(photo credit by Carmela Nava)
Today we have Heather in the spotlight.
Heather writes at Blog She Wrote and is also a regular contributor at The Heart of the Matter. She uses notebooking with all of her four children (currently 7th, 5th, 3rd, and Kindergarten) and often shares her children’s pages online. I was thrilled when Heather agreed to be interviewed here at The Notebooking Fairy.
Heather, when did you start notebooking?
I think we started right away even though I wasn’t a student of “notebooking” at the time. We started homeschooling when my oldest was half way through first grade so six years ago now. We started our first semester with a Scholastic book on using Teaching with Favorite Magic Treehouse Books, and I had my first grader do some notebooking with that. Not long after that, I began using Five in a Row and was introduced to the term “notebooking.” Since then, I learn new things about it all the time.
What is your favorite thing about notebooking?
Letting my kids be creative if they want to be . Notebooking also allows them to assimilate information on their own, instead of my doing it for them.
How do your children feel about notebooking?
All of my kids enjoy notebooking for different reasons since they do it in different way. My oldest likes to just write and my second oldest likes to find the most creative way to present something. Our third is younger so he gets more structure, but he likes to just tell me what he knows.
Heather, what is your greatest obstacle or difficulty in notebooking?
Probably choosing a format. With four children, I have found that what suits one may not suit another.
What makes your notebooks unique?
Some of our most effective pages for younger kids are using StartWrite. The child dictates facts to me which I type into StartWrite and give back as copywork. The photo below is a narration page on owls that my (then) first grader did in this fashion.
What are your best notebooking tips?
Let the student be in charge as much as possible with how to organize the information. Try not to fuss over format and let the kids choose one and make something out of plain paper or materials you give them to use. I try to remember it’s not really just about the notebook page.
How do notebooking pages enhance learning in your homeschool?
They allow my kids to assimilate their own thoughts on a topic and help them to organize information. Notebooking makes for a quick and authentic assignment in our school day. Plus it offers writing practice.
What kind of notebooking pages do you use?
I use a mix of retail things, “made by my kids” pages, and my own pages. I really like the formatting of the Westvon Publishing pages. I also like the pages from Notebookingpages.com. And Barb at Handbook of Nature Study blog makes great nature study pages.
I have one child who prefers straight notebooking with no frills and another child one who will “do up” every page with flair. We love the Dinah Zike books which offer mini books and folds to try. I like to have them make their own choices so they own the work. I offer lots of resources to help them out.
Heather, how often do you use notebooking?
At least several times a week, maybe even once a day since we use notebooking for our unit studies, math, science, and social studies.
How do your notebooking expectations vary for different aged children?
Younger students receive more guidance. Older children will have to do more original work.
Thank you, Heather, for being in the spotlight at The Notebooking Fairy. I enjoyed hearing how you use notebooking. I totally agree with you about giving children ownership over their notebooking pages. That’s where the real learning comes in.
If you would like to be featured, please send me an email.