For some reason, whenever I used to hear the term, “notebooking,” I imagined some boring, rote activity involving dull worksheets. Something I’d never really be interested in doing with my child.
Reading Jimmie Lanley’s ebook, Notebooking Success, has completely changed that perspective. In fact, it has made me realize a few things. One: that I already am a notebooker! Two: that I love notebooking. And three: that I was a bit dull myself for not having realized it sooner.
In our house, we have a running joke about notebooks. My husband and I are both a bit obsessed. Every time we visit anywhere – bookstore, mall, grocery store, craft store – we end up bringing home a new notebook. Whenever he walks in the house and says, “I got a new notebook!” I laugh. And then I check his bags to see if he is really serious. Most of the time he is. The best, is when he says, “I got you a new notebook!” Then I really get excited.
So, what does this have to do with notebooking? Nothing, except to say I’m pretty sure we’re already a notebooking family. We’ve got notebooks for books we are reading, projects we are working on, things we want to know more about. We’ve got notebooks for sketchbooks, recipes and nature journals. Hey, I’m surprised we don’t have a notebook to keep track of all of our notebooks (wait… that’s a pretty good idea).
Jimmie had me at hello. Or, rather, the first chapter, where she likens notebooking to the great art and science journals of noteable artist Leonardo da Vinci. Oh. I get it. Then, she likened notebooks to Christmas trees, using the analogy that Christmas trees are all different – and both haphazard, homemade ornament-filled trees and beautifully decorated, colour-coordinated trees have their appeal. I thought of my own Christmas tree (I tend towards the beautifully decorated, full of natural items tree, if you’re interested). And another piece of the puzzle clicked into place. Then, she started talking about using bits and pieces of real life – and I thought, “Ahh… like a scrapbook.” This is really starting to make a lot of sense.
When she started talking about the advantages of organizing information using a notebook, and the idea of using them as reference books – she had the librarian in me singing. And the collector in me thinking back to the piles of schoolwork that I still have from my Kindergarten days onwards… If only it were so organized and accessible!
As she clearly and simply explains the benefits and processes of notebooking, I found myself asking some questions, mainly, “Yes, but how would this work for our family? Our way of learning?” Well, lo and behold, she had an answer for that, too! One of the best sections of the book goes over what notebooking looks like for different homeschooling philosophies.
Whether you are an unschooler, Charlotte Mason, classical education, or (most likely?) an eclectic homeschooler, this book will give you some ideas as to how notebooking can work for you (although it is heavy on the Charlotte Mason, as that is the author’s own preference).
Regardless, her concluding words really sum up the point,
Notebooking is as varied and as unique as the students who use the method….Use the ideas and guidelines here as a base, but feel free to experiment and to change the “rules.”
I, for one, love having lots of ideas. And, I love notebooks, and the process of recording my thoughts and the things I have learned. Reading through “Notebooking for Success,” I found myself thinking of wonderful ways to seamlessly incorporate notebooking into the learning that we do. More importantly, though, I came away with a great introduction to notebooking, and how it differs from more traditional forms of school work. If you’ve ever been curious about notebooking, look no further than “Notebooking for Success.” It really is the perfect introduction to the subject. And, with the bonus template pages and resources page, it has everything you need to get started.