(photo credit by Carmela Nava)
Today we have Amber in the spotlight.
Amber has three children and blogs at These Small Hours. It was this wonderful photo of her homeschool binders that first attracted my attention. I knew that someone who has notebooks as fancy at that had to have something wonderful to share with us about notebooking. Her interview does not disappoint.
Amber, when did you start notebooking?
My son started notebooking three years ago when he was in the 5th grade (age 10), our fourth year of homeschooling. Grade 5 kicked off our four-year study of world history and I came across the idea of notebooking while researching how to do a book of centuries.
Notebooking happened very rarely at first. I was just learning about narration and was very uncomfortable with it. The early pages that are in my son’s book of centuries are color pages and a few narrations on random history lessons. Nowadays, any person the kids study, any event, work of art or poem all goes on a notebook page in their book of centuries. Eventually, they will have their own book on the history of the whole world! I love that just about everything can be put on a timeline. It’s so neat to see how everything fits together in history.
What is your favorite thing about notebooking?
It can be as simple as a two line bio of a President, or it can be four paragraphs on the Civil War. It can be a coloring sheet of Mozart, or a sketch of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. It can be whatever you want it to be! Something, anything, that your child writes (or draws!) to record what they’ve learned.
Amber, what is your greatest difficulty in notebooking?
Having the kids do it every day! Some days it’s easier just to have them give me an oral narration and leave it at that, especially if I don’t have a notebook page printed out or at least an idea of what I want them to do. For me, planning keeps our notebooking consistent. I have one binder per subject that I keep notebooking pages in (and any other ideas I come across).
What subjects do you use notebooking for?
What are your best notebooking tips, Amber?
For beginners, I would suggest starting simply. A plain sheet of lined notebook paper with a narration on it is a good way to start, or divide a piece of printer paper into four parts and have them write one fact in each square.
I would also just start with one subject. For example, only notebook the artists you study. Once you get used to it, add another subject. I also think three-ring binders are the easiest way to store notebooking pages, especially the ones you can add pretty paper to.
How do notebooking pages enhance learning in your homeschool?
My older kids have two binders, one for geography and a book of centuries. We mainly use notebooking pages for narration and research. Notebooking is more than a page full of questions to answer. The kids get to be creative in documenting what they’ve learned. The creativity they use in notebooking helps them retain the information.
Do you use a combination of notebooking with lapbooking?
Amber, how often do you use notebooking?
I shoot for daily! At least in one subject.
How do your notebooking expectations vary for different aged children?
My 7th grader and 4th grader pretty much do the same work, notebooking wise. My son does not like to write. Period. Putting his thoughts on paper does not come easily to him. Narrations are new to my daughter this year, so right now, we are just getting simple facts on paper. Making a point to notebook each day helps them both. My youngest daughter is in 1st grade (age 6), and she does some lapbooking. I like using sketch books for her work.
How do your children feel about notebooking, Amber?
Well, my son will tell you he doesn’t like it because of that whole “not-liking-to-write” thing. However, you will, on occasion, catch him flipping through his book of centuries and talking about what he’s learned in the past. On the other hand, my oldest daughter really likes it. She likes researching and writing down the information she learned.
Thank you, Amber, for being in the spotlight at The Notebooking Fairy. I learned some good tips!
If you would like to be featured, please send me an email.