What is it?


When I first heard the word "notebooking," my curiosity got the best of me.  I am always looking for new ideas to refuel our creative tanks here at Highland Heritage.  I began hearing about Terri Campbell and Cindy Rushton.  In my explorations of their work and the Internet sites friends directed me to or I found on my own, I realized that I had already been doing notebooking most of my life.  I have shelves upon shelves of notebooks that I always thought of as my research books.  I have them from homemaking tips, Bible study, newsletter creations, oodles on genealogy, art ideas, nature notebooks, garden books,  teacher tips, and of course, the girls' portfolios.  I had also started some individual notebooks with Ashlee this past year now that she is in high school and feels she has outgrown lapbooks.  Never did I dream that the new rage would be for me an old friend.  Yet, researching information on notebooking did give me some additional ideas to rethink areas for the girls to work on, and I plan to implement quite a few of them for the upcoming school year. 


If you are just as curious as to what "notebooking" is as I was, it may help you to think of research books where you gather information to help you learn more about a specific topic or a portfolio of individual topics.  It can be as fancy as you would like for it to be or as plain and matter-of-fact as your heart desires.  Each child will be different and if you wish for this to succeed in your school, you must give the children some authority to make the book their own. 


Some sites recommend having the child to decide on what they wish to research and let them do all of the work without any parent involvement.  If you have a child that will do that, go for it.  I think it would be great fun for such a student.  On the other hand, if you have children like mine who need strong encouragement, you can always use unit study ideas for the research books with some skeleton ideas of what you would like to see in these books.  I have one child that once so prompted, she will take off quite well on her own.  My other daughter wants everything laid out for her.  Notebooking can work with any student as long as you modify it to suit the child.  As usual, never try to fit a child to a curriculum or approach.  Instead, fit the curriculum or approach to your special child. 


 How can I use it?


There are a variety of areas that this can be helpful for.  Some families have notebooks for every subject.  Some have them for specific topics such as unit studies.  We have been doing nature notebooks and timelines for the last few years while keeping ongoing portfolios to cover everything else.  Last year, Ashlee kept a notebook on Ancient Civilizations, Physical Science, and Pre-Algebra besides her Timeline Notebook.  This year we will branch out a little more.  Ashlee will be keeping a World History Notebook, Bible Notebook, Biology Notebook, Literature Notebook, Algebra Notebook, and her Timeline Notebook will still be ongoing.  Autumn will be keeping a Human Body Notebook, Bible Notebook, American History Notebook, and her ongoing Timeline Notebook.  We are using A Beka curriculum for most of our subjects but are supplementing areas for better retention and understanding by using our notebooks.  As you can see, we did not start right off with oodles of notebooks for the girls to work on.  We started slowly and have added on.  I would highly recommend that approach to you, even though you may become excited about all the possibilities.  If your children are like mine, mother can burn them out quickly about what she gets excited over.  Slow and steady is the best pace. 


Some ideas of items Ashlee included in her notebooks last year:


Physical Science:

Lab reports of experiments

Drawings of scientific topics (weather cycle, atmosphere layers, etc.)

Outlines of science chapters

Chapter review questions and answers


Graphs and diagrams on collected scientific information

Biographies of famous scientists


Ancient World History:


Scrapbook pages of civilization art artifacts pictures

Copies of student created art pieces to model some of the ancient art pieces

Primary sources from time area

Essay questions answered on books about the timeframes studied


Essays on the time frame

Drawings of fashions for each civilization

Bible stories and verses of timeframes

Reflections on history timeframes in the light of God's Word

Outlines of chapters

Chapter review questions and answers


(Also continued adding to timeline notebook)



Samples of math skills learned



Graphs of test results


We plan to add some mini-book samples to some of our notebooks next year as well as some more primary resources.   In addition to those, we plan some field trips that will get included and more pictures that are topic related rather than general.  Actually, I plan to do quite a lot of the same things I have been doing with Autumn in lapbooks in addition to the things Ashlee has been doing in notebooks in one nice masterpiece of a notebook.  When we are completed with these, the girls will have created their own creative texts on the subjects they learned.


Now, while you are at, develop your own notebooks.  My main notebooks that I am working on right now are my planner notebook and Bible study notebook.  My planner notebook has my sermon notes, calendar, house decorating, address book, shopping lists, blessings journal, notes, etc.  My Bible notebook is divided by the New Testament books of the Bible, and I add Bible study notes, outlines, research notes, pictures, maps, question and answer sheets, copy of verses and the list goes on in this book.  This has proven helpful when I teach a specific book to others as well as helping me to grow in knowledge of the Word.  My children are more likely to mimic what I am doing than they are to do a project they never see coming in handy for future use.  They have also been known to take off with my notebooks to get ideas to help with their own.  Sometimes that has proven to be a bit frustrating, but the rewards in their learning are worth those exhausting moments.


 Some ideas to include into notebooks:


Writing assignments - essays, copy work, narrations, etc


Pictures - Drawings, sketches, photos, clipart, and postcards


Neat quotes and mottos


Favorite Bible verses regarding the topic


Information downloaded from the Internet or other sources


Museum and Fieldtrip Memorabilia - handouts, sketches, and information




Projects - Pictures of finished projects, plans regarding the project, etc.


Maps - blank maps labeled by students, completed maps, or student drawn maps


Booklets created like those similar to ones you would find in a lapbook


Terminology study


Diagrams and graphs


Narrations of trips


Pressed flowers, leaves, etc.


Instruction sheets or worksheets


Journal entries


Lab reports


Book lists


Scrapbook pages






Primary sources








Recipes from history


Newspaper or magazine articles




 Helpful Supplies to Have on Hand for Notebooking:


Notebooks - the kinds with clear covers that you can add your own cover page is our favorites.  We generally get them at a wholesale store, Sams Warehouse, where we can get a bunch of them for lower prices.


Scissors - You want to be able to cut out pictures and clipart to add to your pages.


Fancy pens and pencils - for some creativity and inspiration to make children want to write


Glue - to mount booklets to cardstock


Tape - we often use these to mount pictures by folding up small rounds and attaching to the back.  You may prefer mounting corners.


Stickers - can add some flair to your pages


Paper cutters - What creative edges you can make


Rubber stamps - if your children are into these


Scrapbooking books - we have one that demonstrates cute pictures or fonts the girls can use.  They are simple enough to make it easy for the girls to use.


Magazines, Internet, etc. - For pictures, graphics, and neat information


 Sample pages from Highland Heritage notebooks:


Acropolis Scrapbook page


Bible Character study of Noah


Hopefully we can continue to add ideas as the year progresses.  Feel free to share some of your neat notebooking links with me.  I am always looking for ideas.


 Links and Sources to notebooking:


Notebooking!  Yes!  You Can Be a Binder Queen by Cindy Rushton


Fueling the Fire with Notebooks by Ignite the Fire's Terri Camp


Knot Garden Notebooking by Lauri B.


Heart of Wisdom Scrapbooking to Learn Page


Heart of Wisdom Sample Pages


The Waldorf School of Garden City Sample Pages


Homeschooling with Notebooks Samples


North Lake Park Physical Education Notebooks Ideas


Stewardship More on Notebooks






Last Updated 12-24-03