One great way to get started writing for the homeschool market is by creating notebooking pages. They are fun and provide countless options and opportunities for creativity—both on the part of the writer and the student.
Notebooking is a tool many homeschoolers integrate with other homeschooling methods. Its variations and applications are limitless. In order to understand what types of resources you can create for notebooking families, we need to look at a few specifics.
Style of Notebook
Notebooks can be bound journals, a tablet of paper, a three-ring binder with loose-leaf paper, or any other method that can be used for collecting and organizing information.
Uses of a Notebook
Notebooks are a place to collect and record information. They also make beautiful keepsakes and can serve as tools to show friends and loved ones what students are studying. Think of them as a photo album of education! You can paste drawings and sketches in them (or if you are using a binder, insert the drawings into a protective sleeve designed to fit in the binder). You can use them for the final draft of papers, handwriting practice, or pictures of completed projects. You can include samples collected on nature walks or swatches from sewing projects. You can even include articles from magazines, brochures from a field trip, timelines, and more.
Educational Value of Notebooking
When students create a notebook, they have a unique opportunity to make it their own. Parents may provide the tools, but exactly what shape the finished project will take is up to the students. This opens the door to creativity and to allow the child to take ownership of what he or she is learning. It is also a way to help students think through a topic, to slow down and take notes rather than just skimming a text, and to draw or illustrate something they’ve learned. It creates a history of what the child has learned, which can become a treasured keepsake (or not, depending on the child!).
Creating Notebooking Pages
Notebooking pages are fairly simple to create and can be done in most word processing or publishing software programs. The key element that you want is a page of evenly spaced lines. This can usually be done by either holding down the shift key and creating lines of dashes or by creating a table and deleting all the borders except the ones that make up the inside of the table.
Once you have a lined-paper format, you can build on it and expand it in several ways. The first is with images. By adding an image related to your topic, you help personalize the project for the student.
One style of notebooking pages incorporates places for the student to do more than write about the information. It also gives him room to draw or affix pictures to the notebooking page. This example could accompany an assignment to research the key people involved in the US Capitol’s design and construction and to create a notebooking page about each one.
Whichever template you decide to create, remember that you are creating resources that will ultimately help the student make the material he is learning his own.
You can tie notebooking to almost any theme you are writing about. Create some for the Old West if you are writing a Western, or add some space-themed images to connect to a story set in outer space. You can share notebooking pages as free downloads on your blog or use them as handouts when you share your stories at libraries and schools. What are some themes you could create notebooking pages for, and what are some ways you can think of to put them to use? Share with us in the comments!
Bonnie Rose Hudson lives in central Pennsylvania. Along with spending time with her family and writing, making kids smile is her favorite thing to do. Her heart’s desire is for every child to feel the love of God and know how special they are to Him. She loves creating curriculum and working for SchoolhouseTeachers.com, the curriculum arm of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, as the site’s executive editor. At TOS, she found a place where her love of God and history combine with her love of writing to bring encouraging, educational, and entertaining material to students and their families. She would love for you to visit WriteBonnieRose.com to discover how you can write for the homeschool market.