Q & A: How Should I Plan a Notebook?

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How Should I Plan a Notebook? from The Notebooking Fairy

Q: How should I plan a notebook?

A: Maybe not at all.

I don’t know that you need to plan a notebook. I don’t have this kind of thinking when organizing our homeschool. I don’t have a mental image of what the completed notebook will look like a the end of the year. I just let it happen organically.

I do think in terms of planning what printable pages we might need and any additional supplies such as page protectors. I sometimes consider the list of 50 things to put into a notebook to maintain variety.

But I also give a lot of ownership to my daughter, so sometimes her notebooking preferences may be different from what I planned. I have put plenty of printable notebooking pages into the recycle stack because Miss Creative had her own plan.

Notebooking is part of my weekly homeschool scheduling. I choose possible lessons to notebook and write that into my daughter’s assignment list, keeping to the grade appropriate guidelines that I outline in Notebooking Success.

My fear is that if you start “planning” your child’s notebook, it is no longer his notebook. It’s a binder full of assignments you gave him. So I would encourage a mom who is asking this question to plan notebooking time on the schedule, but not try to plan in extreme detail what the notebook will actually look like.

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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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Sherry Reply

I have just recently started homeschooling my 6 year old. We are both very visual people, so I love the concept of Notebooking. I don’t really “plan” it, though. We are doing an eclectic style of HSing .. some curriculum, lots of reading, etc. Whatever I print for him, just goes in the notebook. Some days, that’s nothing. Today, we did a Venn diagram with the differences between frogs and toads, so that will go in his Science section.

He does have tabs for Science, Social Studies, and Fun Stuff. Math is done in a separate workbook, as is his Bible work.

Phyllis at All Things Beautiful Reply

I do the same thing! They get so much more out of it if they plan and execute it themselves!

Eddie - The Usual Mayhem Reply

Nicely put, Jimmie: “I also give a lot of ownership to my daughter”. I couldn’t agree more! I make suggestions, most of which are rejected outright, but then she comes up with something that wouldn’t even have occurred to me to do.

Nadene Reply

I totally agree Jimmie, it must be the child’s notebooks!
My kids each use the same page templates and create their own unique, personal notebook pages. When I design notebook pages for a topic, I make blank templates and a separate page with headers, pictures, maps or minibook templates. They can cut these out and use this as they wish. Sometimes I insist on some elements – a timeline or a map. As they get older the kids can design their own from scratch!

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