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Monday, July 21, 2014

5 Days of Notebooking 101

5 Days of Notebooking 101 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

A few weeks ago, while lounging on the beach...book in hand, I watched as The Hubs helped my children create an intricate waterway in the sand.  They carved out trenches and poured bucketful after bucketful of water down their man-made path.  Their "river" was complete with tributaries, a flood plain, and a delta.  

At the time, my children had no idea that each of these small sand details added up to big learning. They were just five kids enjoying a sunny day at the beach with dad.  

5 Days of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

On the way home from our adventures in the sun, we began to chat about their "river".  We talked of currents and channels and used BIG words like "headwaters" and "eddy."  

During lunch that day, we continued our conversation and ended up watching a short youtube video about the ever-changing landscape of a river, its vegetation, and its affect on the wildlife that it supports.  

One thing led to another and my older kids grabbed their nature notebooks to begin sketching out THEIR river using the photographs I had snapped earlier that day.  A quick Google image search of river "parts" provided inspiration and further details. 

An adventurous day at the beach. 
A river with all its intricate parts.  

Now both indelibly etched into the minds of my kids because of a simple spiral notebook.

My children will revisit those pages in their nature notebooks in the days to come...revisit them often. They will remember THEIR river and smile.

5 Days of Notebooking 101 {The Unlikely Homeschool}

They will recall all those features we discussed at the beach...and in the car...and around the table.
Because they were given space and time to catalog it all in a notebook.  They were given a chance to rehearse what they had learned in a natural way.  They were given a blank page and an invitation to fill it up!

Notebooking 101

Notebooking has become a wonderful extension to our learning over the years...a tool to organize all our thoughts, opinions, and discoveries.  

Over the next few days, I will be continuing our discussion on notebooking and how it has come to be such an integral part of our homeschool.  I hope you'll join me as we consider...

For more helpful homeschool HOW TOs, be sure to check out the other wonderful posts in the iHomeschool Network Summer Hopscotch.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lego Party

Lego Party Games and decoration Ideas {The unlikely Homeschool}

Like most tween boys, my oldest son is a Lego fanatic.  So not surprising, when asked how he wanted to celebrate his birthday, he only needed a nano-second to request a Lego-themed bash surrounded by family and friends.

Right about this time, my daughter had been learning to make stop-motion videos with a stop-motion app on our iPad.  I was quick to enlist her services to make an invite to the party which we sent to all the party guests.

Confession time, all!

I love throwing kids parties!  I love the games. I love the crafts. I love the smiling faces of the party guests as they leave with a belly full of cake.

While I'm usually pretty good about planning games and crafts within the party theme,  the "ambience" part of my little shin-digs...when left totally up to me...usually falls a bit flat.  Admittedly, I'm not a decorator.  I tend to delegate that to The Hubs whose artistic eye can find the treasure in every heap of trash.  (He's a picker.  Did I mention that?!)  

So, what's a "decorating's not my thing" momma to do for trimming a party on a shoestring, debt-free budget?  Spend a late night scouring her Pinterest boards for some DIY Lego decor! That's what.

Lego Party Games and decoration Ideas {The unlikely Homeschool}


Click on the highlighted titles to see the original ideas on Pinterest. 


My artist-husband jazzed up some square/yellow Dollar Tree plates by using a Sharpie to add Lego mini-fig faces.  I glued some yellow cardstock to the top to make the classic Lego man nubbin.

Gift Bags

A simple circle cutter and some cardstock turned a pack of blue and red gift bags into Lego pieces stuffed with party treats.  

Lego Jars

I lined a handful of Lego-filled Mason jars down the center of the table.  I had planned to also sprinkle some Legos around the jars, but my library-table-turned-dining-room-table is super narrow and was getting a bit too crowded for any more bling.


Super Boy was VERY specific about how he wanted me to make his cake.  He wanted a 2 x 3 brick. Red.  So that's what he got.
Red cake.
2 rows of 3 pegs.

This was just a 9 x 13 sheet cake.  I cut the cake in half and then sandwiched the two pieces together with some frosting.  The pegs were made by cutting super huge marshmallows in half and painting them with a water/food-dye wash.  In case you are wondering, I did not let anyone eat the marshmallows.  I think all that dye and fluff would have put them all into sugar shock!


Pass the decor off to Pinterest, but leave the game-planning to me!  It's my favorite part of organizing a kid's party.  Here's a quick look at our fun.

Tallest tower

After splitting the party guests into two teams, I dumped a bucket of Duplo blocks in the middle of the room.  The teams had one minute to build the tallest tower they could.  The team with the tallest, free-standing tower at the end of one minute won.  (While many of the kids wanted to just add height onto their tower, a few engineer-minded ones realized the need to also add depth for stability.  As a homeschool momma, this game was fascinating to watch!)

Lego Party Games and decoration Ideas {The unlikely Homeschool}

Classic "How Many?" Game

Ok...ok...I did borrow this one from Pinterest.  But, who doesn't love the old "how many things in a jar" game.  (In case you are wondering, there were exactly 253 Lego pieces in this giant Mason jar. The winning guess was 250.)

Lego Party Games and decoration Ideas {The unlikely Homeschool}

We took a brief pause to fill our bellies...

Lego Party Games and Decorations {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Then, it was on to...

Lego Find & Match

During our pre-party prep, I had The Hubs place a handful of very distinct Lego pieces onto a Lego mat.  He also found several EXACT matches to these pieces...some of the mat pieces had several duplicate matches while others had only one match.  He tossed all of these matches into a big bin of random Legos.

At the party, he showed the party guests the Lego mat filled with the previously selected Legos while I handed each guest a plastic cup.  I dumped the bin of Legos out onto the carpet and spread the pieces around the room.  On my "go", the game players had to find as many EXACT matches as they could and place them in their cups.  The person who collected the most pieces that matched those on the Lego mat won! Since two of the pieces on the mat only had ONE match in the entire tub of Legos, we awarded the finder of each of those pieces an extra 5 points to be added to his/her final total.  

Lego Party Games and decoration Ideas {The unlikely Homeschool}

Lego Car Race

Since the floor was already covered with random Legos, it was really easy to transition into this car race game.

During our prep, we had previously gathered some core car building parts...wheels, small flat mats, mounts, etc.  We placed these in one part of the room and allowed the kids to use these to make the base of a car.  They, then, had five minutes to add the "scattered about the room" Legos to their base to create a one-of-a-kind racing car.

Once all the cars were complete, we took them outside where The Hubs volunteered to hold an old rain gutter on his shoulder to act as a racing chute.  One at a time, the party guests lined their cars up in the gutter.  Each car was released and rolled down and out of the gutter onto the sidewalk.  The player whose car rolled the farthest down the sidewalk won.

Lego Party Games and decoration Ideas {The unlikely Homeschool}

Lego Picker-upper

Even after the creation of all those racing cars, there was still an enormous heap of Legos scattered all over my living room floor.  The final game of the morning took care of that in a flash.

I handed each party guest a cup and a plastic straw.  On my "go", they each had to pick up as many Legos as they could and drop them into their cup.  They could only touch the Legos with the tip of their straw.  By squeezing the straw into the holes on the back of the pieces, the kids were able to pick up one piece at a time.  The person with the most Legos in their cup at the end of the "clean up" won.  

Lego Party Games and decoration Ideas {The unlikely Homeschool}

With a little help from my Lego Love Pinterest Board, this party was Lego-tastic! (Yep...just totally made up a new word!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

After reading about WHY you should be notebooking and seeing a few examples of the many different kinds of notebooks your children can create under your encouragement, you might be wondering...

Great!  But, how do I get started? What does my child need in order to notebook?  and where do I get it?

The truth is, notebooking really IS just as simple as writing in a notebook.  While there are many flashy elements you can use to enhance a notebook, don't feel pressured into taking out a line of credit in order to pay for them all.  (This post contains affiliate links.)

A notebook and a pencil.  That's all you REALLY need.  

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

If you are looking to add some "jazz hands" to your notebooking pages or just wanting the experience to be more user-friendly, there are many great resources and tools that I'd recommend.  

Basic Notebooking Supplies

Here's a quick list of basic supplies that are great to have on hand for ANY kind of notebooking.  We keep most of these in an antique milk crate turned art caddy that sits right next to our dining room table. I've found that if your supplies are not easily accessible, notebooking becomes a drudge.  The hassle of dragging out all the supplies will deter you from scheduling it into your day. By having them all within arm's reach, you can quickly transition into notebook mode within seconds!

  • pencils & erasers
  • colored pencils
  • pencil sharpeners
  • glue sticks
  • scissors
  • tape
  • markers
  • stapler
  • a notebook of some kind (3-ring binder, spiral, composition, steno, journal, home-made booklet)

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Additional Notebooking supplies


I prefer the ones with the pockets so that any loose items that are being worked on can be stored in the pocket until they are permanently attached in the notebook.  
These are helpful for preventing weighty/heavily embellished pages from tearing away from a binder.
I prefer the colored ones for creating lapbooks because they are just prettier to look at than the plain cream colored versions.
These are an inexpensive way to create sections to a composition style notebook.
Use these to protect art work or 3-dimensional pages.
These are great for holding projects, mini books, brochures, etc. and can be inserted into just about any 3-ring binder.
Cardstock is essential for creating mini-books or adding flaps, tabs, or envelopes to a traditional page. The heavy-weight paper is more durable than standard sheets.  
These are great for adhering memorabilia, nature elements, souvenirs, etc. to a page.

stamps, stickers, embellishments

My children have never wanted to add these to their notebooks, but many children do.

double sided tape

It makes for a cleaner, more polished looking page.
Use these to make moveable parts (circle charts, tabs, fact fans) on a traditional page.

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking

Helpful Notebooking tools

The following is a list of tools that make the process of notebooking a bit easier.

clipboard box

Clipboards provide a sturdy writing surface for when you happen to be outside or on the go.  I prefer the clipboard box over the a standard clipboard because you can store basic notebooking supplies inside of them creating a "desk on the go".  Little ones tend to get frustrated if all of their supplies are inside a backpack and have to be dug out individually.  
Often times, I have my younger children dictate their narration for me to write down on a dry erase board.  They can, then, copy it word-for-word into their notebook ensuring proper spelling and punctuation.  

google images

I, almost always, find a picture of what my children are wanting to draw in their notbeooks by using a google image search.  Children, especially those who do not like to draw, are bound to feel more confident and have more success in recreating a picture if they have a sample with which to copy.  

a paper cutter

This is a MUST HAVE if you want your child to make a fact fan or mini book. Little hands rarely have the precision necessary to cut straight lines to exact measurements.


Science, nature, and travel magazines can be torn apart and used to provide colorful photographs/illustrations to an otherwise black and white page.  We often pick up free/discarded magazines in the FREE bins at our local library when we are working on a particular notebooking project.  

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

primary journals

While traditional composition notebooks are great for older students, I prefer the primary versions for my younger kids.  These modified comp books provide learning-to-write/primary lines for writing the narration as well as a large blank space on each page for creating an illustration.  

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Notebooking Resources

Admittedly, filling an empty notebook can be a daunting task for a young child.  Staring at a blank white page can be intimidating and leave a chid with an "I don't know how to start" kind of feeling. Some children...and mommas...have more success with a little bit of direction.  Here is a list of on-line resources that offer pre-fabricated, already put together notebooking and lapbooking packs for a variety of subjects to help get you started. Some of these sources are free while others require a one-time membership fee or purchase price.  (Click on the title of each site to be directed right to it.)

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Homeschool Share Lapbooks

This is a wonderful site filled with free printable lapbook kits for hundreds of different topics and units. They are all categorized by age range but with a little tweaking, can all be used for multiple levels.  

Notebooking Pages

Many of the units on this site can be ordered a la carte style, but I prefer the lifetime membership plan. A lifetime membership gives you access to hundreds of notebooking pages about particular topics as well as many generic pages to be adapted to any topic of your choosing.  There is also a "create your own page" illustrator tool which allows you to create your own custom page.  I love this site because it offers a wide range of pages about the same topic so that multi-age households can all be notebooking the same information at many different levels.  

Notebooking 101: Helpful Tools of Notebooking {The Unlikely Homeschool}

A Journey Through Learning

Order complete ready-to-fill-in notebooking and lapbooking units for a variety of different themes and topics.  Each unit is individually priced making it easy to order a last minute pack if needed.

The Notebook Fairy

This a great HOW TO notebooking site to get you started.  You can also find hundreds of FREE printable notebook pages as well as links to other free pages around the web.  

The Notebook Nook

This site offers both FREE notebooking pages as well as units that can be purchased for a small fee.  

The Crafty Classroom

This site offers a limited amount of downloadable pages.  Most are geared more towards lower elementary kids but ALL are free.  

Donna Young

Print out generic/all-purpose notebooking pages for FREE.  

More on notebooking

Over the next few weeks, I will be continuing our discussion on notebooking in homeschool.  I hope you'll join me as we consider...

In the meantime, be sure to check out these other helpful links.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Verse of Truth for the 2014-2015 Homeschool Year

Verse of Truth for the 2014-2015 Homeschool Year {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Every summer as I pack away last year's learning and look towards the coming year with hopeful anticipation, I begin to pray.  I call on God to reveal a word of truth...a verse I can cling to for the coming school year.  Because when the days get hard...and THEY WILL GET HARD...I can look to the Truth He has so graciously revealed to me and be encouraged to "finish the work" that He has called me to. (2 Corinthians 8:11a)

For several weeks, I have been continually drawn to Colossians 3:12-14 which reads,
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
As a homeschool mom, it is easy for me to point my gaze towards math facts and spelling lists...to want my children to master all the things that are in my perfectly crafted plan.   But, if I fail to show them love...if in my rush to check off my lengthy list of "to dos" I lack compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, all my plate spinning will be in vain.

Pouring my life out daily in love for my husband and children should be the goal.  School should never trump that.  It should merely be a tool...an expression of love for them through service.

So, this year, I claim love.
I claim Colossians 3:12-14.

I know there will be many days when I will forget...when I will open my mouth and the "teaching of kindness [will not be] on my lips (Proverbs 31:26).  In truth, I am a work in progress...a slow sheep.
But, I've written Colossians 3:12-14 in my personal verse pack and have stamped it on my heart.  I will set it to memory and trust that God's word will be my constant...my TRUE NORTH...once again.

Lord, help me to extend the grace of Colossians 3:12-14 to my children...even on the hard days. Above all, help me remember to love.

For more thoughts on WHY and HOW to claim a verse for your homeschool year, be sure to check out my verse from last year.

Do you have a verse for your school year?  Willing to share?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal

Hobo Packs: Easy campfire meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

When this city-fied girl agreed to marry The Hubs, I also unknowingly signed up for camp cook.  Truth is, he's a man that likes to camp.  And by camp, I mean IN A TENT with nothin' but a sleeping bag and a back pack to serve as amenities.  Over the years, I've convinced him that THIS GIRL needs a little bit of luxury...like say a bar of soap and a toothbrush.

But, he's still pretty firm on THE TENT.  No campers or trailers allowed.  What we can't haul on our backs or in a small cart gets left behind.  Although we do own a propane camp stove, we rarely ever use it and prefer to make all our meals over the campfire.

One of our favorite over-the-fire meals is HOBO PACKS.  It's not only a meal, it's also a camping experience!

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Small confessional:  I rarely ever measure ANYTHING in the kitchen except when I bake.  When we are camping, my cooking can be summed up with "a handful of this" and a "dash of that".  Please excuse the lack of specific measurements here.  Just know that this meal is IMPOSSIBLE to mess up. Just cut up a bunch of stuff, toss it together with a bunch of other stuff, and chuck the whole thing into the fire!  and Voila'...a hot, delicious meal in minutes! Seriously.

But, for the rule followers among us, here is my best attempt at a "recipe."

What you'll need:

  • 1 pre-cooked polish or Kielbasa sausage 
  • a baking potato for each adult eater (1/2 a potato for each child)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 yellow summer squash (optional)
  • other veggies of your choice (optional)
  • salt/pepper
  • butter (1 pat for each eater, plus extra for greasing)
  • water
  • tin foil

To make Hobo Packs:

Start by cutting the sausage into angled disks.  Then, chop all your veggies.  I like to put each ingredient out buffet style so that each eater can prepare his/her own HOBO PACK with as much or as little of each as he/she prefers.  

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Cut lengths of tin foil for each eater.  (Approximately 1 to 1 1/4 feet of foil for each)  Using a paper towel or basting brush, cover the center of each foil sheet with butter.  

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Pile all your preferred ingredients into the center of the foil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Place one pat of butter on top of the pile.

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Bring the tin foil sides together to form a cup-shape.  Then pour a few tablespoons to 1/4 cup of water into each foil pack.  

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Pinch the sides shut and spin the pack to make a Hershey's Kiss-shaped point.  You will use this point as a handle to lift the pack in and out of the fire.  

Hobo Packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Place the packs on the outer edges of the fire coals.  Every few minutes, be sure to lightly turn the packs (using the points) so that they will cook evenly.  (We love to add a farm-fresh ear of corn on the cob to this meal.)

Hobo packs: Easy Campfire Meal {The Unlikely Homeschool}

After about 20 minutes, lift one pack out of the campfire and open slightly to check for tender veggies. (BE CAREFUL!  Steam will no doubt burst out of the pack.  Be sure to open it away from your face.)  If the veggies are not to your desired tenderness, toss the pack back into the fire pit for a few more minutes.  Otherwise, open them all up and enjoy!

For more campfire recipes and ideas for kid-friendly camping, be sure to visit my Camping With Kids Pinterest board.  

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What We're Reading in July 2014

What We're Reading in July {The Unlikely Homeschool}

The warm July sunshine has found us all outside for most of our days.  But, that hasn't stopped us from getting cozy with a few good books.  You can find us reading at the beach, in the hammock, or even under a tent on the lawn that's been MacGyvered from an old bed sheet and some long sticks (Sweetie Pea's current favorite outdoor reading spot).  

Through this busy-soaking-in-the-sun month, I haven't assigned any particular books to my kids.  While I've put forth several title suggestions for inspiration, for the most part, I've let them choose their own reading material. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Here's a quick peek at what we're reading these days.  

Read Aloud- everybody

Kildee House- We're only one chapter in but so far, my animal lovin' crew is really enjoying this book.  It's a simple story about a naturalist who hermits himself into a tiny house that he built in the middle of the Red Wood forest only to find his home quickly overtaken by critters all seeking shelter and companionship.  

Jamie- that's me!

At the start of July, I flew through two quick reads.  The first was Large Family Logistics (I was quite underwhelmed with this one.  It was incredibly repetitive and unfortunately gave me no new family/household management ideas.) And the second was The Brainy Bunch: The Harding Family's Method to College Ready by Age Twelve (Although I did not necessarily agree with everything presented in this book and was often frustrated with the authors' random writing style, I did enjoy it. But, who doesn't appreciate a peek into the lives of other homeschool families? *wink*).  Now it's on to something a little bit more meaty and harder to digest.  

God's Smuggler- This is the true story of Brother Andrew, dedicated missionary who smuggled the Gospel behind the Iron Curtain just after WWII

Sweetie Pea- 6th grade

For the last two years, my Sweets has had a growing desire to become a vet someday and has even been scouting the internet for information about the nearest colleges and universities that offer veterinary programs.  Along with making many lists of "prerequisites" to help improve her acceptability to SAID colleges, she's also been devouring the entire animal section of the library...one book at a time.  Here's her current reading stack with one fiction book thrown in for good measure.  (Truth be told, I think she picked this particular fiction title because there's a dog on the cover...ahem!)

The Merck Maunual for Pet Health- NO JOKE!  She ordered this from the library a couple of weeks ago and has been reading it every since in her free time.  This home library textbook is so thick it can also dub as a weapon should the need arise!

Super Boy- 3rd grade

Battle at the Castle- Since this is a relatively short read, he'll press on to another book later in the month. 

Turn on the Light, Thomas Edison!- Super Boy is not a huge fan of reading fiction books. But, give him a science book or biography about a famous scientist, and he is ALL OVER IT!

Blonde Warrior- 2nd grade

Willie McLean and the Civil War Surrender- He absolutely loved the historical biographies I suggested last month, so I thought I'd capitalize on that and suggest another one.  He took the bait!

Greased Lightning- Kindergarten

Step Into Reading Phonics First Steps, set 2- This is a series of graduated phonetical readers that comes in a boxed set.  

So, that's what we'll be reading in July.  What about you?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Winner of Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys

Congratulations, Karen P!
You are the winner of a copy of Talking With Your Daughter About Understanding Boys by Bob & Dannah Gresh.

You will be contacted via email and will have 72 hours to respond or your prize will be forfeited and another winner will be randomly selected.

Thanks to all who entered.  I'm sorry I could only pick one winner.  But, if you still have a desire to own this book or any of the other wonderful parenting resources from the creators of 
Secret Keeper Girl, I'd encourage you to check them out on Facebook or Twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Notebooking 101: Different Types of Notebooks {with a video}

Notebooking 101: Different Types of Notebooks {with a vlog} The Unlikely Homeschool

As I mentioned in part 1 of this series (The What and Why of Notebooking), notebooking starts with a notebook.  But from there, notebooking can take on many forms.  One glimpse down the stationary aisles of Target will tell you that there are a plethora of different types of notebooks and journals...all of which are perfect for creating a one-of-a-kind learning treasure.  In addition, there are many different ways to create your OWN notebook without having to purchase one at a store. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Here are just a few samples of different kinds of notebooking projects that we have created in our homeschool.  Please know that I am not suggesting these are the ONLY ways or the BEST ways to make notebooks.  These are just a few samples of the ways WE have done it.  Experiment with these and others to create your own unique style of notebooking. (Quick aside:  In the video, I refer to a "steno" notebook.  It is actually a composition notebook. Oops!)

As I mentioned in the video, there are a few different types of notebooks. Here are some pros and cons of each as well as some links to help you create a similar project with your kids.  

3-ring binder style 


  • Most pre-fabbed printable notebook pages are formatted for 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper which is perfect for a 3-ring binder.  
  • You can add pages throughout the notebooking process.  So, you don't necessarily have to worry about having all the elements in place before beginning the notebook.
  • You can rearrange pages to accommodate for any changes you wish to make in the notebook.
  • You can remove pages if you make a mistake or just don't like an element that you had originally included.
  • You are not limited to a particular amount of pages for your notebook.  
  • You can include pocket folders, plastic protective covers, DVD sleeves, etc.


  • Often, the pages begin to tear away from the binder.
  • Most people have a tendency to only include pre-fabbed notebooking pages which sometimes discourages organic journaling additions.  

Steno/Composition style


  • They are easy to store from year-to-year because there is a standard size and thickness to them.
  • Lots of lines create lots of room for organic narration of a topic.


  • The book/journal will come with a pre-set number of pages that you can not add or detract from.
  • Oftentimes creating a rough draft is necessary so that you can be sure to have a polished narration in the notebook.  There's no really successful way to remove mistakes.
  • The arrangement of the pages is set in stone.  You can not rearrange the elements within the notebook. 
  • The binding prohibits you from adding many bulkier elements like pocket folders or collection envelopes to your notebook.  

Spiral/Comb-bound style


  • If you create this type of notebook yourself at an office supply store, you have the benefit of looking at a year's worth/unit's worth of notebooking pages as a whole and selecting only the ones that have long-term merit.
  • The spiral binding style makes it easy for you to fold the pages back and have a smooth writing surface.
  • You are not limited to an 8 1/2 x 11 size.  You can create a much smaller or larger notebook to fit your needs.  
  • A project that was not initially designed to be a notebook can be turned into one by just compiling it together and having it bound.


  • You can't always add bulkier elements or keepsakes.
  • Once the notebook has been made, there is no adding or detracting after the fact.

Hybrid style


  • The options for hybrid notebooking are limitless.  If you have a writing portion and an illustrated portion, you can consider it notebooking.
  • Smaller projects completed in a short time span can be perfect for notebooking newbies or those with a limited attention span.  
  • Smaller hybrid notebooks can be combined into a larger format such as a lapbook or binder at the end of the year to create a cohesive whole.
  • Smaller notebooks are generally more portable and can be tucked into a purse or backpack for on-the-go learning.
  • You don't have to focus on every aspect of a topic, just the one aspect that interests you.  


  • You can not see a lot of progression in your skill level with a short-term project.
  • These types of notebooks have to be created.  You rarely find these available for purchase and ready to be personalized.
  • They are more difficult to store as they don't always file nicely on a shelf. 

Other helpful links

More on notebooking

Over the next few weeks, I will be continuing our discussion on notebooking in homeschool.  I hope you'll join me as we consider...

In the meantime, here are some other helpful notebooking resources to get you started.


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