Are you familiar with notebooking? Notebooking is a method of homeschooling that encourages students to write and draw about what they learn instead of using more dry traditional classroom methods such as answering questions at the end of textbook chapters. It allows students to feel more ownership of their work, work more independently, and provides a great record of what they are learning. I received a Lifetime Membership from NotebookingPages.com to review and found that the many resources here make the process of notebooking even easier and more fun to implement.
Notebooking fits in well with our homeschooling style. We have always followed a literature-based approach for history and preferred discussion, “real books” and hands-on activities for science. I have had my children write reports, draw, make timelines and label maps rather than writing short answers to questions. That’s what notebooking is about—allowing the children to demonstrate what they’ve learned in a way that allows creativity and follows their interests. We’ve never used pre-printed notebooking pages, but found them easy to incorporate into our schedule.
What is included in a Notebooking Pages.com membership?
Basically, hundreds of ready-to-use pages on a huge variety of topics. In addition to generic pages with pretty borders, your choice of standard or primary rule lines, and boxes for adding drawings, you have choices of dozens of topics in:
- Alphabet pages
- Bible characters
- Famous People
- Fine Arts
- Language Arts
Each of these pages comes in several formats. You can choose pages with or without a picture or picture box in several layouts and choose standard or primary ruled lines.
A book of centuries is also included for creating a timeline in a book format. Just this item alone can cost $10-$30 dollars from other companies. (We have one from another company that we’ve used for years. It’s a great alternative to a wall mounted timeline.)
Free Notebooking Pages Product Sampler from NotebookingPages.com.
A FREE MEMBERSHIP is available to NotebookingPages.com that provides a generous sampling of pages. It’s definitely worth a try. You may discover that the free membership is all you need or it may tempt you to buy the Lifetime Membership to have access to all the materials (with more still being added!)
How did we use Notebooking Pages?
Our primary focus for this review period was American history. I printed out a stack of pages on topics and people that we had recently studied or would be studying soon. Some, I assigned to Emily; others I just made available for her to choose. That way she could write about topics that were most interesting to her. We found pages on all the early presidents, Santa Fe Trail, Lewis and Clark, the War of 1812, the Constitution, and so on. As she learned about a topic, she’d choose a notebooking page that corresponded or a generic page if there wasn’t a pre-designed page for that topic and wrote a few paragraphs to summarize what she had learned. She really enjoyed doing this and it was a great way to record what she is studying and for me to see what she had retained from her reading.
Notebooking will be a big part of our school plans for next year and I’ve already printed out a lot of pages to use. Emily will be doing a human anatomy and physiology course using Great Courses videos and some other non-textbook resources. I plan to have her “make her own textbook” by notebooking what she has learned each day. I was thrilled to discover that in the human anatomy topic, in addition to the simple notebooking pages available for other topics, there were many diagrams with parts to label. These will be very useful!
The following semester, she’ll be doing a “history of science” course, again with non-textbook resources, so we won’t have access to ready-made comprehension questions or tests. I plan to have her do pages for each scientist she studies as a record of what she is learning.
I think it would be fun to do a poets study as well that would include poet biographies and copywork of poems. Really, one could incorporate notebooking into almost any subject.
Navigating the Site
Immediately upon signing up for my Lifetime Membership, I received several emails. The first, the “Membership Tour and Important Info.” included very specific instructions for logging on and navigating the site.
The second email was an “EasyStart Guide” that provided a 5 day plan for getting started with notebooking. Daily instructions included tutorials to work through, how to start a notebook, and creating the first notebook page. These guides were wonderful for easing the “Aack! Now I have access to thousands of notebooking pages. I don’t know what to do or where to start!” reaction. If you are new to notebooking, you won’t have to worry—these tutorials will get you started without any stress. There are even videos that give tips on how to incorporate notebooking into your school!
What we thought:
I was impressed with the wide variety of pages available. And of course, there are many many generic pages with a variety of formats and borders for use with any topic you can dream up. I loved that there were so many topical pages with illustrations—that makes the finished product so much nicer. Emily said that she is enjoying notebooking because it “helps her remember what is is learning better.”
If you are looking for a way to document informal schooling or if you have never tried schooling outside of the textbook approach, I encourage you to try out notebooking….and notebookingpages.com makes the process very easy!
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