Notebooking is an idea with which I have a love-hate relationship.
I love it because it provides my children with a creative outlet, it requires that they regurgitate what they’ve learned from our reading and discussions, and it gives them with a great way to review what they’ve learned as they look back through their notebook all school year.
I also despise notebooking some days. I don’t like the mess, with tiny bits of paper on the carpet under the table, stray crayons found in the toddler’s hand, stickers shoved willy-nilly back into the storage container, or crumpled up notebooking pages that never made it into a notebook after our lessons.
I asked my kids what they think of it. They said that they like the drawing, cutting, gluing, and decorating parts, but they don’t like writing. (Aaack! Break this writer-mama’s heart!)
“Really?” I asked. (I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t enjoy writing—or talking!)
“I don’t like writing in cursive.”
“Mom, I never know what to say.”
“I hate staring at a blank piece of paper.”
“We need ideas, Mom.”
Okay, so other than the “don’t like writing in cursive” part, I see a common theme here. No one is creative every day. It helps a lot to have some ideas of what to say or do on our notebooking pages.
I looked back at August 2009, when we first started using notebooking at our home and I blogged about it. Back then, I confidently wrote,
“Each day, I find something for them to ‘notebook’ about. (This might be the hardest part? but it has been easy to think of things so far.)”
Famous last words. I did purchase the wonderful Favorite Poems Old and New so that we could copy poems into our notebooks. I also have a lifetime membership to NotebookingPages.com, so that I can get pages for various topics and even design our own pages. This has helped.
As we’ve been writing Homeschooling Torah, we’ve been adding notebooking topics across all the subjects, and in my own home, these ideas have also helped.
However, it’s hard for us moms to give specific ideas to our children when we honestly have no idea what to tell them. I made a list of some ideas for each subject, and I printed it and placed it in the front of my planning notebook so that I could refer to it if needed.
- Copy memory verses.
- Illustrate what you heard in today’s reading. (Examples: days of creation, Noah’s ark, the ten plagues, the tabernacle, the defeat of Jericho, Solomon’s temple, miracles of Yeshua, etc.)
- Tell three things you learned in your private Bible reading today.
- Tell about the life of this Bible character.
- Timelines — Copy a picture of this person from your book or the Internet.
- Maps — Trace a map and label areas that apply to what we’re learning.
- Battles — Draw a map of this battle.
- List 3 or more reasons why this event happened.
- List 3 or more results from this event.
- Draw one new thing you learned today, and write 5 sentences about it at the bottom of the page.
- Copy a Bible verse that could be applied to this event.
- Experiments — Fill in a scientific method worksheet about your experiment.
- Illustrate this principle. For example, draw a model of a hydrogen molecule, show what lift and thrust are, etc.
- Illustrate the planets discussed, etc.
- Copy the plant and label its parts.
- Draw a picture of this animal in its natural habitat.
- Tell why this is an evidence of God’s creation rather than evolution.
- Give three reasons why you believe your point of view is correct.
- Give three reasons why the Bible supports this view.
- Choose an audience for your story (a toddler, a grandmother, your next-door neighbor, etc.).
- Imagine what life would be like if… and tell about a day.
- Answer “who, what, when, where, why, and how.”
- 1st sentence: Tell me what your topic is. Then write three sentences about this topic. Finally, tell me why you wrote about this topic.
- Use Homeschooling Torah’s writing prompts for creative writing topics.
I think the nicest option for busy moms is a curriculum that already includes notebooking ideas. Curriculum suggestions can always be tweaked to fit my family, but at least they give me someplace to start. That’s helpful! (Coffee only goes so far…) This has been our goal at Homeschooling Torah!
I personally downloaded the “Basic Lined Notebooking Pages” from NotebookingPages,com, and I simply print out a lined page for my children to use when I can’t find a more appropriate page for the day. This set includes thousands of pages with borders and boxes and multitudes of ideas. My kids enjoy surfing through them to pick one that fits what they are writing about that day.
For articles on how to use notebooking in your homeschool, visit my friend Debra’s NotebookingPages.com.
Help others! Share your ideas below or link to an article on your blog.