Using Notebooking a Guest Post by Sarah

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Instead of the normal Spotlight feature, Sarah chose to write her own guest post. Enjoy a peek into how she uses notebooking with her three boys.

Hi I’m Sarah. I have been homeschooling for two years we are just beginning our third year, I blog about our home education discoveries at All That’s Goood. I didn’t start notebooking until last year when I saw that my three boys were ready to write. Once they got started, I wanted to keep them writing so that it would get easier and easier. Therefore we used notebooking for just about every subject. Once we have read a story or completed an activity we notebook it. Sometimes it is simply a sentence maybe two, with a picture drawn or colored.

One of T.J.’s (age 5) history pages of Noah’s Ark from Westvon Publishing

Getting Started With Notebooking

I don’t know where I first heard about notebooking. It seemed that so many people were doing it and it wasn’t hard to see how clever it was and how many ways you could use it.

My first draw towards using notebooking in our homeschool was when I realized that having some structured elements on a page, like a box to draw a picture in or a set of lines for writing was helpful not an hindrance to the student and his or her creativity. My initial thought about notebooking was that it would inhibit creativity by dictating just how things ought to be done. But I realized that structure is freeing and adds a secure feeling to the student, allowing him to create something without the vast nothingness of a blank piece of paper to make the process daunting.

With this in mind, I always remember to have my ears open and ready to hear the ideas of my boys. When they have one,  I run with it. We make our own boxes and put in our own lines. In the meantime we enjoy the structure of the boxes and the lines provided.

Three notebooking pages by Jimmie for Mathematicians Are People, Too and one (Thales) I made myself.

Does notebooking always have to be put into a binder?

We do quite a lot of lapbooking in our homeschool, so this year the notebooking and lapbooking lines are getting sort of crossed. I am putting lapbook mini books onto cardstock pages. I also  make real books with the mini books. I bind several minibooks together so that the pages which turn are actually mini books instead of flat pages with 2-D lines.

We are also using oversized mini books and putting them in pockets. (I borrowed this idea from the History Pockets series.) The “mini books” are a full page size, which is then sort of like a notebooking page with a cover. I hope I have not broken some unsaid rules here about notebooking, but at our house we love how art, writing, bookmaking, narration, composition, and diagramming can all be done via a notebooking page whatever form it may take.

Max working on our lapbook turned notebook for astronomy

I am still learning a lot about how notebooking can be used to narrate and to foster creativity. Since my boys are just budding writers, I am still learning from others more than I have any great tips to offer. But one idea comes to my mind — don’t get stuck in the boxes and lines. Let your children’s intuition and imagination lead them into whatever means of documentation is most meaningful and memorable for them.

Thanks Jimmie for this chance to share on your site. I still love the pixie dust idea. Makes me giggle every time I see it mentioned.

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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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Nadene Reply

I’m tickled to read your new ideas – how you bind your minibooks together and use pockets! Wonderful!
I think that when our children help design and plan their own notebook pages, it not only creates unique and original work, but expresses their thinking and learning styles best.

Phyllis at All Things Beautiful Reply

I love the look of your notebooking. Thanks for sharing your tips with us.

sarah Reply

So true Nadene, I think that is precisely what CM was aiming at with narration. When our children reproduce the text or idea in their own words it will stick with them, nourishing them and enriching their world. It is theirs. I am excited about that aspect of teaching.

AMy @ Hope Is the Word Reply

Thank you, Jimmie, for posting these spotlights. They are very inspirational!

What fantastic pages! 🙂

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