Q & A: What Curriculums Include Notebooking?

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Q:  What Curriculums include notebooking?

A: There are several:  Winter Promise, Mystery of History, Beautiful Feet, Heart of Dakota, My Father’s World, Truthquest and Time Travelers.

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Notebooking is a fairly common instructional method, and it’s becoming more and more popular. As evidence, see this list of curriculums (curricula) that have notebooking integrated into the plans.

The Mystery of History

All volumes of The Mystery of History by Bright Ideas Press have specially designed notebooking pages to go along with the history curriculum. These pages are PDF eBooks which you print out at home. The pages are a mix of subdued colors — black, gray, blue, and brown. There is great variety in the pages, including layout, line styles, and sheer number of pages. See a sample here.

Beautiful Feet

Although the Beautiful Feet website does not talk about notebooking, I can attest that each BF program does use notebooking on a daily basis. (I have used three of their curriculum packages.) There are no printable pages but there are notebooking assignments that tell you what to write, draw, or include in the student notebook.

Heart of Dakota

Every curriculum package  from Creation to Christ level and up include notebooking. The pages are full color with layouts similar to scrapbooking pages. They are not reproducible but one time use, physical pages. You can see sample notebooking pages here.


Notebooking is an integral part of Winter Promise’s  history programs. In fact, the WP website has an entire page devoted to the notebooking approach. The pages are pre-printed, physical pages and are purchased as part of a curriculum package. They are heavy on text and images and leave little room for the child to write. In fact, I don’t consider them true notebooking pages at all. All pages are black and white and would be easy to photocopy for multiple children.

My Father’s World

MFW programs come with notebooking pages called Student Sheets. The Student Sheets are physical, pre-printed pages. Unfortunately, the website offers no samples of these student sheets, but the thumbnail on the website indicates that the pages are mostly black and white with a few full color supplements.

MFW curriculum also schedules weekly nature walks with notebooking (nature journaling).

TruthQuest History

The elementary level materials at TruthQuest incorporate a lapbooking-notebooking combination. The digital product is called Binder Builder; see a sample here. Print out the pages you desire from the PDF. The printables are simple black lines which are easy on printer ink.

(Thanks to Daisy for pointing me to TQ.)

Time Travelers History Studies by Homeschool in the Woods

Time Travelers studies are complete unit studies that cover a broad period of history. Time Travelers’ incorporates both notebooking and lapbooking, so there is a good mix for people who like creative layouts. The graphics are gorgeous, detailed, black and white line drawings. The material comes on a CD-rom, so all the notebooking and lapbooking components are reproducible. Print whatever and however many you need.

(Thanks to Kendra for reminding me of Time Travelers.)

If you know of another curriculum that incorporates notebooking either with notebooking pages or notebooking assignments, please let me know in a comment below. Also share your experience with the notebooking pages and assignments from the programs listed above.

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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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Daisy Reply

TruthQuest History also incorporates notebooking pages now for its elementary guides. http://www.truthquesthistory.com/store/products.php

Amber @ Classic Housewife Reply

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Mystery of History! I was excited to find the notebooking pages. We’re still finishing up volume 1, however, so we’ll start using the notebooking pages when we begin volume 2. (I have a thing about starting things in the middle, can’t do it.) =p
We’ve already been doing notebooking with our science (Apologia), our first experience with notebooking and I’m happy to add it to our history, too. The curriculum itself is perfect for us, biblical worldview, chronological, multi-level, etc. Adding notebooking pages just rounds out the list of activities and the mapping that already comes with it. =)

Lee Reply

I’ve been working on building a free online curriculum which of course uses notebooking, not daily or weekly, but throughout, along with lapbooks, and other forms of narration… I like variety 🙂

Daisy Reply

I’ve used BF, MFW, and HOD notebooking pages.

What I appreciated the most HOD’s notebooking pages were the detailed instructions for how to use the notebooking pages. Children who prefer their own creativity may feel stifled by the structure of these notebooking pages. The HOD notebooking pages for CTC guide and up are really gorgeous. It is a bit more difficult with the lower guides because children (who are less likely to have the ability) are expected to draw their own notebooking pages. I think it would benefit HOD to go back and create notebooking pages for the younger guides.

We used the notebooking pages for MFW: Adventures. The notebooking pages were of a high quality but repetitive. My children soon tired of doing the same activity over and over again. I’ve heard other children enjoyed the sense of routine. Those are the only notebooking pages I’ve used with MFW.

Finally, we’ve used BF: Primary American History guide. That was a wonderful year. Appropriately most of the notebooking at that age level is copywork and coloring. The notebook at the end of the year was treasured and my children wanted to read it over and over again. The ONLY drawback with it was that I had to make copies from the D’Aulaire books and due to the fact that they had to be shrunk down, I had to do all of it at a copy center. $$.

I’ve used every history program you listed except for Winter Promise and I can say that each of them provided us with an enjoyable year of study.

    Jimmie Quick Reply

    Daisy, I so appreciate this thorough review of the three curriculums you’ve used. Each curriculum has positives and negatives. Of course a lot depends on your own child’s learning style and personal preferences.

Kendra Reply

HSITW Time Traveler History Packs are notebooking too. 😀

Jimmie Quick Reply

You are right! Adding that one in.

Samantha Reply

I enjoy notebooking along with our Beautiful Feet studies. They suggest doing the activities in a composition book, but I’ve used notebooking pages like you design instead. I’m about to start the newly revised Primary American History with my youngest and I think her notebook is going to be a precious record of our time together. I can’t wait!

One curriculum you didn’t mention is the elementary Apologia science curriculum. They offer some free notebooking pages in the yahoo group, but they are now publishing notebooking journals to go along with the books with two different levels of ability. As you read the text with your child, there are all sorts of prompts for narration or to do projects or draw something. She has provided notebooking pages in the journal for each of these prompts, plus she has put in pages for lab reports and additional things like puzzles to practice vocabulary and ideas for further activities. I think in the junior journals there are more coloring pages involved. And there is usually some sort of foldable activity like a lapbook activity for each chapter as well. The notebookers in the group are actually more comfortable with these journals, I think, because we are used to the open ended pages and how to use those with narrations etc. These are spiral bound and printed for you and are definitely much more like a notebook than a workbook.

Teri Reply

We have used HOD for a few years. Above it said that notebooking started with Creation to Christ (ages 9-11). I just wanted to mention that there is also notebooking for the earlier books. My daughter is in the Bigger Hearts book (ages 7-9). We do notebooking once a week for both science and history. We will be ordering the next book Preparing Hearts (ages 8-10) soon and I know there are both history and science notebooking in that book too. I took blank pages and bound them for her notebooking assignments. The books are turning out very nice! The Creation to Christ and later books have something that you can buy for the notebooking assignments.

    Jimmie Quick Reply

    Thank you, Teri, for this correction. This is a curriculum that I’ve not actually used, so I appreciate feedback from people experienced with the material. (I even emailed the company to ask questions, but I guess I still didn’t get all the information.)

Ruthie Reply

I was surprised that you didn’t mention Apologia science as well. We are using the Astronomy book with the purchased notebooks. I have the Junior for my 6 y/o and the regular for my 7 y/o and we love them. They offer plenty of variety and my kids love to add more detail to their books. No complaining whatsoever when we use them. Open and go and I love that.

Barb Reply

A good rule is that a non-consumable curriculum will require some kind of record keeping, at least for older students, that can be a notebook page.

My oldest have notebooks for math, Life of Fred. If we study a mathematician s/he may end up in the history or geography section of their binder or taped into their composition notebook we use for math.

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