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Notebooking has been used by people in many different kinds of work, situation, and condition. Even it is not a new things for man kind. Many people has used it for many different reasons and uses too. People name notebooking with journaling, recording, writing diary, and any other terms. It is not only for homeschoolers. However, many homeschoolers has adapted this method and they find that notebooking is a powerful tool.
Now we would like to go deeper about some reasons we do notebooking activities. When we know some strong reasons for doing certain activities, we will get more meaningful results.
Notebooking is a mean of assessment.
There are two kinds of assessment we do:
- Assessment with score which is mostly a test based assessment. We actually use this because of some requirement from the government. Although sometimes I am confused how to score the kids, I have to do this for the requirement. However, there is also the good side for this assessment. I use this also to “compare” kids with the schooled ones.
- Performance assessment is an assessment that ask kids to perform or produce something to show what they have learnt and mastered (http://www.learner.org/workshops/socialstudies/pdf/session7/7.PerformanceAssessment.pdf). There isn't any number or scale score. We usually just use comment and sometimes rubric or criteria (rarely made because it takes a lot of time to make its own criteria for honest).
Notebooking is a form of performance assessment for us. It asks kids what they have learned or mastered by asking them to tell, write, draw, and show what the have learned in unlimited ways. Most of the tests ask about things that kids don't know or have to know, but notebooking has a feature of asking about what we know. Therefore, kids will feel more comfortable when the activities are done properly. You might ask how can a notebooking page show an action. You can put a picture or photograph and describe the picture on it. We also can say that notebooking is a portfolio of learning.
Notebooking is a memory
We also can say that notebooking is a portfolio of learning. It is a journey of learning documentation. It is like a picture or photograph of the learning growth. Like watching how the kids grow from babies to adults, reviewing a binder of notebooks will allow us to watch how the intellectual, the creativity, and the physic of kids grow. It is not always about numbers.
Tidy up our notebooking binder always take longer time to do as we are always tempted to open them and see what inside is. Once we open them, we always have a small chat about what we have done. It is like enjoying a photograph. The untidy and messy work will look funny for us now. We remember how we did them in the past.
It is much different from how you see a test or score. Looking at scores or test just needs fewer time as it just shows how we have failed or succeed. There isn't any proof of learning at all. The hard work we did in the past cannot be reflected through the numbers. I remember when I was at school. When the academic year finished, my mom would just collect all of the paper with a number score to the rubbish bin as it is just pieces of paper. Even the school work that I did was not compiled properly. it just went away. All of the textbooks were just donated so that I don't know what I have learned as everything left out is only numbers in my report.
Therefore, I always emphasize my kids to do their notebooking activities tidily as it is going to be their memory.
Notebooking is the Real Writing Lesson
We always try to treat notebooking activities seriously. I mean that it is not just as long as it is finished. Drafting a narration as one of notebooking activities is the time for kids to learn aspects of writing. You might know that English is not our first language, even it is not our second language as we don't use English daily. I myself was just introduced to English when I was ten years old. English is not our environment. However, we are doing bilingual in learning as we are aware that English is the gate of knowledge. We use English in our notebooking mostly. We have writing lesson, but most of our writing lesson is about the basic methods of narration which is connected with history, science, geography, and arts. You might peek how my sons do their writing lessons here If we had English as our first language, we might not need any separated writing lesson.
- organizing layout
- spelling (phonic and phonemics)
- using dictionary and thesaurus (morphology)
- building sentences (syntax)
- making meanings (semantics)
I might say that this is the most complete language lesson ever for any level of ages if it is done properly.
Notebooking is Organizing
By doing notebooking kids and I learn how to organize the work more patiently. We put the pages in three ringed binders and get them separated by dividers. We also have some cover and spines.
Preparing and keeping notebooking pages needs some organization efforts. I sometimes make the page templates by myself, but we also use pages from the internet by browsing. However, most of the time we use and/or customize the pages using notebooking pages as I prefer saving my time. I would like to share more about notebooking resources on another posting. I cannot do all of the work by myself without delegating some work to my sons. After checking their finished work, kids classify their pages to the sections in the binder. They use hole punch so that they can mount the pages in the binder, find the right section, open the rings, and close it back. They also decide whether they need to use pocket or not.
From the draft to the good copy is also a very hard work for kids. I demand them to work fast without any typo for copywork.
Do you do notebooking for your personal things?
How meaningful is your notebooking?
If you are a homeschooling mom, do you have notebooking activities?
What is (are) your challenge(s) in notebooking?