge, but they can learn to master narration– first orally and then organizing thoughts as they dictate. Then they copy their own dictated narration and finally write their own narrations.

Tips for Organization

Nadene loves organizing so that things flow smoothly from subject to subject. Adding notebooking pages to her files makes this seamless.

With notebooking, Nadene says that the table is less cluttered. Her children need just one file and one notebook page.  In the same way, notebooking is portable – just a clipboard or folder with some pages and they can “do school” anywhere. Nadene stores pages in a file until the work is complete. Then she binds it. You can read about how she does her end of year wrap up in Closure, Conclusions and Congratulations.

Notebooking With Different Ages

At Nadene’s house, younger children draw and illustrate their narration while she adds their notes or helps them label a picture. When her children begin to write on their own, they are happier writing on widely spaced, colored lines.

As their handwriting improves, the older child can write in dotted and lined notebooking pages. Nadene’s older children enjoy designing the page layout. They prefer half lined pages with a blank half for for illustrations, clipart or magazine cuttings.

Speaking of high schoolers, Nadene says

I think that once a middle schooler masters notebooking at this level, it is merely the content and application that improves and matures, so that a high schooler’ s notebooking page looks the same as the younger child, but his interpretations and analysis shows a greater degree of writing skill.

Educational Advantages of Notebooking

Nadene sums it up beautifully
The act of narrating is the most wonderful, complex learning process and notebooking makes it visually clear, assists the child with topic and sub-topic headings.  Colour and shapes on notebooking pages are an excellent learning tool.  When the child writes and organizes his notes with colour and shapes, he can better recall that information.

Nadene’s Freebies

Thank you, Nadene, for sharing how you use notebooking in your homeschool and for the great photos.

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