Notebooking 101: Unit Study Notebooking

unit study notebooking

As a busy homeschool mom, I have made it my mission to find things that will make our lives as easy possible.

Did you ever notice how seamlessly some things in life fit together?

  • peanut butter and jelly
  • ketchup and mustard
  • toast and tea
  • unit studies and notebooking

Did you catch that last one?? When we first began our notebooking journey, I never would have thought to link unit studies and notebooking together. After all, notebooking is about writing, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. 

Notebooking is so much more than that. I think we do this technique a disservice when we try to lump it into one simple definition, so let me just put it this way:

You can literally tie notebooking in with anything, including unit studies, and that’s exactly what I’m going to share with you today.

How to Do Unit Study Notebooking

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Since you’re here reading about how to incorporate notebooking into your unit studies, I’m going to assume that you have a fair grasp on what unit studies are, so I won’t go too much into that today. (If you’re new to unit studies, check this out.)

Here are three simple ways you can combine notebooking with your unit study activities:

1. Notebook all of your unit study activities.

Before we started notebooking through our unit studies, I always had a hard time keeping track of all of my kids’ various papers they accumulated. Not wanting to have papers floating all over the house, I used to end up throwing away most of their work and only keeping a small amount for their portfolio.

That never made my kids very happy, and I can certainly understand why.

Making the decision to notebook through our unit studies made all the difference in the world because not only do my children have a keepsake binder to store all of their hard work, but, as the one who plans out what they’ll be doing, I choose their activities more wisely.

One change I have made is that I now provide notebooking pages for my kids to write on rather than plain composition paper. Having an interesting-looking page especially designed for their notebooks is a fantastic motivator for kids who may not normally enjoy writing very much.

As for those activities that can’t be flattened to fit in a binder, such as craft projects and physical activities, taking a photograph to place in the notebook to remember the event is simple and inexpensive.

2. Unit study narrations

Sometimes there just isn’t anything that can be easily notebooked on a given day. On those days, a great substitute is to take a cue from read-aloud notebooks and to have your child write about an activity that was done that day, instead.

Some ideas are:

  • a written narration of what was learned
  • a review of an activity done that day
  • an illustration accompanied by a written description of the topic that was covered
  • a list of new facts that were uncovered

3. Interest-led-style notebooking

A few weeks ago, I shared how my children love to learn about animals from library books for their interest-led animal notebooks.

This same concept can be used for unit study notebooking, as well.

Head out to the library and stock up on books related to your current unit study. Lay an assortment of them on the table and have your child choose one to page through and find inspiration for a notebooking page. How they choose to convey that information is entirely up to them. They may choose to:

  • use a chosen section as copywork
  • write a list of facts
  • write a story incorporating information from the book
  • draw a comic strip incorporating the information
  • illustrate an idea and write a few sentences to describe it
  • write a summary of what they’ve read

And that’s just a fraction of the things they can do! (Find a list of notebooking ideas here.)

As with all things in the homeschool lifestyle, notebooking is another one of those great tools that can be tweaked to fit literally anything you need it to. It’s all about figuring out how to do it. 🙂

Homeschooling and education are my passion. It is my fervent hope to one day devote more time to creating content for you. If you’re interested in helping to make this a reality, consider supporting me on Patreon. Thank you so much. I appreciate each and every one of you!





Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

2 thoughts on “Notebooking 101: Unit Study Notebooking”

  1. Shelley, this—among so many others of your posts/videos—is golden! Thank you for taking your time to share so much of your knowledge and experience with your readers/followers! And congrats on the huge promo from! I subscribed to her email list because of your recommendation; may her referral bring you heaps more subscribers as well! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: