Here are my 10 words of advice that I would give to a homeschooler who is considering notebooking.
1. Start Simple
Keeping things simple boosts your chance at success since complicated things are usually abandoned. So keep it simple in terms of both supplies and effort. Begin with “boring,” lined notebook paper or plain printer paper and work from there.
Be sure to read my article about Getting Started with Notebooking at my friend Mary’s blog. I use a very simplistic approach that demonstrates how easy notebooking is.
2. Use What you Have
Don’t go shopping to begin notebooking. Search your school supply stash to see what you already have: binders, dividers, markers, composition notebooks. Make those things work instead of investing money up front.
3. Read my eBook
Get a copy of Notebooking Success, and read it. Print the resource pages and put them your notebook for reference. They will help you as you implement notebooking during your day to day lessons.
4. Use Freebies
Start out with free printable pages. I have lots of freebies here at The Notebooking Fairy. See the drop-down navigation menus at the top of the blog or use the search box on the right sidebar.
5. Get the Basics
Once you have found your notebooking groove, get some basic supplies that make notebooking work smoothly:
- page protectors
- three hole punch
- maybe a binding machine
6. Set up a Notebooking Station
If notebooking becomes an integral part of your homeschool, consider creating a station where all the supplies are stored. At a minimum, have a folder filled with pre-printed notebooking pages so that there is no delay between the lesson and the notebooking.
7. Don’t fall in to a rut
Variety keeps things interesting. There is no need for your notebooking pages to be boring when there are dozens of different things you can include. Read the 50 things you can put into a notebook for inspiration. (That list in an attractive printable format is a free bonus with the Notebooking Success eBook.)
8. Don’t notebook everything
Yes, you can use notebooking for any topic, with any curriculum, and at any age. But if you try to notebook every single lessons every single day you are creating a recipe for burnout. Just like you use variety in your notebooking pages, you also need variety in your homeschool methods. Notebooking is just one tool in your box.
9. Don’t be a Red Pen Toting Mamma
Nobody likes a critic. And although you are supposed to guide your children in improving their writing, if all you ever do it talk about the negative, how will they know what they did right? Always start with the positive before you begin to point out errors. And keep those errors in perspective. It is more important to outline the facts correctly than it is to have no spelling errors.
10. Let Your Children Have Ownership
When you first start out, notebooking is highly mom-directed. But your goal should be that over time the children take more and more ownership of the planning and creation of the pages. If you are designing every single page, you are robbing your children of much of the educational value in notebooking. Let them explore and attempt. Yes, there will be failures. But don’t we learn best through our own mistakes?