How Our Family Incorporates Notebooking

A Little About Notebooking in Our Family

The Nile River Notebooking Page

Notebooking is at the very heart of my homeschool.  We notebook most all of our subjects.

In addition to notebooking for our homeschool subjects, the kids will just notebook things they learn on their own.

They will find some kind of insect in the yard, come inside and notebook something about the insect. Maybe what it was eating, doing, or even questions they want to find out about the bug.

They notebook about places we go, movies they watch, books they read, and the list goes on.

You see, when a child is “notebooking” something, they are creating something special using their own imagination, words, and illustrations. They are creating something they are proud of.

In our school room we keep all kinds of paper: plain, lined, blank on top with lines at the bottom, pages with borders and pictures. We also have markers, colored pencils, stickers, stencils, page protectors…..all the things the kids might need to notebook anything they want at anytime.

My kids also have their own prayer journals that they write in almost daily. The prayer Journal that we have for sale here is the exact one that we use in our family. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is for the children to write about a need or a want in their life, and then later on when God has answered that prayer, they can go back and look at their prayer request. They can see how God was faithful to them, and it builds their faith in him.

Here are some of the things we do in our homeschool

  • Complete written narrations (notebooking pages) on books the kids read independently in various subjects
  • Create KWO (key word outlines) on our white board to help with notebooking subjects where our reading is taking place over several days…read more about this here
  • I give extra credit points for any notebooking pages completed that were not required.  This mostly happens in history where there are tons of rabbit trails to follow.  These extra credit points can be redeemed for a new book from paperback swap.
  • I look over the kids notebooking pages for grammar and spelling errors.  I get lots of words for our “Frequently Misspelled Word” list from here.  I pick a grammar rule that the kids are not following (for instance…using quotation marks when someone is speaking) and allow them to correct it.  We definitely don’t work on every problem at once, I just pick and focus on one or two areas.
  • We look back over our notebooks every semester to freshen up on all that we have learned.
  • We show our pages to Dad when he comes home, and he praises them!
  • I require an illustration, image from internet, or timeline on pages frequently.  My kids don’t really like to draw, but I insist they come up with some sort of visual for their pages…it challenges them to be creative.

Before our family started using notebooking in our homeschool, I remember that my daughter hated writing.

Every morning I would give her a simple sentence to complete in her journal. For example: “I saw a wild horse today and the horse was….”

My daughter hated writing so much that she couldn’t even bring herself to finish the sentence. She would actually sit at the table for 5 to 10 minutes staring at the paper before going to her bed and sobbing.

This would happen EVERY morning.

I would try and encourage her by giving her ideas about how “I” would finish the sentence, but the tears wouldn’t stop. If I even mentioned that she had to write ANYTHING she would race to get in her bed. Finally I just backed off and stopped asking her to write.

Luckily we found notebooking not too long after that.

We started a nature journal and went into our yard to write about bugs. It didn’t take long before she started writing pages on her own without me asking her to do it.

Now, my daughter is a great writer. She writes her own short stories and has begun to write poetry. I got a tear in my eye when she told me one day “Mom, I think that when I grow up I might want to be a writer if I can’t be a horse doctor.”

I have prayed a lot over my children and our homeschool. The Lord answered my prayers about my daughters writing as he led me to discover notebooking.

We have created beautiful notebooks that my kids take out to show friends and family. They will even take out their old notebooks and read them to each other.

Continue reading our beginning notebooking tips:

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