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Notebooking – Build Good Habits in Your Homeschooler

Notebooking in high school has distinct advantages over worksheet style learning. The process of notebooking builds good habits and aids in learning in a more meaningful way. Here are a few points I appreciate after using notebooking in our high school courses over the last four years.

The Benefits of Notebooking

1. Diligence – It takes earnest effort to complete a high school level notebook page. We expect writing, sketches or an image, and thorough coverage from Mr. B and his work. Making a notebook page does not allow for guesswork. You either have something of significance to write or record on the page or you don’t. I see Mr. B working hard to fill in the notebook page in a way that shows his very best work. History Scholar-Mayans

2.Creative Thinking – One of the biggest benefits of notebooking in high school is that Mr. A always seemed to come up a creative angle to his pages. Notebooking can be quite right-brained. If you have a child that struggles with writing or tends to doodle, notebooking may be just the thing to try. A blank notebook page is not as intimidating as a blank piece of paper. There are places to put all those random thoughts and images in a way that connects them together, making a coherent summary of the information learned.

3. Organization and Continuity – This is where I see notebooking shine. The pages help organize thoughts. Then, the pages can be organized in a binder in a way that makes sense and they are ready for future reference. When you finish with one year, you can pick up your notebooking where you left off and continue on in the next year. If you need to review at the beginning of the school year, pull out the notebook binder and page through to get the juices flowing again.

4. Chronological – Most of us went through school with our minds muddled as far as keeping history in chronological order in our thinking. The normal public school scope and sequence jumps from topic, time period, and geographical location. Keeping notebook pages and/or a timeline will keep things neat and tidy and in chronological order for notebookers. (See link below for ideas in making your own timeline notebook.) Timeline and History Notebook Pages

5. Spelling and Handwriting – Our family does very little formal spelling and handwriting practice in high school (see my post on Spelling Wisdom – copywork and dictation). Using notebook pages helps me “spot check” these two areas of learning. There is no spell check on a notebook page and if I can’t read the handwriting…it gets rewritten in a neater manner.

6. Personalized Learning – Creating a notebook page allows the student to share what they learned and what they thought about a topic. They have room for personalizing the page with the design, the topic, and the manner in which the information is shared. I am excited to add here that soon will have a new feature for all Treasury Members! The Notebooking Publisher will allow for student to customize their own notebook pages, type in their narration, and then print the page for their notebook. Mr. A would have loved this ability to work directly from the computer keyboard. For students that have trouble with the physical aspects of writing, the new Notebooking Publisher will be an answer to prayer. Click the link below to read more about the what, how, and when of this new exciting feature.

Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership

You may be interested in also reading:

Notebook Pages in a Charlotte Mason Homeschool

History Timeline with Notebook Pages Notebooking With Living Books for High School

My Squidoo Page: Notebooking in High School

Owning an Authentic Homeschool Life You Love

Iris Lavender
My daughter has taught me an important principle in life.

“If you don’t love it, don’t own it.”

That philosophy finds its way into my thinking in so many situations: what to wear, how to declutter, how to manage finances. It also is a principle that I have applied to my homeschooling philosophy. If the curriculum doesn’t fit and you don’t love it, let it bless someone else. No one wants to get up each day and deal with a homeschooling curriculum or lifestyle that doesn’t fit.

If you aren’t thrilled about a particular homeschooling program, your children will know it. They will see it in your manner and hear it in your voice.

Dogwood Tree in Bloom

  • Don’t settle. Seek out what works best for your family and children.
  • Be confident in whatever you decide to do. You know your child better than anyone else. 
  • Remember it is all about relationships. Nurture those that are the most important. 
  • Nothing is set in stone. Homeschooling is in constant motion. 
  • Enthusiasm is contagious. 

Be in the habit of spending a few minutes at the end of each term to reflect on your homeschooling progress. This habit will eliminate feeling unmotivated and burned out in your homeschool life. If you don’t love it, let it go! Find something to be passionate about and your children will be too.

Photos from our trip to the Amador Flower Farm.

Habit: Remembering The Thoughts Of God

Bible - American Standard Version Spine

“To keep a child in this habit of the thought of God––so that to lose it, for even a little while, is like coming home after an absence and finding his mother out––is a very delicate part of a parent’s work.”
CM volume 3 page 141

“The habit of hearing, and later, of reading the Bible, is one to establish at an early age.”
CM volume 3 page 142

I didn’t realize it at the time but when I became a Christian I had some good habits to establish. There were habits I needed to learn for myself and then pass on to my children. I had the desire for my children to have a close personal relationship with their Creator and not the sort of  “just go to church on Sunday” up-bringing that I experienced. Crucial to our relationship with God is having knowledge (John 17:3) and if we are really going to get to know him and be pleasing to him we need to look into his Word regularly. I also yearned for my children to feel the joy that comes with reading the “letter” that their Creator wrote to them, hoping they would listen and live a long time (Eph. 6:1-4).

Introducing the Bible to my children at an early age, we established the habit of Bible reading as a family. First thing each day we gather for our Bible time and over the years we have read both children’s versions of the Bible and straight from the Bible itself. We use a modern translation as well as an Interlinear Bible.

Bible - Proverbs 10 and 11

“The field of the habits of the religious life should afford many valuable matters for reflection and teaching; as, for example, the habitual thought of God in a family; the habit of reverence in thought, attitude, act, and speech; the habit of prayer as regards time, place, manner, matter; the habit of praise and thanksgiving; the habits of attention and devotion during a service; aids to devout habits; the habit of devotional reading.”
CM volume 3 page 144

In my experience, the most valuable part of raising a family of Bible readers is that we learn Bible principles, applying and connecting the accounts and counsel we study to our everyday lives. This habit over time builds up a firm foundation and leads to behavior that is governed by the principles rather than a long list of rules. What was learned as a young one can grow with them and inside them, affecting how they react as teens. They allow themselves to be molded by the words they trust and not by outside peer pressure or even adult pressure. They can stand up for their beliefs because those principles are solidly a part of who they are and what they stand for as a young Christian.

“You will cause me to know the path of life.
Rejoicing to satisfaction is with your face;
There is pleasantness at your right hand forever.”
Psalms 16:11

Memorizing scripture is important and allows the holy spirit to recall verses to mind when needed but having the ideas and principles in their hearts is the tricky part. In our family, we don’t just read scriptures. I have learned to ask them questions as a follow-up.

  • What do they think about a verse or account?
  • How does it apply to them? 
  • What did they learn from reading the account? 
  • And the biggest one of all….do they believe what they read? 

Sometimes I assume my children get the point of a scripture but when asked a probing question, they crumble and waver. I look at it as just another opportunity to help them learn to rely on God’s spirit and direction. We do some more research, perhaps looking up cross references, hopefully finding a way to reach the heart. It takes time and you really need to pray for guidance. My goal has always been to encourage my children to look to the Bible FIRST for advice and direction. Isn’t that something we can all work on?

“When wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge itself becomes pleasant to your very soul, thinking ability itself will keep guard over you, discernment itself will safeguard you..” Prov. 2:10

Charlotte Mason gives us some good direction in using the Bible to train our child’s thinking in Volume 3 of her series. Like all habits, they can be started at any time and it is never too late to establish this important habit of remembering the thoughts of God. You may be interested in reading about our progressive Bible study in this post: Knowledge that is Better Than Silver and Gold.

This post is part of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

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