10 Words of Advice for Homeschoolers who Use Notebooking

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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.

Then when notebooking is working for you, invest in a membership to a fancy printable site. I use and recommend Debra’s Notebooking Pages. You can read my complete review here.

5. Get the Basics

Once you have found your notebooking groove, get some basic supplies that make notebooking work smoothly:

  • binders
  • 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?

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Jimmie Quick

Jimmie is now a veteran homeschool mom. Her daughter Emma is a student of the sciences at a large university in Illinois. Her guide to notebooking—Notebooking Success—guides you through notebooking: what it is; how to use it; how it fits a Charlotte Mason, classical, and textbook curriculum; tips for getting the most educational value from it; and much more. It comes bundled with several bonuses, including a small set of generic notebooking pages that can be used with any topic.

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Mary Reply

I like number 9 — this would be me. I need to be less critical, and that is one of my goals for the coming year.

Thanks for all the tips!

Judy @ Contented at Home Reply

We have always been a “textbook” family, but at least one of my children would thrive with notebooking. Two of the others have already decided they would like to use notebooking for history this year. Love these helpful tips!

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