Notebooking Spotlight: Amber

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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 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.

an early notebooking page

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.

Hodgepodge Notebooks

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?

Every subject except the 3Rs although I am ready to start notebooking those.  Right now we notebook art, music, history, Bible, and science.

Amber's fantastic FOUR SQUARES notebooking method

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.

Minibooks in Notebook

Do you use a combination of notebooking with lapbooking?

We just started combining notebooking and lapbooking.  It is working out so well. For something like Five-in-a-Row, 3-prong folders work wonderfully.  Just put the notebooking pages in the prongs, and add the lapbooking components to the sides.
Or add cardstock to your binder and put your lapbooking components on that.

Amber, how often do you use notebooking?

I shoot for daily!  At least in one subject.

missionary notebooking pages

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.

President Notebooking Page

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.

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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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amber emory Reply

Jimmie, it came out great! Thank you so much. 🙂

Julie Reply

I have done some lapbook/notebook combined, but I want to get more into the writing aspect of notebooking with our 2nd and 3rd graders next year. I was going to shoot for once a week. What do you think? Just start out slow and see how it goes?

Love these ideas on Amber’s blog. I think we’ll try a spiral notebook approach for science next year, as we don’t do much science lap/notebooking yet, just history.

Krissi Reply

This is what I would love to add to our studies, but def. feel overwhelmed at the thought of it. Mainly because it is a lot of organizational thinking up front until I get the hang of it. Any advice, Amber or Jimmie?
We’ve got three girls, finishing 2nd, 5th, and 6th this May. I’d love to figure out how to implement this info for next year. It makes me a bit sad to start so late with my oldest, but better late than never.
I will be reading all the info in this blog, including carefully rereading what I just read.

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