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Time4Learning Demos


Dateline: May 26, 2006

By Dana Sorrell, homeschooling mom to 3, in Kentucky.

Notebooking is like Scrapbooking

I became fascinated with notebooking a few months ago. According to what I read from the internet, it was kind of like scrapbooking. Okay, I wanted to know more! I’ve found that notebooking varies greatly from one family to another, depending on how much the kids want to put into it and how much money you spend. I think most people go out and get some of those white binder notebooks with the pocket on the front to make your own cover and slide it down inside. Some people buy sheet protectors and use them for every page and some just punch holes in the papers and put them in the binders. I’ve also bought small scrapbooks from the dollar store and used those for short subjects. Some people even use cheap spiral notebooks. Some folks go all out and make covers and have the notebook pages actually bound into books.

Using Notebooks for Every Subject

Notebooks can be used for every subject, even math, I’ve learned recently. A preschooler can start with an ABC notebook, start by writing one letter at the top of every page and drawing or pasting pictures that start with that object in the book. A fourth grader might be working on a history notebook that is a actually a time line with 100 years on every page, with drawings, photos, pockets with tiny little mini-books in them, pictures from the museum you visited about that era, drawings depicting events or even fashion of that time, short written explanations of the period or copywork that might be a quote from that time. A geography book would definitely have maps, reports about that country, any crafts that you can press flat and get in there or pictures of the larger crafts. A math notebook might have illustrated math word problems, “Johnny has 4 apples … ” and detailed notes on how to work each type of problem or contain graphs and number lines. Spelling notebooks might list the spelling words, with definitions, drawings, stickers, coloring pages or even photos. They can be as plain as a pencil drawing with a few words (as in my older son’s notebooks) or as fancy as any scrapbook you’ve seen with paper cut outs, photos, borders, popups. There is no limit to the amount of creativitiy you can put into them. They can be pages made on a computer or by hand. They can have a lot of writing or be mainly illustrations or photos with captions. They can be journals. They can be photo albums of large projects.

Individualizing Notebooks

I think notebooks are outlets for all of the different types of creativity because it is such an open-ended activity. For example, I asked my children to make a notebook page about each book we read this year. They pages were so different. My older son prefered to write about the story and draw a picture or two. My daughter wanted a lot of cutting and pasting, very little writing, but beautiful illustrations. My younger son does not like to write and prefered to do his on the computer. All of the pages told the story as the kids remembered it. My kids were resistant at first to the idea, I think because it was so open-ended. They like me to be more specific in helping them get started sometimes, so sometimes I tell them things like “Draw your favorite scene from the book” or “Show what happened at the end” or something like that, just to get them started. Often, I like to make my own page while they’re working on theirs. Hey, mom likes cutting and pasting too!

A Treasure to Save

The notebooks end up being a record of what the child has learned. They can go back and look at them and remember. After the year is over, the notebook can be kept just as it is or the pages can be put in an envelope and stored while the binder itself is reused for the next year’s projects!

Websites to Help Get Started Notebooking

Several web sites now offer printable notebooking pages to help you get started. They frequently have different boxes, borders and drawings on them, to help jump-start your creativity. Do a search on notebooking and you’ll find some good resources to help you get started.

Everything You Need To Begin Notebooking E-Book Set
Cindy Rushton, who has become known as The Binder Queen, uses Notebooking for every subject in her homeschool. She will show you how to begin whether your child is a toddler or the most skeptical high schooler.

Notebooking Pages
Homeschool mom Debra offers both free & affordable notebooking pages plus a variety of other homeschooling helps & ideas. Moms are always very thankful in their responses to the offerings at the site.

You may contact Dana at [email protected].


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