I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Notebooking 101: What to Include in a Notebook

Notebooking 101: What to Include in a Notebook {The Unlikely Homeschool}

I recognize that telling someone WHAT to put in her personal notebook is about as ridiculous as telling her what she should write in her personal diary. It is, after all, personal.

I also know that every fiery blaze starts with a little spark.

You may very well have an urge to begin notebooking with your children but just need a gentle nudge...a spark...to help you know how to begin.

While this is not an exhaustive list of what one could include in a notebook, it will hopefully inspire some new-to-notebooking homeschoolers...giving a small flame to be fanned with your own personal creativity and passion.

Please note, it is highly unlikely that any one notebook will contain all of the items mentioned on this list. Most notebooks have only a handful of varying items. Some only contain one type. Don't try to cram all of these things into your first attempt at notebooking. Trust me. Don't. Your sanity is worth more than any 3-ring binder!

Consider this list as potential...the potential to have many years' worth of notebooking adventures. Start your first notebook with simplicity. Baby steps. Then, as you and your children grow more and more comfortable with the process, add on a few more of these or other elements.

Ok..Ok...enough of the yellow caution tape. Let's get on with it!

So, here it is. My list of...

What to include in a notebook

journal entries- giving opinions about what has been learned

maps- identifying key places, travels, wars, weather patterns, etc.

photos- of pertinent people, places, or things

graphs & charts- displaying a large quantity of information and statistics in an easy-to-read format

Venn diagrams- comparing and contrasting two different things (One of the very first notebooks my two oldest children ever made was a mini book that contained a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting hares and rabbits.)

Notebooking 101: What to Include in a Notebook {The Unlikely Homeschool}

drawings/sketches- illustrating the narrative sections of a notebook page


vocabulary words and definitions- listing pertinent new words learned during the study (During a Civil War unit, my daughter made a fascinating vocabulary list for both the North and the South listing colloquial words used at the time and their modern-day counterparts.)

magazine pictures/clippings


calendar pages- showing a record of daily changes of something (My kids are currently keeping a log of daily temperature, cloud patterns, and rainfall in a pull out calendar inside their individual nature notebooks.) 

Notebooking 101: What to Include in a Notebook {The Unlikely Homeschool}

copywork- of applicable Bible verses, famous quotes, poems, portions of historical documents, etc. (We have never used copywork in our notebooks, but hope to in the future as it is a very gentle approach to teaching sentence structure, grammar, and writing mechanics...not to mention a wonderful way to introduce great writings.) 

newspaper clippings- of current events, interviews, Gallup polls, etc.

book/movie reviews- of books and movies detailing a particular unit of study

creative writing/short stories 

Notebooking 101: What to Include in a Notebook {The Unlikely Homeschool}

essays- (My third grade and above kids each have a notebook completely dedicated to the final drafts of their writing projects from their BJU English. They continue to add to this journal throughout the year and from year-to-year.)

nature samples

rubbings- of bark, leaves, state quarters, name placards, famous landmark signs, etc.


ticket stubs- to applicable movies, plays, field trips, special events

Notebooking 101: What to Include in a Notebook {The Unlikely Homeschool}

...and of course
phrases, sentences, paragraphs of learned information in your child's own words.

More on notebooking
Tomorrow, I will be continuing our discussion on notebooking in homeschool. I hope you'll join me as we consider...


  1. This is a great list. I have been notebooking for years and yet you have listed some things that I had never thought of including. Thank you!

    1. Sometimes it's just nice to have all the possibilities in one spot for easy reference.

  2. Where did you find your printables for Greece that you included in one of the pictures? We are just starting our study on Ancient Greece and I'd love to include some notebooking aspects in to the learning.

    1. I have a membership to Notebooking Pages. I printed these off there. Even if you'd like to pass on the membership, I think the Ancient Greece unit can be bought a la carte...I think?! You can follow the link at the bottom of this post "Notebooking Pages for All Ages" to learn more about Notebooking Pages and find a link.