As I mentioned in my last blog post we are changing up the way we go about homeschooling our 4 oldest daughters. When we started homeschooling 3 mths ago we were flying by the seat of our pants. We pulled our girls out of public school in the middle of the year and had absolutely no plan in place as to how to go about doing this. We just knew that we wanted them home with us and that we were determined to make it work. So we got some recommendations for curriculum and jumped in the deep end. For the most part we LOVE our curriculum and are keeping the same curriculum for the summer and fall school seasons. What we are changing however is how we handle all the “stuff” that comes with the lessons. There is just SO.MUCH.PAPER that comes with homeschooling. It is a job all to itself to manage all the completed work for each child……..then multiply that by the 4 kids we have currently doing school work. It was mind boggling to keep up with it all.
I had heard of the term Notebooking going around the homeschooling community and decided to look into it. At first I couldn’t understand what it was all about. All I found were blank worksheets with lots of empty boxes and lines for writing information. I couldn’t for the life of me understand how this was supposed to make my life easier. It just seemed like a ton more work to keep up with all these extra sheets of paper. People however kept talking about it so I looked into it again. Suddenly it just clicked for me. We are a pretty artistic family and we love to do hands on things like crafts, scrapbooks, etc. Once I started to figure out what notebooking was all about, basically a scrapbook for your completed work, I was sold.
I however didn’t want to use binders or regular lined notebooks for this. Binders have the habit of getting warped in our family and notebooks get used for art paper and leave no clean paper for actual work. I wanted something that was durable and would stand up to the kids handling as well as be a clear “off limits” to snagging the paper for other things. I found this tutorial about how to make your own notebooking journals for $5 each. I was sold. I headed up to Staples and decided to have 10 notebooks made. I found packs of multicolored cardstock and just had them make each separate color into a notebook. The price at Staples was about double the price at Office Max (We don’t have an Office Max near where we live). Our notebooks ended up coming out at $10 per. Not terrible when you figure how much binders or paper would cost for the same project. Plus these are super cute and we won’t be tempted to disassemble them in the fall to reuse the binders.
One of the things about notebooking that I don’t totally love is that you have to keep a stash of blank notebook pages at the ready at all times. You don’t want to be in the middle of a lesson and suddenly have to go look up a template and print the pages out right that second. I was able to find this file box at the Dollar Store for $6 and the 1.5in file organizers at Staples for $16 (yes my eyes crossed at that amount but I was committed at that point). I spent an evening printing out a million and one copies of several different templates and filing them in the organizers based on the subject or age level of the template. I do love having them all done and organized and the file box is light enough that it can be easily moved to the kitchen table while we are working and then put away till the next day.
The older girls got one notebook for History, one for Science, one for Math, and one for Language arts.
The twins each got one for their pre-k work.
So far so good, the kids seem to be enjoying decorating the pages and getting their work arranged in the notebooks and I love having it all in one place and organized. Plus there is the added bonus of acting as a portfolio all on its own at the end of the year.