What is Notebooking and How is it Used in Homeschooling

If you are looking for a way to help your child refocus on their learning and stay organized, notebooking is the perfect solution! This straightforward form of organizing instruction not only allows your child to be creative but also allows you to get rid of busy work and focus on learning the skills and concepts.

Read on to find out all about this simple yet effective game-changer in education!

What is notebooking?

Notebooking simply organizes content and ideas in a 3-ring binder or spiral notebook, with or without templates. The purpose of doing this is to eliminate all of the random worksheets and handouts that you would typically use with your student. This concept is very intentional because your child will be creating a guide full of whatever topic(s) they are studying.

These notebooks become research guides, study guides and a type of portfolio to show mastery of a concept. 

Notebooking may resemble journaling or scrapbooking but has an instructional focus. The pages are made up of various ideas, concepts, diagrams, maps, and more. Most importantly, notebooking is student-led, meaning that your student will be the one who creates the materials for their notebook with your guidance.

What are notebooking pages?

Notebooks can be put together in 3-ring binders with your custom printed pages and resources. The best part about notebooking is that it can become anything you want it to be! You can use sheet protectors or simply add in the pages as you go. The pages may have sections on the subject matter, or you might decide to have a separate notebook for each subject. 

Notebooking pages are your own written, drawn, or cut out materials, or they may be purchased. You can make a notebook page for any topic. Some examples include reports, interviews, drawings, timelines, diagrams, reading lists, and more!

You can either create your own pages to fit your specific needs using programs such as Google Drive or Canva, or you can also find free printable notebooking pages online. 

Notebooking examples

A spiral notebook used for 3rd grade grammar. This notebook becomes a place to practice grammar concepts. It could be as simple as labeling or cut and paste for younger students or diagramming sentences for older students.

Students can keep spelling words in a notebook and practice different activities with stamps, markers, stickers or doodles.

Notebooking ideas

Spelling- Students can easily keep their lists and all activities in a regular spiral bound notebook. 

Grammar- Notebooking for grammar is a great way to write down a grammar rule and let students practice below it. You could also use this with older students to give them space to diagram sentences. They could use anything in this section as a reference guide for their writing. 

Reading- Students can keep book logs, book summaries, doodles and use notebooking as a fun way to record their ideas about what they read. 

Math- Math notebooking could be a place to study specific topics, such as fractions. The flexibility of notebook pages gives students plenty of room to practice complex equations, differing from math worksheets with limited room to figure it out.

Social Studies- In a social studies notebook, students could create timelines of historical events, take notes on world leaders, draw or fill out maps, or even use something like this Country Notebooking Page to write down facts and draw pictures on a certain country.

Science- Notebooking for science has so many possibilities! Students can record experiments, create diagrams, write down statistics, draw, or have pages for nature study.

Writing- A writer’s notebook is already a beneficial tool for this subject, but adding the “notebooking” spin to it will really open your child up to the creativity in writing! This subject can include movie or book reviews, character analysis pages, favorite quotes, creative writing, poetry, comic strips, reflections, and so much more. 

Notebooking templates

You can find notebooking templates for free at Teachers Pay Teachers. Just type in what you’re looking for, then sort by ascending for the free items. You can find a lot of free templates this way. 

The Notebooking Fairy is also an amazing resource, as she has over 100 free printable notebooking pages in a variety of subjects.

How do you make notebooking templates?

You can use Powerpoint, Google Slides, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Canva, or any program you’re familiar with as long as it has the basic capabilities to add text, shapes, and images. 

The benefit of making your own notebooking templates is that you can create a template specific to what your child is learning and how you want them to approach the subject. You could draw or paste in graphic organizer templates. It definitely takes a little more work than finding a premade template, but the possibilities with creating your own are endless!

Using notebooking for Language Arts

Language Arts is such a great topic for notebooking. Your student is probably already writing in some sort of notebook for different practices, but notebooking brings in purposeful creativity to pair with writing. As mentioned above, there are so many uses for Language Arts notebooking. They are great for reference materials, grammar practice, creative writing, reading logs, and so much more!

How is notebooking different from a bullet journal? 

Bullet journals are less instructional. Adults may use them for goal planning, to-do lists, tracking, etc. Bullet journals are flexible and ever-changing but are not particularly driven with an educational purpose.

On the other hand, notebooking for homeschoolers is more instructional and guided. Although notebooking has the openness and flexibility of a bullet journal, notebooking focuses on a specific subject matter. It asks students to reflect on their learning rather than creating lists or tracking for future purposes. Notebooking is also meant to be a resource and something that both you and your student can look back on for years to come.

Learning doesn’t have to be boring! Notebooking is a great way to add creative and purposeful experiences into your student’s curriculum. With so many templates and options for notebook pages, there is something out there for every subject matter and topic. Notebooking is easy to do and will completely change how you and your child view education.

What notebooking ideas and templates have you tried? Let me know in the comments below!

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