If you have been homeschooling for a while then I can almost bet you have done some sort of notebooking during your studies. Many times when a new-ish homeschooler hears about notebooking they assume it must be some complicated method used by only the most experienced parents and students.
The truth is, notebooking is simple. The process involves recording facts, ideas, images, and illustrations into a notebook- either to organize and remember what you have studied or to aide you in showing what you have learned.
Notebooking somewhat resembles scrapbooking as well because you are not just writing; you are using pictures, graphs, illustrations, lists, timelines, and anything else you can imagine to enhance your educational experience and presentation. In this respect, it can be used with any age group-as perfect handwriting and writing skills are not needed. I have used clipped pictures from magazines and typed captions to make a notebook with smaller children. Think of a notebook as a scrapbook showcasing what your children have researched, what they have learned, and what they can do!
Homeschoolers who are familiar with the Charlotte Mason method often use components of notebooking in their nature studies and narration. Yet, the ways in which you can use notebooking are endless. It is a flexible tool that can be used with any project, subject, or method of homeschooling. Your child’s imagination is the limit when it comes to the content and context of his/her notebook!
There are many ways to get started notebooking. Some homeschoolers choose to use pre-made pages that they print and fill in. Others prefer making their own or using a regular spiral notebook and gluing pictures, project illustrations, and other items onto the pages with appropriate text. We have used all of these styles- but we prefer to print out lined notebooking pages with a space for illustration and then organize them into a 3-ring binder. You can find many free printable pages online by doing a quick search for notebooking or checking out one of these sites:
Still not sure what notebooking is? These two articles are full of great information and pictures to give you a better idea:
Where do you start notebooking? If you are reading an awesome book together, have the kids illustrate scenes from their favorite chapter while you are reading to them. Have them jot some thoughts and questions down. If you are studying science, why not have them draw a picture of the awesome experiment they conducted. Better yet, take pictures of the experiment and paste them into the notebook. Then have your kids make captions for each step of the process!
You can use notebooking to fill requirements for assessment, or you can let your kids run wild and create their own educational journal that they will treasure when they get older and want to look back at what homeschooling really meant to them.