Notebooks are an integral part of the Biblical Principle approach. So, let’s talk about some different kinds of homeschool notebooks and homeschool notebooking pages.
What about a Bible Notebook?
How would you start a Bible Notebook?
Start at the beginning. If your kids are little, find a good storybook of Bible stories. Let your kids illustrate each story and write a caption underneath their picture. As they get older, you read directly from the bible. Use your regular Bible reading. We start in the Old Testament and move forward.
Again, when your kids are young, illustrate and write a brief narration of that particular story. As your kids get older, start a Bible journal. They can write a summary of what was read during family devotions. Or, they can keep a notebook about what they are learning personally in the bible.
Proverbs is a great book for both of the young men and young women, in their teen years. Read two or three verses in Proverbs. Then each teen writes down what they learned from those verses and how it applies to their lives.
Another option is a Concordance study. Give your kids a word to look up in a concordance. Write down what they discover from each verse where that word is used. Then, draw conclusions. If you’re not sure where to get started, I would say maybe the word “save” or “righteousness” or “wise”.
One of my favorite Concordance studies is salvation or saved. As you work through verses with salvation or saved in them, you ought to ask yourself, “Saved from what. We usually think of saved as simply saved from the penalty of sin. I’m going to heaven and I’m saved. But saved is used a lot of other ways. Someone in a boat is saved from drowning. Or someone else is saved from starvation. Look at the context as you do any Concordance study.
What about a literature notebook? Again, I would start very small. At first, you might simply record the titles of each book your child reads on their own. As they get older, they can illustrate a book or give a short, little synopsis. Or, illustrate one aspect of a book, such as a character or the setting.
There are lots of great printables and forms to use in a literature notebook. You might want to include a book report or book review. Another option is to include 2 or 3 of your child’s narrations, with a final summary narration.
As your students get older, they should interact with the book. This is very similar to journaling. Record some of the questions & answers you’ve discussed about a book. Or, write about how well the author practiced his craft. How well the characters were developed. Did the author paint scenes very well.
Copywork & Dictation Notebooks
Copybooks & dictation notebooks are some of the easiest notebooks to start. You might remember Benjamin Franklin, worked on a copybook when he was in his teens. Most homeschoolers think copywork is for 5, 6, and 7 year olds. WriteShop even offers Copying & Dictation Exercises for WriteShop 1 (junior & senior high).
Historically, Franklin used the idea of imitation in writing as a young adult. This helped him improve his writing ability. It is very similar to the strategy taught by Teaching Writing: Structure & Style. Franklin read books, then rewrote it in his own words
Copywork notebooks might follow this progression:
- Tracing letters
- Copy words
- Copy sentences
- Copy paragraphs
- Read paragraphs – Rewrite in your own words
- Dictation of sentences & paragraphs
On top of copying the passage, your kids can illustrate the copy assignment. You might also illustrate the dictation passage, as well. As you look for copywork & dictation exercises, be sure you use a wide variety of sources: Scripture passages, well-written lines, poetry, favorite literature passages, quotes, historical speeches. You could even do science theories if you like.
A writing notebook can last a long time and be used as a history of your child’s writing. Your kids ought to be writing everyday. We kept a notebook that, one particular notebook, for all your child’s finished drafts.
If you follow Andrew Pudewa’s strategies on teaching writing, your child will begin by rewriting paragraphs in their own words. This is explained in detail in Teaching Writing: Structure & Style.
After rewriting paragraphs, your students should rewrite entire passages in their own words. If you are rewriting stories in your own words, be sure to use a story outline so your child has a story in a good format. If you are rewriting information on a particular topic, use an outline for research & reports.
You can find a story writing outline in Unit 3 of Teaching Writing: Structure & Style and an outline for research in Units 4 or 6 of Teaching Writing: Structure & Style. Another great resource for story writing is How to Write a Story or StoryQuest.
Most of these types of writings are included in the resources listed above. You’ll find descriptive writing, biographies, book reviews, news stories, research paper, character sketches, poems, short stories that are included in a writing notebook.
With a history notebook, you might organize entries in chronological order. I suggest including maps, timelines & narrations. We relied on biographies and good historical fiction to tell the story with narrations. We rarely, if ever, read textbooks. As we read historical books, my kids could narrate to me. When young, I wrote down their narration for them to copy into their notebooks. Older children can write their own narration for the stories that we were reading.
Remember to include entries about Bible history or church history right alongside secular history. So if you’re studying ancient Egypt, include entries about Moses and the exodus from Egypt.
As your kids get older and their thinking skills get better, start writing comparisons and contrasts about circumstances in history. This may include different leaders or different places, cause and effect, especially when it comes to battles and wars. With notebooks, you inspire much critical thinking.
If you are going on field trips, include pictures of places you visit. Then, you have a history of your studies, like a scrapbook of history.
A Science notebook might be a combination of a notebook and lapbook. In Science, have kids draw diagrams or illustrations about scientific topics. When your kids are old enough to complete experiments, start recording their findings in your experiments.
These recordings can be in either picture or written format. Use either format to show what happened with your science experiments. There are plenty of free printables online for going through the scientific method. We used our notebook at the high school level for our lab reports. We used a specific lab report form for each experiment
Another aspect of Science notebooks is including information about famous scientists. Read biographies of scientists that are related to the scientific topics. If you are studying astronomy, read about Galileo. If you are studying gravity, read a biography of Sir Isaac Newton. For each scientist, include a paragraph or short story about that particular scientists.
For a complete and detailed description of the notebooking with the Biblical Principle Approach, grab a copy of our paperback, Approaches to Christian Homeschooling – launches July 15, 2014 (with $160 in bonus items on Amazon)
Question: How do you use notebooks in your homeschool? You can leave a comment by clicking here.