What is Notebooking?

by Jimmie

Notebooking is a simple but flexible instructional method which many homeschool families use to reinforce and record what their children learn.

Although notebooking is a simple teaching method, it's hard to define, so it's no wonder people ask, "What is notebooking?"

If you could see some homeschool notebooks, you would have a clearer idea of what it is. So I'll show you some photos from my daughter's work and explain some characteristics of notebooking. (Click on the images to see a larger view.)

Notebooking for Homeschool

A Collection of Notebooks
A Collection of Notebooks

Notebooking is a Way to Record What You Learned

Notebooks can hold anything that reflect what you have learned during homeschool lessons. 

Notebooks are Varied

A basic notebooking page is a written narration of that day's material. An image or drawing is typically used to dress up the text-filled page. But notebooking can include many different types of narration. In fact, I have compiled a list of 50 Things to Put into a Notebook

Here is a sampling from that list:

Notebooking is Inexpensive

All you need are notebooks and the homeschool supplies that you probably already have -- pencils, paper, glue, scissors, markers. Most notebookers use three ring binders and find that a three hole punch is a worthwhile investment. But when you are just starting out, stick with the supplies you have on hand.

Notebooking can be Used with Any Curriculum

No matter what type of curriculum you use, notebooking works. After a lesson, have your child create a notebooking page about what he just learned. His page can include written text, pasted images, drawings, diagrams, maps, etc. 

NOTE:  If you use a traditional, textbook curriculum, notebooking can take the place of many of the comprehension questions and worksheets that you normally do.

Notebooking Can be Used for Any Subject

You may want to start with notebooking just one subject. Many people find that history is a very easy area to begin with. But notebooking can truly work for any academic discipline. Besides history, we have used notebooking for 

Notebooking Offers a Way to Review

When dad comes home and asks what your children learned, the notebooks are full of detailed answers. Even weeks later when you need to look up a fact, you can reference the notebook as an authority. A child comes to take great pride in his notebook as its contents grow over the weeks and months of a school year.

Furthermore, if your state requires portfolio documentation, notebooks are perfect. 

Notebooking Examples

from a sixth grader
Gauguin Notebooking Pages
Gauguin Notebooking Pages
Poetry Notebooking Page
Poetry Notebooking Page
Aesop Notebooking Page
Aesop Notebooking Page
Jacob Lawrence Notebooking Page
Jacob Lawrence Notebooking Page
DNA Notebooking Page
DNA Notebooking Page
Geography Notebooking Page
Geography Notebooking Page
Cell Notebooking Page
Cell Notebooking Page

Want to Know More About Notebooking?

Notebooking Success is Your Complete Guide to Notebooking

For less than the cost of a single workbook, Notebooking Success eBook walks you through exactly how to use notebooking in your homeschool no matter what style you use -- classical, Charlotte Mason, delight directed, or textbook.

Notebooking Success EBook
Notebooking Success EBook

Reproducible Books That Work Well With Notebooking

Giant Science Resource Book
Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
$22.49  $14.55
Ready-to-Go Super Book of Outline Map...
Scholastic Teaching Resources (Teaching
$6.0  $2.03
Eagle's Wings Considering God's Creat...
Eagle's Wings
$137.22  $6.91
Quality The Big Book Of Graphic Organ...
Only $23.75
50 Graphic Organizers for Reading, Wr...
Teaching Resources
$13.69  $6.57
Easy Make & Learn Projects: Colonial ...
Teaching Resources
$9.44  $5.47

Three Latest Posts at The Notebooking Fairy

how-tos and printables with a pinch of pixie dust
Do you have kids who are reluctant writers because handwriting is a struggle? Are they hesitant to start notebooking because they’re intimidated by writing? Well...
Artist study is one of the more rewarding and relaxing parts of our homeschool. I admit that I like having an excuse to study art that I never made time for in years e...
I recently bought tickets to a performance of The Tempest by the Tennessee Shakespeare Company and realized that some theater notebooking pages would be great for afte...

The Notebooking Fairy

The Notebooking Fairy -- printables and how-tos with a pinch of pixie dust

The Notebooking Fairy is a blog devoted exclusively to homeschool notebooking.

There you will find Q & A articles about implementing notebooking, tutorials, how-tos, and maybe best of all, free printable notebooking pages.

The Notebooking Fairy -- printables and how-tos with a pinch of pixie dust

Another View of What is Notebooking

Updated: 05/13/2012, Jimmie
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Cathy on 07/08/2012

This is great. Check out the photo gallery on my blog page from my first year with Math Notebooking with 4th graders.


MuminBusiness on 12/23/2011

Great Wizz, just starting the homeschooling journey with my oldest so I need all the ideas I can get!

barbarab on 09/03/2011

well this was woderful! its the same in college and grad school then...a portfolio as you said of all the research done to learn a subject!
too cool!

Guest on 06/08/2011

Thanks for explaining notebooking. It looks pretty cool.

wenkrick on 05/31/2011

Thanks for explaining what notebooking is. I think it is a great idea. I also enjoyed reading your blog.

tandemonimom on 05/30/2011

I love notebooking and wish I had done more of it when my kids were younger!

Vanderbilt Wife on 05/30/2011

My sister is an elementary-school teacher and she recommended this for my daughter--even if we're just doing preschool-type learning at home. Thanks for the tips!

JoyfulPamela on 05/29/2011

As my children are getting older, we have been switching from lapbooking to notebooking. Either way they are excellent ways to learn and remember.

ohme on 05/29/2011

I love the concept of Notebooking and wished that it had been around when I was in school.

theraggededge on 05/29/2011

They are like art journals! Gorgeous. We home-educate in the UK and my kids love to put their own folders and booklets together. They are more random than organized though :-)

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