You develop fine motor skills and refine handwriting.
Critical thinking is your game,
Scholars and artists throughout the ages have you to blame
For inventions, learning, research, and more.
To look back over notebooking records is never a bore.
Ok… so I wasn’t meant to be a poet.
We do love notebooking in our home. It’s a fabulous homeschooling method, and I think it’s a great tool for parents to use in family discipleship, whether you homeschool or not! I want to show you our notebooking work over the years and talk about it a bit.
Our Family’s Notebooking Pages
We started homeschooling our younger two boys when they were in first and second grade. (Our two oldest were full-grown adults by then.) We started out with Apologia as our primary science, and that was an excellent choice. We used their notebooking journals, even though I didn’t know a thing about notebooking.
Here’s what I did know: I didn’t want my kids to do fill-in-the-blank worksheets. I wanted them to learn to write, and I wanted them to learn to think critically.
Notebooking fit the bill perfectly.
I couldn’t locate our Apologia Botany notebooks that we used our first year homeschooling. I suspect they’re neatly packed in boxes in our garage attic, but to find them I’d need to use a ladder. I’m not allowed to use ladders, because I have this terrible tendency to fall and break things–usually myself. So, you’ll just have to believe me–we used Apologia’s Botany first. Now they have these fabulous Junior Notebooking Journals, but when we started Apologia, they didn’t had those, so we just used the regular notebooking journals.
The first year notebooking was a challenge for the boys. They didn’t know what to write, they weren’t sure about sentence structure and spelling, and their fine motor skills were in the process of being developed. In their defense, they were six and seven years old.
We did really simple notebooking: lots of drawing, and maybe one or two sentences on each page. Often, I dictated the sentences, spelled words, gently reminded them to add periods and to capitalize sentences.
It was labor-intensive for me, as all teaching in the early grades is, but it paid huge dividends! Take a look at our notebooking over the years.
Notebooking from Grades 2 & 3 (Our 2nd Year of Notebooking)
A note on homeschool notebooking at the lower grades.
I usually read the text aloud, we’d stop every paragraph or so, and the boys would notebook a few sentences. This helped them recall the facts immediately after hearing them. I did not stress spelling while they were doing this. While every word and punctuation mark needs to be correct with copywork, notebooking is more of an expression of critical thinking. I certainly didn’t want to frustrate the boys in their efforts. They did ask for help with the longer words, so those were usually spelled correctly.
Notebooking from Grades 3 & 4
This was the year that both of my younger boys submitted humorous stories to Clubhouse Magazine from Focus on the Family and won a writing contest. They were both published in the magazine that summer. The editors read the submissions without names attached, so the kids were just judged on their writing skills. I was so proud!
Notebooking from Grades 4 & 5
Middle School Notebooking
For the sake of time, I skipped forward a couple years.
This is the Bible Road Trip Year Three Dialectic Notebooking Journal for my youngest’s sixth grade year. I read aloud from The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook (the Researching the Word Dialectic text), and the boys took notes. I think this was a great way for them to learn to take notes for college and for life!
I did still stop after each large section and wait for them to write–they were not quite able to take notes while I’m reading yet. I’m really proud of the great development they’re both showed through middle school.
My boys and I looked up each topic online or in our books, read about it together, then they took notes on their on what they’ve learned.
The journal has structured pages, so the boys had to look for the information in the reading and summarize it, then apply their knowledge by writing out their thoughts.
I included this page, even though the page on the left is just a big list of names, because we had so much fun going through the Bible looking for the names of New Testament Christians other than the disciples.
High School Notebooking
In high school, my boys have continued to take notes. They are still using the Cobblestone Path™ Church History Research Journals, and they now take their own notes on all of their subjects.
Notebooking has been such a blessing for us over the years. If you haven’t yet tried it, I encourage you to do so!
Notebooking Pages and Journals & Notebooking Resources You Want to Know About!
Bible Road Trip™ Year One Bible Notebooking JournalsHow to Use Bible Notebooking Pages to Teach the BibleCobblestone Path™ Church History Research JournalsMy Sermon Notebook for KidsMy Field Trip and Travel JournalMy Book Log | A Notebooking JourneyMy Timeline Notebooking JournalFamous People Who Kept Journals – Is Notebooking Right for Your Child?What is Notebooking? And Why Notebook?How to Notebook with KidsOde to Notebooking | Why we love homeschool notebooking
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