Notebooking is a way for your children to catalog what they are learning. Think of it as a journal for your kids school work. Instead of regurgitating their answers with multiple choice questions or fill-in-the-blank answers, your child reads about a topic and then writes a narration, draws a diagram, fills out a chart, or any other number of activities on that topic.But it’s even more than that… let’s say your child is studying insects. That’s a pretty broad topic, right? Your child might do one or more pages on any of the following…
- Common Insect Orders
- What is entomology?
- What is an entomologist?
- What do entomologists study about insects?
- Label the Parts of an Ant (or other insect)
- How Insects Eat
- What are some ways insects communicate?
- Why do insects communicate?
- Three Types of Insect Life Cycles
- Insect Defenses
- Insect Homes
- Life Cycle of a Butterfly (and other insects)
- Insect Migration
- Inside an Insect
I think you get the point I’m trying to make. By the time your child has completed one topic, they could have an entire notebook filled with information about that specific topic! It’s a pretty awesome learning tool, yes?
Notebooking has been one of the greatest things I’ve introduced into our homeschool. There are many reasons why, but I’m going to try and narrow my list down to only 5 things.
- You can teach all your kids the same topic at all levels… at the same time! I was told many years ago at a homeschool conference to teach to your older child and the younger kids will pick up on a lot more than you think… which is true, by the way. With notebooking, I feel this works wonderfully! We can study anything and each of my kids will have a different experience because of notebooking. They read on different levels and because they are creating their own pages, and often coming up with their own ideas of what to put into their notebooks, it works well for all age groups. In the end, all their notebooks are unique and their own.
- Notebooking creates a ‘study guide’ for your children. When your child creates a notebook, they have something to look back on for review. Even if that review is just telling back to you what they learned about 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years earlier. Meaning, it doesn’t always have to be a written test or essay questions. The notebook is there to review… and enjoy. I think you’ll be surprised at how much your child will retain with notebooking.
- Notebooking forces your children to think and ponder about a topic more deeply . Because the answers aren’t right there on a list in front of them, the kids have to search them out. My kids don’t want an empty notebook, and neither do I! In order to make both mama and child happy, they need to fill that notebook. Therefore, there is a lot more searching going on. And, there is thinking and pondering happening about what is relevant information to be added to the notebook. This forces or allows (how ever you want to word it) your child to THINK and PONDER!
- It’s easier for me. I know, this sounds selfish, but hear me out. It’s been my experience that it’s much easier to have all my kids working on the same subject and topic at the same time. If I’m being pulled in 5 or 6 different directions, having to think about 5 or 6 different things, it hurts my head! So when I say it’s easier for me, this is the reason why. Before I used notebooking in my homeschool, I was literally all over the place helping the kids with different things. It was exhausting! If mom’s spread too thin, sometimes nothing gets done. But if we’re all united, working on a project together, it’s much easier for mom and kids. Not to mention, it brings everyone closer together. Often the older kids will help the younger. They know the topic well, so it’s a piece-of-cake for them to help. And as we moms know, kids learn much better when they can teach someone else what they know. “When one teaches; two learn” Robert Heinlein.
- Notebooking is a fun thing to do. The kids will have a tangible learning tool to learn from again, share with family and friends, and add to later when or if the topic comes up again. They don’t have to just add pages of writing, but add games, puzzles, maps, diagrams, graphs, charts, do projects and take pictures to add to your notebooks… in other words, mix it up a bit. Keep it fun!
Notebooking may not be for everyone, but it is an excellent learning tool. If you haven’t given it a try, do! Try it for a little while and see what you think!
Please leave a comment sharing how notebooking has worked for in your family. We all have slightly different experiences and I’d love to hear what your experiences are. If you have a post you’d like to share, please do so in the comments. Thanks!