What is Homeschool Notebooking?

Homeschool Notebooking.jpg

Notebooking has been around for quite some time. From Artists, statesman, writers, explorers, and scientists they have all kept notebooks and journals. 

Benjamin Franklin notebook page.

Benjamin Franklin notebook page.

What is notebooking?
Notebooking is a term for a timeless discipline of keeping a journal. These notebooks capture a personal journey that one can look back at and get a sense of what was going on in that period. The same applies to your student as they can look back on the school year and reflect on all that they have learned. In the homeschool environment, these notebooks have an emphasis on education. These books will surely become a treasure for you and your student to keep for year's to come. 

Instead of having heaps of handouts, quizzes, at the end of the year you can have a notebook for each subject. This approach allows the student more time exploring, discovering, and capturing knowledge each day. They fill out their notebooks throughout the year on the various topics you choose. We've decided on history, science, and reading comprehension. You can also opt to do a geography, language arts, and even math notebook. The possibilities are endless. 

It's important to note that this is not just fill in the blank activity, but rather an opportunity for your child to put in their notebook what they found most interesting, to show what they learned and what they want to remember.
What to include in your notebooking?

There are two primary components of the notebook, written and visual. For the written portion you would add narrations, facts of the particular subject, and reflections for the student to fill out on his own. For the visual part, you would include maps and drawings.
Here are some examples of notebooks. 

                                                                  Story of the World Notebook page

                                                                  Story of the World Notebook page

How to notebook?

Start simple with your notebooking adventure. Have each of your students' choose their favorite subject and have them create a notebook for that subject. I have a daughter that's entering 3rd grade and twins who are entering kindergarten. They all have their science notebooks and are studying the same material. For my older daughter's notebook, she will go much deeper into the material in her notebook and with the twins, I will keep it simple to drawings and simple sentences stating science facts. To get your student started,  you may need to ask questions to get the student to think about what they want to write their books. In the beginning, you may find your student does not expand their descriptions but as they keep notebooking that skill will flourish, and they will become more descriptive writers. 

As your child digs deeper in the subject, continue to add new material to the notebook. The book will expand as the year goes on. The notebook can include an array of items like quotes, photographs, ticket stubs from an event, maps, information on their field trips, timelines, drawings, sketches, a collection of things like leaves, pressed flowers, or seeds. Allow for your child's imagination to run free.

What are the benefits of notebooking?
The most notable advantage of notebooking is cutting out busywork in the child's day. How do you decide if something is busywork?  Ask these questions, does the activity your child is doing have a lasting impact on them learning that subject? Not all school activities are about having fun, but if we make them more enjoyable, it's more likely that the child will have the material stick. As the child builds their notebook, they are actively engaging in the material they are studying and expressing it in written or visual form.

Notebooking is a perfect way to inspire creativity, document learning, organize content, and learn effectively. It brings organization to our homeschool days. Throughout the process of notebooking, you may find your child become a storyteller, teacher or an expert in the subjects he or she is studying. 

As they have more experience with notebooking, you will see the richness of what your student in learning will be displayed in their notebooks. The layers of what they have learned will be evident in the scale of their notebooks. You will also see that each of your children's notebook will take on their personality adding to the beauty of notebooking. It's a tremendous blessing to sit with your child and see the joy and wonder expressed in their notebooks.  

Your child will develop a mixture of skills, listening, narration, organization, artistic and so much more. The notebooks have a way of teaching back to the student on what has been studied. Some influential men engaged in notebooking, from Thomas Jefferson to Lewis & Clark. Through notebooking, your child will learn to communicate effectively on what they have learned. 

              Homeschool Template Example.   NotebookingFairy.com

              Homeschool Template Example. 


Notebooking Recap:
Record learning
Create a portfolio
Practice summarizing
Practice composition
Reinforce what is learned
Help children see connections
A way to practice handwriting, grammar, and spelling across your curriculum.

What supplies do I need to create a homeschool notebook?
3 ring hole puncher
A composition book or spiral sketchbook
Colored pencils
Construction paper
Glue sticks
And any craft supplies you may have in your home.

There are a lot of printable options online, and many offer free notebooking templates. This process does not need to be arduous or expensive. There is an abundance of free templates online. If you are a creative, you can create your pages. The templates have a variety of designs with preprinted lines, frames, border and artwork that allow notebooking to be stress-free. The pre-printed lines work great for narrations and copy work. The empty frames are perfect for drawings or maps. You can find an array of free templates on www.notebookingpages.com. 

How to Organize Notebooking Pages

Look at your weekly homeschool lesson plans and choose an area that would lend itself well to notebooking. Then look at your weekly teaching plan.  Pick a day that introduces and completes a single idea.  It might be a famous individual or a single historical event.  Or in the case of science, it may be a lesson about a chemical process or an animal.  Hone in on that one day's science or history lesson.  Now you have your starting point.

                                                 Reading Notebook

                                                 Reading Notebook

Complete Your Lesson Plan as Normal

Teach as you normally would. Do not change your homeschool plans for the sake of notebook. Notebooking is meant to add richness to your lessons and reinforce the homeschool lesson. It's not intended to complicate your homeschool day. At the start of each lesson let your child know that you will have them recount what they have learned and to add that to their notebooks.  

Next, Have Your Child Orally Narrate 

Once the homeschool lesson is complete ask the child to tell you verbally what you all just covered. Ask questions to your student. Your goal is to get the most information from your student to ensure they get as much detail in their book. Also, ask them if there are images that come to mind that they would like to include in their books. 

                                                                                  Science Notebook

                                                                                  Science Notebook

While your child narrates depending on skill level write key words, word bank, outline or perhaps you might have to dictate the narration for your child. For your older children make sure to get them to be as expressive as it can. Your goal is for the one or two pages of that homeschool lesson to be generous with information. 

Then have the student add their notebook page have to their homeschool notebook. As the homeschool year progresses, you will keep adding pages. The book will take the life of your child's personality. Get ready for an exciting homeschool year experience.