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“Life Should Be Full of Living”

“When I say that life should be full of living, I mean that we should be in touch and able to relate with some genuine interest no matter where we are, what we hear, or what we see. This kind of interest isn’t something we give to children. In fact, we’d prefer that children never say that they’ve learned botany or chemistry or conchology or geology or astronomy, or whatever. The question isn’t how much a student knows after he’s completed his education, but how much he cares, and how many categories of things he cares about.”
Charlotte Mason, volume 3, pg 171

Our study of world geography has evolved over the last sixteen weeks. We no longer are content to study maps and dry facts. Realizing that in the past we learned all our geography in relation to our history study, much of which included a thorough knowledge of some places that no longer exist or are considerably different in the century we find ourselves in now, we have tried to adapt our study to include a more thorough knowledge of modern geography, people, and environments.

I think the above quote by Charlotte Mason sums up what we are finding in our geography study. The more we dig into our areas of interest, the more we really *care* about the country. Two things have captured the interest of us all and one of them will probably be of no great surprise to those that read my blog with any frequency. 🙂

Current events: Both of my teens love to find current events to share from the country of the week. They use online research to find an article to read. They then write about it or print the article out for their notebook. Sharing these articles on Fridays during our meeting together is always interesting and lively. Many times the article brings up questions where we need to do more research in order to understand the background of the issue. This digging around for more facts brings us closer to understanding far away peoples and cultures. (Cuba notebook page is from History Scribe-Geo Scribe: Nations of the World.)
If you purchase these at right now, they are at a major discount!

Nature Study topics: We choose at the beginning of the week an area for each of them to research as it pertains to animals, plants, or the geology of the country. (Gems nature notebook page is from the Trail Guide World Geography Student Notebook.)

Here are some samples of the notebook pages from our study of Canada.

This was a lot of fun to read and very interesting. Because our time is limited for geography study each week, we really have to watch how much time we spend following rabbit trails.

Researching the information takes some skill and effort. I love the way they only record information that interests them. I can feel their enthusiasm for the subject at our meetings on Fridays and like Charlotte Mason said in the above quote, “…the question isn’t how much the student knows…..but how much he cares….”.
(The notebook page is one that was offered during the Outdoor Hour Challenge series on mammals last winter.)

We still are completing a fairly traditional high school geography course but taking the geography study to a higher level of personal interest has changed the whole look and feel of our week.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Tapestry of Grace Year Three Art and Music Plans: Harmony Art Mom Style

We just recently finished our first six weeks of school and along with that our first artist and composer studies.

I have divided our school year into six week blocks of time and during each of those six week blocks my sons are choosing an artist and a composer to study at length. I have chosen artists and composers during the 1800’s time period to go along with our history time period covered in Tapestry of Grace Year 3. I have also chosen artists and composers that we may not have gone into depth studying before.

Each week they have two art appreciation sessions and one music appreciation session planned into their school day. I made a list of artists and composers for them to choose from and they are allowed to choose the order of study. They really liked having that choice. High school is such a delicate balance of give and take, giving choices is one way to offer a little more freedom within their day. Along with that freedom comes responsibility and I think at least for this six week block, they both showed me that they are ready for these kinds of choices.

Who Did They Study?
Mr. A: Gustav Klimt and Maurice Ravel
Mr. B: Albert Bierstadt and Tchaikovsky

The simple plans that I pulled together to go along with the Tapestry of Grace Year Three time period outline suggested ways to study the artist and the composer. They view the paintings, read a short biography, complete a simple notebook page, and then duplicate a painting or a portion of a painting as a follow-up using any medium that they choose. The photo at the top of this entry is the pen drawing of a Klimt painting that my son decided to work on. I love how he displayed his artwork in the photo, very creative indeed. For their composer study they are doing lots of listening. I love that they are listening more than I originally expected them to when I was making up the outline for their music study this year. It definitely lifts the mood in the afternoons.

HFA Free 1800s Button for Blog
If you are interested in using these plans, I have made them into a PDF for you to download for free.
Art and Music Plans-1800s (high school level)
These plans are available as a free download.

Here are some photos/scans of their notebook pages.

Albert Bierstadt



Even though this plan for art and music appreciation is very simple, it is powerful. All of my high school music appreciation plans are free as downloads from my website: Harmony Fine Arts.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Notebook Pages in a Charlotte Mason Homeschool

After my post a few days ago about’s Back to School Sale, I received some email asking me how I used the notebook pages in a Charlotte Mason style. I thought I would share how we have used their notebook pages over the years as a way to keep track of written narrations in various subjects.

We have been using notebooking pages for a very long time in our family. It gives us another tool to use to encourage writing and an attractive way to record our narrations that have become a part of our everyday homeschooling life.

Completing a notebook page is an easy way to follow up composer study. We use the pages to record a short biography, a list of pieces we listened to over the course of our study, and then also to have a place to narrate the emotions that the composer’s music brings up inside us. It is a living record of our study and not just dry facts.


Famous Composers Notebooking Pages
The great part about using a pre-made set is that you can easily pull up the pages and print whatever you need as you go along. Sure I could make my own pages, but sometimes a completed notebook page would not happen if the pre-made pages were not sitting in a folder on my desktop. I definitely save time and use more pages when I have them all ready to print.

Another subject that I use notebooking pages for on a regular basis is history. History seems to lend itself to a good notebook page with a map, a scene from history, or a portrait of a historical figure. These are the pages where I let the boys record their summary of a daily reading, a short biography of an important person, the results of a research point that came up during their daily reading, or anything else they feel is worthy of remembering from their study of history. We do not use quizzes in our homeschool, but I can tell by reading their notebook pages whether they are gaining a real understanding of the material we cover. I highly recommend the Ancient Times Notebooking Pages from Click the link below to see samples and a table of contents.


Ancient Times Notebooking Pages

One tip I have for making sure you remember to use your notebooking pages is to print out the table of contents once you receive your download. I have been known to download a set of pages and then forget that they are on my computer. Printing out the table of contents gives me a visual reminder of what I have available.

I slip them into a clear sheet protector and put them into my subject planner binder. On Monday mornings when we have our Tapestry of Grace planning meeting and we are planning our science for the week, I check for notebook pages that might apply to our week’s study. I then print out the pages and my boys insert them into their weekly work. Many times we will forget to check the lists and will miss a great notebooking page opportunity.

My boys like the history pages so much that they will request one to include just for fun or they will see the image or the title and then want to do some research and complete the page for their notebooks. I love that they inspire more thought and writing and are never a “fill in the blanks” sort of exercise.

I have been know to give the boys a history notebooking page to use for spelling practice or to record their vocabulary or spelling sentences using Spelling Power.

The Ancient History set of notebooking pages is a great complement to Tapestry of Grace Year 1. We used this set weekly during Year 1 for a beautiful notebook of pages by the end of the year.

During Tapestry of Grace Years 3 and 4 there is a plan to complete a study of the American Presidents. I wish I would have had this set of notebook pages to use with that study. It would have made my life easier.


American Presidents Notebooking Pages

Some of us dream of beautifully illustrated nature journals, but the reality is that our children need a little help getting started. I have found this set of notebook pages to be a great jumping off spot for helping my boys record their adventures in the outdoors. Printing some pages off and tucking them inside their sketchbooks have been a great way to encourage them to write about what they encounter in the outdoors.


Nature Study Notebooking Pages

There is a page for every topic you can think of for nature study and you can even use some of the pages as a way to start off a focus study in a certain area of nature. We have used the seasonal pages, the habitat pages, and weather pages over and over. Click the link above for samples and a table of contents.

My favorite set of all is the North American Bird set. I printed out the table of contents and posted it near our window and when we see a new bird and identify it, we check the list to see if we can print out a corresponding notebook page to include in our nature journal.

In fact, I recommend the whole Bird Nature Study set. We used it in the Outdoor Hour Challenges for birds every week.


Birds - Basic Study Pages

You can click over and see the samples of the All About Birds set, the Tropical Birds set, and the Birds of the World set.

This brings up another great point about using pre-made notebooking pages. Once you invest in the pages you have started to build a library of topics and styles to choose from year to year. I am pretty sure that I purchased our history set three years ago and we are still using it even in our high school years. I decided that they would make a great way to record some narrations on world religions as well.

One more thought about notebooking pages in general. My boys are big time doodlers. They doodle as they work on their math, they doodle in their science notebook, and they doodle just for fun. Notebooking pages give them a place to doodle, color in images or titles, and to make their own sketches as a way of narration. I like to encourage their creative outlets as much as I can since it seems to make them more balanced and happy students.

I keep a few sets of colored pencils and a set of thin Crayola markers within reach of our workspace. We organize our notebooking pages into binders. We have used subject binders for many, many years and it works well with our style of homeschooling. Binders with tabs provide a great way to store all those pages until you are ready to bind them up at the end of the year.

If you are still not sure about using notebooking pages in your homeschool, you can always give it a try using her free pages. Free Homeschool Notebooking Pages. She has some great resources available including timeline pages, maps, lap book templates, and pages to use with Tapestry of Grace.


Free Notebooking Pages Sampler

Please know that I am affiliate for and will receive a small commission if you eventually purchase something from her awesome lineup of products.

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