Back when I wrote a guest post for Mary at Homegrown Learners about Getting Started with Homeschooling, there were several great comments and questions to address. Here is one:
Our most successful notebook pages are for history, but I have a boy who always wants to make his pictures “silly” which I find very distracting to the history content. So far, I have let him enjoy himself, but for 5th grade next year, I’m wondering if I should require more serious illustrations? For this reason, I haven’t been fully satisfied with notebooking although I want to keep trying.
So the problem here is how to handle silly illustrations on history notebooking pages. Without seeing the actual pages, it’s hard to know exactly how I would personally react. Humor is a great way to make our work more enjoyable, and history certainly has its share of funny situations.
Pros to Silly Pages
- Being silly is a great motivator.
- Thinking of silly ways to illustrate a notebooking page can be a chance for great creativity.
Cons to Silly Pages
- Some parts of history are too serious to be handled in a trivial manner.
- A silly approach to history may be a symptom of emotional immaturity and a lack of understanding of the deeper issues.
I think that the bottom line for me would be if the silly-factor demonstrated an understanding of the material.
There is bathroom humor silly that has no place on a history notebooking page. And then there is a cartoon style silliness that points out the ironies and absurdities of history while demonstrating a keen understanding of the events. I think of the Horrible Histories series that is very silly but is also very informative. Humor is the vehicle for teaching in that case.
Maybe you can compromise with your son. Insist on a serious illustration for the notebooking page, but allow for a small, silly comment somewhere to the side or in a corner, just enough to satisfy his craving for laughter but sill giving history the attention it is due.
I’d love to hear from my readers on this topic. How much silliness do you allow on history notebooking pages?