Recently I asked on Instagram (follow me here) about starting up this blog again and what would people like most to read about. The answers all had to do with homeschooling and organization. This made my heart sing, because I love both of those things.
Since our academic year will start shortly, there is a lot of organizing and planning going on here so I will be posting about that but I thought I would start with how we use notebooking in our homeschool and in our learning life.
Many years ago I blogged, briefly, about our Maine notebooks. Since that time those infants in that post have now grown up (the twins just turned twelve) and are ready and able to have their own travel notebooks so I thought I would share what they are in their present form.
First, a word about notebooking/journaling. I’ve spoken about this in some of my presentations at homeschool conferences and I really believe in the premise that thoughtful people write down their thoughts. Encouraging record keeping in your children encourages them to think, to reflect, and helps preserve the collective memory. I treasure the travel journals I kept when Dave and I traveled on our honeymoon and then again in Spain and Morocco (before kids). I kept up the practice last October when we traveled to Ireland to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary. Katie was required to keep a travel journal during her semester in Rome and she kept up the practice throughout her subsequent travels in Europe (Germany, Poland, Spain, England, Ireland…) and now has a beautiful memoir of her times and adventures abroad.
These notebooks I’m sharing now served our older children well, when they were younger, in terms of becoming keepsakes and encouraging the habit of recording special events and keeping little mementos of their lives. Now it’s time for the younger ones to chronicle their adventures.
These notebooks are not fancy, they aren’t meant to be, they aren’t particularly pretty either. They are meant to appeal to younger kids, boys as well, and to be knocked around a car for a week or so. I spent almost no money and not too much time preferring instead to provide a framework for the kids to make these their own creations.
First a cheap and flexible binder. The harder backed binders will crack when someone steps on them and, believe me, someone will step on them in the car, train, plane, ferry… These binders are sturdy but inexpensive (aff/ ink – thank you) and I have used them for years. Buying them in bulk like this works out to about $3.90 a binder.
Next get a box of page protectors. I have used ninety million of these since I started homeschooling. These work fine. (aff/link)
Next the printables.
It’s always fun for the younger ones to have a print out of the route you are taking as well as printed directions for them to follow. GPS has kind of taken the fun out of reading maps and seeking out landmarks but it’s an excellent (dying) skill and also a lot of fun. It can also diminish those “are we there yet?” conversations.
I also include a coloring page and a fact page of each state we will be traveling through. Making a list of people who live in these states is a nice touch, as we pass through each state, we offer a prayer for those people. This list doesn’t go in the children’s notebooks but rather is something I keep and and announce as we enter the state. “Let’s say a Hail Mary for Aunt Patty” as we careen (Dave is driving) into Connecticut.
Some of these sheets get tucked into a page protector and others are loose. There is no rhyme or reason to which I tuck and which I don’t, and each book may end up having different things protected. I do this so each child can move things around and make it look the way they wish to, as well as having a few extra page protectors in there to save postcards, menus, ticket stubs, etc..
My source for printables? I’d be delighted to share. Keep in mind I started making these types of travel notebooks many years before Pinterest and the deluge of blogs and websites that provide such things. Most of these printouts come from the following:
EdHelper – For many years I paid the $20 annual subscription fee for this site. I used it for notebook printables; including word games and puzzles as well as making up vocabulary and spelling tests and games. It was definitely worth the money.
Enchanted Learning – Another website to which I subscribed. Like EdHelper there is free content but the $20 annual fee was well worth paying.
Notebooking Pages – There is quite a bit of free content on this site and you can pay for some things. I sprung for the lifetime membership a long time ago and I find that I use these pages quite often.
FYI – None of the above are affiliates, I just like them as resources and am sharing them for your information. Pinterest is also an excellent resource for notebooking materials and I do have a board dedicated to such things.
Maine for kids – An excellent resource for history and fun facts about the state of Maine.
Including some fun games and word searches keeps people busily occupied on long drives.
I no longer have babies so I provide some markers as well as colored pencils and hope for the best. These with a few good audiobooks make for a pleasant ride up north.
In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing my Pre-K notebooking, liturgical notebooking and geography.
In the meantime please feel free to share with me what you would be interested in reading about here either in the comments or on Facebook or Instagram.
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