Real Life Homeschooling
Sticky Note(booking) typography
Carrie Fernandez
three snapshots of notebooks
An Easy-To-Use Homeschooling Tool typography on a scrap of blue paper
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Carrie Fernandez, the owner and publisher at Daily Skill Building, brings you a featured column this year—Sticky Note(booking). She’ll be sharing how this easy-to-use, flexible tool breathes creativity and life into the way your kids do school.

What Is Notebooking?
an adult hand colors in a notebook with pictures
I love notebooking! Unlike worksheets, quizzes, and tests, notebooking:
  • Incorporates multiple skills and elements
  • Offers an excellent way for students to be creative and let their personalities shine
  • Works with multiple learning styles
  • Gives kids a creative outlet to express themselves
  • Is fully customizable

The easiest way to understand notebooking is to think of journaling. It is a tool that combines what kids write with what they draw and sketch. It compiles their narration, sketches, diagram labeling, and more into a unique creation that showcases what they have learned.

You and your children will love the incredible benefits of creating notebooks to go along with their studies.

1 Notebooking Eliminates the Need for Worksheets and Tests

Do you have students who are perfectionists? Worksheets and tests can be stressful for them because they fear getting an answer wrong. There are many situations where notebooking can eliminate that stress for you and your students because there’s no wrong way to notebook.

Fact-based questions are fine, and some are needed. But notebooking incorporates questions that ask how something makes your children feel, what they think, how they might respond, or any number of other open-ended questions. It also invites them to draw what they see in their minds. Right or wrong, detailed or abstract—it doesn’t matter. There is no right or wrong answer.

blue colored pencil

2 Notebooking is Customizable for All Ages

One way notebooks can be a homeschool mom or dad’s best friend: they work great with multiple ages! Imagine you have a nine-year-old and a five-year-old both learning about George Washington. At the end of a chapter about his service in the French and Indian War, a notebook question might ask them to summarize what they learned. Your nine-year-old might list several specifics from battles while your five-year-old might simply write, “George Washington was a brave soldier.” Both are right, and you only needed one resource for both children.
3 Notebooking Encourages Creativity
Do you ever sit back and enjoy how your kids each notice completely different things? As you experience a story, field trip, or any daily activity through the eyes of each of your children, you see completely different things, even things you never noticed on your own.

Notebooking allows children to sparkle. It causes them to stop and reflect on what they’ve heard and learned, internalize it, and express it in their own way. Each notebook becomes as wonderfully unique as the child who creates it.

Notebooking is a natural fit for history, geography, and science. With a little creativity, you can even use it for grammar, language arts, and other subjects.

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4 Notebooking Documents Learning

As parents, we need to be able to document what our children are learning, whether it’s for official records or to simply understand what they are grasping. I thought I was failing as a homeschool mom before I started notebooking. My child could not do worksheets, even when she knew the material. But notebooking opened the door to the creative side of her brain! When she didn’t have to worry about answering something in a specific way or could draw what she had learned, she thrived! She needed a different way to express herself, and notebooking was it.

How to Introduce Notebooking to Your Students
an adult hand colors in a notebook with pictures

Are you ready to try notebooking? You can get a Notebook Companion™ to get you started or you can use a plain piece of notebook paper or any kind of notebooking template. Read a section of a book together and then ask your students to tell you what they learned. Then give them a notebook page. Ask them to write or draw something about the most interesting part of what they learned. You can have them write more as you practice, but start slowly so you don’t overwhelm them.

Choosing a Living Book or Textbook
If you start with a living book, read a section together and have them write something about it. They might write down facts that they noticed, what their favorite part was, or questions it brought to mind. You can also encourage them to sketch something they saw in the book—an animal, a person’s face, an event that was mentioned, etc.

History is one of the easiest subjects to use notebooking with. The process to get started with a textbook is the same as with a living book. Have your children write down facts or questions and sketch something the text made them think of.

Your children’s notebooks will likely become treasured keepsakes for a lifetime. I know my daughter’s notebooks have! They show what she was learning and capture a part of her at each age and stage of her development. I treasure them!

a yellow colored pencil, a tree drawing and a paper hole puncher

Notebooking is a flexible tool you can customize for children of many ages and learning styles. It combines multiple skills and elements and unleashes creativity by combining written narration, drawing and sketching, and more. It allows students to express themselves without the fear of doing a project wrong. It documents your children’s learning while creating records and precious memories. It’s easy to get started, and once you see the light in your children’s eyes that I saw in my daughter’s, you’ll never look back.

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headshot of Carrie Fernandez

arrie Fernandez has been homeschooling for more than seventeen years. She has two daughters and is the wife of a talented artist husband. Along her homeschooling journey she embraced the notebooking method of learning, which allowed her children to thrive. She’s the owner and publisher at Daily Skill Building, which provides easy-to-use, open-and-go homeschooling resources, including Notebook Companions for popular books. She also runs Homeschool Giveaways, a popular go-to resource for free homeschool downloads.