In the early years of our homeschool journey, we used lapbooking as a way to record and review what Ben was learning. As he entered first middle school, and now high school, we moved to notebooking. For more traditional curricula, worksheets, textbooks, and tests are used to evaluate progress and give a record of what was learned, but because we have primarily used unit studies as our primary method of learning, lapbooking and notebooking have served us well.
In middle school, notebooking proved to benefit Ben many ways — some I expected based on our experience with lapbooking — but also in ways I had not initially expected or planned for. For example, notebooking kept Ben much more organized. Organization is not his strong suit in any area of his life. And there were times I had to really keep on top of him to keep his schoolwork organized, but notebooking helped do that. Also, I discovered that notebooking encouraged writing for him. As a left-handed boy with ADHD, writing has always been laborious for him. I think looking at a notebooking page with fewer lines than usual paper, and maybe a picture or two taking up some of the space, it didn’t seem as intimidating to him to begin writing on the page.
The primary reasons I have continued using notebooking in high school is twofold. Firstly, for Ben it is a great way to get his thoughts down on paper. Just handing him a blank sheet of paper and tell him to write what he’s learning doesn’t work well for him, for reasons I’ve already listed. But also, with notebooking, since we primarily use Productive Homeschooling (formerly NotebookingPagesdotcom) as our source, he generally has clear direction for what information needs to be recorded. Plus the right-brained, creative side of him enjoys the looks of his notebooks even if it’s that same brain that does not enjoy the act of writing.
The second reason serves me well — record-keeping. Since Ben is now in high school and I must be more diligent about keeping track of what he is doing for transcript purposes, I love being able to look through his notebooks. I am also able to add a simple page to the back, listing which books he used for his studies.
We use notebooking for many things, but these are the top 5 ways we have used notebooking in middle and high school.
If you’re like me, you may not desire to cover your walls with maps and timelines. Or perhaps you don’t have room to do so, even if you wanted to. One of the best ways to give your student the ability to keep a timeline is through notebooking. There are many options out there for timeline notebooks, but our favorite is this Book of Centuries. This set of notebooking pages includes themed borders for all 4 of the main periods of history.
Geography (U.S. and World Studies)
When studying U.S. geography or world history, map work is sure to be on the to-do list, as are the study of flora and fauna, famous people, and more. Allowing your student to create a notebook of of their studies serves a couple of purposes. For our unit study approach to homeschooling, it gives us proof of the work accomplished. But in addition to that, your student will have reinforced his learning with the notebooking activities, and built a creative tool for review.
When kids are younger and just beginning to write, homeschool parents are typically great at finding cute little themed paper to make assignments for fun for their students. I remember when Ben was little, I usually supplied him with draw & write paper (so he could draw a fun picture to go along with his story), or we created homemade books that he could illustrate. There’s really no reason not to make writing more interesting for your middle and high school students as well. Using notebooking is one way to do just that. Whether your daughter would like some pretty floral images to color, or your son wants to see patriotic images on his writing about the American Revolution, it’s super simple to dress things up a bit and help them create a writing journal your students will be proud of.
Science Lab Sheets
I remember when I was in high school, in biology and chemistry class, we kept a lab notebook for studies and experiments, using a composition book. You’ll want your students to keep track of their science discoveries as well and, creating a science lab notebook is a great way to do that. We use the Science Experiment Notebooking Pages, which makes Ben’s science notebook thorough and professional-looking.
We use the inductive method of Bible study, rather than pre-written Bible studies or devotionals for the most part, so using notebooking for Bible study is a natural extension of that for us. Similar to my journaling Bible, Ben is able to journal and/or draw, write memory verses, or make notes for questions he has or topics he wants to explore deeper. .
Our Favorite Notebooking Resource
I know you may be wondering where to start with notebooking. You (or your student) may be envisioning a 3-ring binder filled with plain notebook paper. Boring, uninteresting, uninspiring. And if that’s where you wish to begin to really push the creativity card, it’s perfectly fine. However, it can be so much more than that. And if you’d like a little help, I’d love to introduce you to our very favorite resource for homeschooling — Productive Homeschooling (formerly NotebookingPagesdotcom)
It doesn’t matter what curriculum you use, what method you follow, or how many children you have, a membership to Productive Homeschooling will greatly benefit your homeschool by giving your students an extra tool for creative learning and critical thinking.
And the really great news? You can join Productive Homeschooling for free and download their sample pack of notebooking pages in a range of subjects. If you decide you like what you see, you can join the paid ProSchool Membership which includes a library of thousands of notebooking pages, plus other printables and tools. Take a peek at the video below to understand everything included.
Check out the ProSchool Membership with Page Generator