Have you ever wondered how some people can seem just so. darn. excited. about their homeschool? I mean, really. Let’s be honest. While there are lots of great ideas floating around out there, is there really anything that is worth absolutely gushing over?
I’m going to say yes.
Last year, I encountered a homeschool trick that not only changed our homeschool, but also completely changed my children’s attitudes towards doing their school work every day:
Witnessing the abrupt about-face in my kids prompted me to become a staunch advocate of this relaxing, yet effective homeschooling tool. I just can’t seem to shut up about it!
As I was pondering a question someone proposed to me the other day, I realized that as much as I’ve tackled the issue of how to notebook and the many ways it can look, I realized that I’ve never actually addressed the benefits of notebooking.
I never tackled the why.
Today I’m rectifying that. 🙂
10 Reasons You Should Consider Notebooking in Your Homeschool
1. It allows your child to have more say in what they write about.
Some kids love to write and will happily complete any writing assignment given to them. Others, not so much. Notebooking is a great fit for both groups of kids because it allows them to have more freedom in their writing than they would in a regular writing assignment.
Whether it’s choosing which notebooking page they’d like to use, what they’d like to write about, or what form of writing they’d like to utilize, it’s no secret that kids are more enthusiastic about things when they’ve had the option of offering their own input.
Traditional writing assignments often have very specific parameters. Although some notebooking assignments can look like that, they can also be more flexible and open to the interests and abilities of the child.
2. There are so many different ways to notebook.
Notebooking can come in so many forms and often looks completely different from one house to the next, but that’s one of the beauties of it. Whether you use it for copywork, journaling, narration, unit studies, interest-led learning, or anything else, the sheer amount of choices available makes it so easy to find a style that works best for each child.
3. The options of what to put in a notebook seem endless.
The reason that so many children don’t like to write is because they think it’s boring. Notebooking puts the fun back in it since the writing assignments (and they don’t even feel like assignments!) go so much further than the typical composition or 5-paragraph essay.
In the words of Jimmie Lanley of The Notebooking Fairy, anything that can be flattened can go in a notebook. Some ideas are:
- song lyrics
- comic strips
- book reviews
- creative writing
- vocabulary words
- artwork, and
Believe me, I could keep going!
Now doesn’t that seem more enjoyable?
4. It’s more effective than the typical worksheet.
Yes, notebooking can completely take the place of worksheets, which I happen to believe are mostly busywork. Rather than simply filling in the blank or answering multiple choice questions, notebooking enables your child to write about what they’ve truly learned. It goes beyond simply looking back through a chapter to find the answers. It’s about communicating what information was absorbed, understood, and how your child interprets it.
5. It’s a better way to assess progress than testing.
Yup, I said it.
When kids study for a test, they often simply memorize everything they know will be on it. Some are pretty good at this. I was one of them. I did very well because of my memorization skills.
Thank goodness tests were once and done because if you had asked me a month later, I wouldn’t have known the answers anymore.
Notebooking gives you a more holistic view of what’s been learned because it allows you to see a natural progression of a child throughout the year. Just as discussion is far superior to answering reading comprehension questions, notebooking gives a much better picture of what’s been retained and understood correctly.
6. It provides a way to meet your child where they’re at.
This year, I’ll be homeschooling nine kids. I do not have one single piece of curriculum that goes by grade level this year.
Notebooking is the perfect solution for kids who are out-of-the-box. Just because two children are the same age doesn’t mean they will have the same abilities. Children who do not write much or have to work on fine motor skills can easily use illustrations as their narrations, simpler copywork passages, tracing sentences, and even dictation where they tell you what they’d like to write about, and you write it for them.
Notebooking is multi-level. No exceptions.
7. It allows your child to embrace her creativity.
When you were in school, how many times did your teachers tell you not to draw on your homework or other papers? I heard it a lot.
In fact, I remember one of my own kids coming home from school several years back with a little note in the margin:
Do not draw on your work.
With notebooking, I say go ahead and draw to your heart’s content! What child wouldn’t be excited about the opportunity to add some fun to her homeschool day by expressing her individuality without getting in trouble for it?
As for me, I go all out. My kids have glitter, stickers, washi tape, markers, and a whole notebooking bin filled with supplies to spruce up their pages. 🙂
8. Using copywork for notebooking gives you the chance to correct grammar and writing mechanics without discouraging your child.
Do you remember how it felt for you to do your best on a report or creative writing piece, only to have it returned covered in red pen? Who can blame kids for not being excited about writing? They put their heart and soul into something that ends up being criticized and handed back without a second thought.
I love, love, love copywork for this reason. Since my kids are copying other people’s words- and not their own- if I have to correct a missed comma, period, or capital letter, it’s not a big deal because, again, it’s only something they copied. Eventually, they will get used to proper sentence structure by seeing it modeled in their copywork selections.
When it comes to my kids’ original work, I don’t spend time worrying over the mechanics. Content has to come first, and it does in our home. Unless I see a major problem in my children’s finished products, I do not correct punctuation, capitalization, or grammar.
9. It’s perfect for storage.
Since I have so many kids, I’ve always got a lot of schoolwork floating around the house. B.N.- Before Notebooking- I used to keep everything in folders. That only worked well for about the first week or so. Eventually, life would happen and neither my kids nor I would be diligent in putting their papers away.
All of the assignments they completed and projects they did would end up on the dining room table, covered in toast crumbs and milk.
Notebooking is the perfect storage solution because your kids know that their work matters. Even though sheet protectors can be costly, I do invest in them because it’s an indication to my kids that their notebooks will be saved and cherished. This alone is a great motivator for them to see that their papers are all placed in their sleeves and in the proper notebook.
No more papers all over the house!
10. They can be used as annual homeschool portfolios.
Where I live, we are required to submit a portfolio to an evaluator once a year with samples of our kids’ work.
B.N.- Before Notebooking- I used to wait until the end of the year and then frantically search the house for whatever decent, non-crusty papers I could find.
It was very stressful.
Now that we use notebooking, I have ready-made portfolios. Everything that is included in the notebooks is the same sort of thing that would be included in a portfolio, only now it’s kept all year long.
I cannot tell you what a relief it is to only have to grab a few math samples, and BAM! Portfolio done.
While homeschooling has always been a passion of mine, it has only been multiplied since we began our notebooking journey.
So, come on. What are you waiting for?
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