Notebooking is a great way to encourage true thinking and creativity in your children. I use it for a variety of subjects when I homeschool my children, and I’ve found it to be handy for religion as well.
A Little Bit About “Notebooking Pages” for kids
I am very influenced by Charlotte Mason in our homeschool. Notebooking pages are one of the tools we use for “narrating” what the kids remember from what I’ve read.
Notebooking pages are more open-ended than worksheets. They child gets to write, draw, etc whatever was interesting to them that they remembered, rather than needing to pull specific details from the reading that someone else found important. So notebooking pages are mostly empty, and the student creates the content, more like a journal. This is what makes them really different than worksheets. Also, they’re good for a very wide variety of ages.
When we’re finished with a notebooking page, it goes into a binder I keep for each child.
This is my favorite part- every time they put a new page in the binder, all of their past notebooking pages serve as built-in review. They love looking back over what they’ve drawn, showing each other, and showing people that come visit our house.
How We Set It Up:
Each new school year, my kids each get a big 3 ring binder. I fill it with clear page protectors, and drop their notebooking pages in as the year goes on.
We also have some plastic drawers with the kid’s names. This way, if we don’t really have time to put the pages in right away, or I find their pages sitting around, it can go in their drawer to be put in later. You can read more about this system here.
For more information about notebooking in general, see my friend, The Notebooking Fairy. I call her Jimmie. 🙂
Our “Religion” Tab:
I have dividers in their school binder, and one of them is labeled “Religion”. These are for the notebooking pages we make for when we’re specifically learning about Religion. You can see our Religious curriculum spine and the notebooking pages we’re working on for those here.
Problem with dividers: They stick out only exactly as far as the clear page protectors we use. Solution: I stapled construction paper folded in half right onto our dividers to make them stick out more than the sheet protectors. This makes them a lot easier for the kids to use.
I’m going to be writing more about this section, what we’re doing, and a providing these notebooking pages for free later this week. 🙂
First Communion Journal:
We did a series of notebooking pages for Lydia’s First Holy Communion prep last year. You can read about it here.
Our handwriting curriculum is also religious- they practice writing Bible verses. We use A Reason For Handwriting, and the kids make one of these “final versions” of the Bible verse once a week. They love it!
Violet is doing Pre-K this year. We’re using a mixture of Catholic ABC’s and All About Pre-Reading. Because all of her school is alphabet based at this point, I got her some alphabet dividers for her binder. This way, she can file things according to the letter they start with. She’s very excited to have her very own “Alphabet Book” completed by the end of the year. 🙂
I actually just go ahead and punch holes in Violet’s pages. This way, her stuff fits with the alphabet dividers.
I wrote about the Scripture journal pages we do a few years ago. These are notebooking pages at their simplest! You can find fancier pages to print for this, but sometimes, simple is what makes it “doable” for me as a mom. Otherwise, these things just stay grand plans in my pinterest board forever.
We have a book of centuries, which is where we notebook everything Historical we learn. This includes Religious stuff, such as events from the Bible, and big happenings in the Church.
Binding The Books:
You can leave your notebooks in the binders with the page protectors forever if you like. However, I find that binders are bulky to store, and a little cumbersome for looking through later, so we opt to spiral bind them at the end of each year. I’m lucky because my mom has a binding machine, so I spiral them at her house, but I have a friend that takes her kid’s books to Staples and has them bound. She says they always look at her like she’s a little bit crazy, she tells them to just do their best, and then they do. 😉
If you spiral bind your notebooks at the end of each year, you can use the same binder and sheet protectors year after year.
Tips for binding:
- As you take all the papers out of the binder, make sure everything is glued down really well. Re-glue whatever is hanging off. Use real glue, not a glue stick.
- Laminate the front and back covers to make them stiff. We have this laminator and love it!
- If you have a lot of things that won’t bind well, you can use a giant envelope spiraled in as your back cover, and fill it with the little “extra” things.
- We always use a self-portrait the child drew that year for the front of their notebook, and include some photographs of them on their first day of school on the back cover. It’s nice to have some consistency.
- Be sure to write your child’s name and their grade on the front cover- with a spiral book, there won’t be a spine to write it on!
- If you have different sections in your notebooks, you can spiral dividers right into your book.
- If you end up having too much for one year, you can bind individual semesters, or individual subjects together.
- We also spiraled clear page protectors in for some of the pages. I just trimmed off the edge that’s meant to go in the binder, and we punched all the little holes right through the plastic. We put a piece of cardstock in for the punching to help keep it stiff for the puncher.
Since I’ve gotten more into notebooking pages, I definitely lean towards “flat crafts” for my kids. They’re more keepable this way. We don’t loose them, and they can be kept forever and serve as review. For instance, with my Treasures of Reconciliation craft, my first thought was to make it an actual box with crafted things inside…. however, if it were just made on a flat sheet of paper, it could be kept forever in our binder. You know, as opposed to having little symbols of the Eucharist floating around my house (because you know they’re not staying in the box with 4 little kids here) 😉
If you make a 3D craft that you don’t want to forget, you can always include a photograph of your child with it in their notebook. We do this from time to time.
Catholic Notebooking Pages I’ve posted in the past:
- First Communion Journal how to
- Scripture Journal how to
- Litany of Family Saints Notebooking Page
- Catholic Prayer Copy Work
- Saint Information Notebooking Page (useful for ANY Saint!)
- Grapes and Wheat pages
- Liturgical Season Wheel
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