How to Use Notebooking Pages (+ FREEBIES!)

Wondering how to use notebooking pages? Notebooking is something that you have likely heard of if you’ve been homeschooling any length of time. Homeschoolers of all methods and styles use notebooking pages and love it!

Perhaps you’ve been hearing about notebooking and wondering how you could work it into your homeschool. I can certainly relate! It took a bit of trial and error for us to fit it into our groove, especially until we found the right tools and resources. Today I want to share with you how to use notebooking pages with your kids!

Wondering how to use notebooking pages in your homeschool?

What Are Notebooking Pages?

Notebooking is basically keeping a simplified scrapbook or journal. Kids write, draw, and sometimes paste or tape things in for a particular topic. They can be as simple or complex as you like but I find that simpler is better.

What are the benefits to notebooking? In my mind, these are the biggest wins when you use notebooking pages: 

  • It is a gentle way to help improve your children’s writing skill and penmanship
  • It help to think critically (instead of just filling in the blanks in worksheets)
  • It simplifies your homeschool and unifies various pieces of curriculum 

Too many times I found that my kids were just doing the work to check the boxes and weren’t really retaining the information. They were “doing school” but not really owning what they’d learned. Too many times we just pushed through our to-do list and didn’t seem really enriched by the end of it. On top of that, I was dealing with a reluctant writer and didn’t really know how to handle that well. 

When we decided to use noteboking pages, we managed to cut out a lot of busy work, build a common thread that tied all our curriculum and homeschool experiences together, and began to make real progress in writing and retention. 

I have been SO encouraged by our progress! As the year progresses we have continued to incorporate more notbeooking work. 

How We Use Notebooking Pages in Our Homeschool

We started out with some simple notebooking pages from various sources. However, I really struggled with how to make it work for us. We were spotty in actually doing notebooking at all, and whenever I suggested it or pulled out a page, I met with sighs and rolling eyes. They did the pages, but it was still a battle and didn’t seem to be working for us. 

Finally I found the FREE member resource center at ProductiveHomeschooling.com! This resource is what helped us turn things around and really start seeing results with notebooking. It not only comes with hundreds of free printables and a huge product sampler, which I HIGHLY recommend trying out, but it comes with tutorials to get you started! This is exactly what I needed to really make it work for my family. 

Productive Homeschooling - Printables and Tools for every homeschool

I’ve went through the tutorial a few different times as I learned new things and worked through implementing them in our homeschooling. You’ll want to do the same! It will help you really pinpoint what areas you can cut back on busy work and how to gently introduce notebooking in an effective way. 

For me, two things helped me a great deal:

  1. Narration – teaching my kids to narrate back (paraphrase) what they just read or heard me read. This starts small with a small passage, a few sentences, or even just one. We started using this approach in our daily Bible reading, school reading, and even recreational story time and it helped my kids slow down and really think about what had been read. Then process that information and relay it back in a simple narration. Over time that builds up and becomes a powerful critical thinking tool for them! Of course, it helps them a lot when they finally put pencil to paper. 
  1. Slow and Consistent Notebooking – I talked with another homeschool mom who had been notebooking all along with her now middle-schoolers. She explained that it really started small. Generally, she started with having them draw and then write one sentence per grade level as a guide. For the youngest ages, you can help them with their sentences and even write what they narrate as a very first step. This took the pressure off making it some epic writing session! 

More Tips on How to Use Notebooking

I said that it helped us to simplify our homeschooling. This is really true! Here are a few photos I’ve managed to take during our early attempts at notebooking. They continue to get better in many ways! 

Using Notebookingpages.com for notebooking a bee keeping presentation

Using Notebookingpages.com for notebooking car engine research project

Using Notebookingpages.com for notebooking a history study on Leif Erikson

 

Here are some ways we use notebooking pages in our homeschool. I have used these strategies for some of our notebooking session but not all of them. I let them know ahead of time if we will be working on anything other than basic narration/notebooking during the session so they don’t get frustrated.  

  • Practice writing and penmanship: I let them copy a scripture or quote, or complete their notebooking page for whatever we’re working on, and then had them correct any grammar or penmanship issues that need addressed. 
  • Spelling work: We use a separate spelling curriculum but often will pause to work on a list I create from words I’ve noticed are often missed in their notebooking. I don’t call that out – it just becomes that week’s list!
  • Taking full advantage of various homeschooling opportunities: Once we went to a homeschool group meeting where a family did a presentation on their beekeeping activities! We checked some books out from the library afterward, got a copy of their slides, and did some notebooking on it! My son still remembers what he learned and wrote about honey bees. (Photos below – These are pages you can customize from NotebookingPages.com)
  • Geography: We do simple map work for our homeschool. Going back and working through basic state and country notebooking pages is a great way to reinforce that work and dig deeper into learning more about them. 
  • Independent Learning: My oldest two do “inquiry,” where they pick a topic and do independent research on it. Their work is entirely done with a library card, a few online videos and informational sites, and their narration and notebooking work. It is so effective! 
  • Much more! Almost every subject can incorporate narration and notebooking. It cuts out busy work, helps enrich the learning process, and keeps things simple. 

If you’ve been thinking about trying notebooking pages in your home or have been having a hard time getting started, make sure you get the FREE member resource center at ProductiveHomeschooling.com and go through the tutorial they offer. You will be blessed!

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This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Practicing penmanship & writing.

  2. Notebooking is a great tool!

  3. I have been checking out note booking. It looks Great! Thank you for this excellent article!! I am debating using it or not. And the more I find out the more the needle points to the good choice side of the dial. 🙂

  4. And one big issue I have is feeling like we are not getting enough done. AND homeschooling multiple children who don’t know how to write yet!! Yikes!

  5. Some days this comment applies well to us!

    “My child’s not motivated (honestly, I’m not motivated).”

  6. I love the idea of simplifying the homeschool day. With one ADD/ASD kiddo I need all the simple I can get!!

  7. Would love this!

  8. Not getting enough done in a day.

  9. I have children who do not like to write. This would help I a lot I think.

  10. Hello! The problem i would use is for a child who does not like to write. Reading how you use notebooking to help with writing sounds wonferful. Thanks for information how to use it and your giveaway

  11. My oldest hates writing, so I would love to see if more note booking could make writing more interesting for him.

  12. I would want to use notebooking as a way to retain learning and keep record of what my kids learn and to help them narrate their learning to others.

  13. My child hates writing. Having to sit still is a challenge in itself, but wrapping his brain around a huge concept is the problem. Braking steps down is helpful, but our current curriculum does not lend itself to that so well.

  14. Love the fact this helps with writing skill and penmanship.

  15. This is a great giveaway. I love this website.

  16. I would love for notebooking to help my children be more excited about learning.

  17. This would be such a wonderful resource to use while homeschooling!

  18. I have a reluctant writer and an avid writer who hates proofreading, but loves drawing! I can relate to the checking off boxes and not remembering what we just learned. I am very interested in this.

  19. My children dread writing! I would love to use notebooking pages!

  20. Thank you for this giveaway! I have always wanted to by there membership! Have had there free one and love it! I would love it to help with pemenship, and stories

  21. I would love to start notebooking with my son to give us a way to practice handwriting and penmanship without just having him do copywork. If he’s writing about things he loves then hopefully it won’t be a fight to practice! 🙂

  22. I have a hard time getting my son motivated. He told me the other day if he was at regular school he would HAVE to do his work or he’d get into trouble. He said that would motivate him to work. Guffaw!

  23. Our homeschooling has become stale… this would greatly help in our daily work. I would LOVE to win this for our homeschooling pages. Thank you for offering this and all you do to help make our lives easier!

  24. I want to use notebooking for unit studies and penmanship practice.

  25. What we’re doing for this year, our first year of homeschooling, is boring and very disjointed!!

  26. Notebooking is a great tool. I think with technology today too many students don’t actually take the time to write out their notes and thoughts. I always wrote my notes in class and then typed them up at home to reinforce what I learned.

  27. I would like to get into notebooking because I think it would really help my children to learn, not just pass a test.

  28. We’d like something to cement what we’ve been learning.

  29. Retaining and making our lessons more delight directed.

  30. I would love notebooking to address independent learning and to retain information.

  31. This looks like a great way to get writers engaged! I would love this.

  32. I think it would help simplify our day

  33. I want it to simplify our day. We have so many workbooks and I don’t love all the pages.

  34. Having multiple children and at least 1 with learning difficulties, I would love to see how notebooking could help simplify and ease the struggle of homeschooling. I’ve tried a variety of different curriculum but this looks like something that we would be able to use to help simplify our day and speed progress. Looking forward to learning more about notebooking pages!

  35. It would help my ADHD daughter to retain more. It is a struggle.

  36. Which one would I like to address? Many! My oldest LOVES reading and HATES busywork. Heck…I hate busywork! I want her to enjoy learning and telling me what she learns without the stress and pressure of busyness and test-taking. I have been thinking about changing her strategy next year. This could be the encouragement I need to go for it!

  37. I don’t feel we have enough documented for the work we do. Notebooking looks like a good way to do that.

  38. Not having to prod kids so much!

  39. I am starting our homeschool journey this year with a 5 yo ds. Would love to start out with notebooking to have meaningful work instead of just coming up with worksheets to say we did a worksheet. I think this would help with the narration and if you start early would not have to change later.

  40. I want a more personalized education

  41. To cement what we’ve learned and to have something tangible

  42. Practicing penmanship and proper punctuation and writing skills! Thanks for the giveaway!

  43. Motivation and enjoyment of learning!

  44. I’ve been using some free notebook ing docs, but would love more to cement what we’ve been learning, especially with history. It makes review so much fun.

  45. I’d love to use the pages to help them retain info and for handwriting practice. And for pretty much all the other reasons listed!

  46. Copywork and handwriting practice!

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