We have recently come to enjoy and rely heavily on the method of notebooking. One of the reasons we love this approach to learning, is that our son can choose from a wide range of topics in subjects such as science, history, geography, art, music composers, and also from books he reads and narrate his learning. What he is learning is what he writes down. We do not believe that worksheets and quizzes and tests are helpful in truly determining what a child is learning — rather, they help to indicate what a child does not know, and with a fairly nice grit of failure attached. We opt for the positive reinforcement of telling and showing. “Narration”
We have also began to allow our son to not only tell what he is learning on notebooking pages, but we ask him to write it in his best handwriting first, and then we select some pieces for him to type into his blog and add photos and/or videos as he decides. This way, he is focusing on penmanship, typing, multimedia-graphic design, and blogging-web design.
Since he does this year round, we take a look at the number of hours he invests in the blogging and setting up and cleaning up of his website, as well as his graphic selections and give him appropriate credit each year. Last year and this year he will have earned a complete .50 credit hours combined for Multimedia-web design. The year before he earned .50 in typing and keyboarding.
I have attempted to get photos of his blog-website, which he has designed totally by himself and maintains. See photos below.
As you can see clearly, or perhaps a bit fuzzy, our son is a huge fan of Star Trek. We both cried recently this past weekend at the passing of an icon in the star trek universe… Leonard Nimoy. Which has prompted us to take a one week excursion to watch the STarTrek movies one by one and to analyze the story line. Discussing the issues being brought up–and how the issues were also hot bed issues during the timeline of history in which that particular film was produced. StarTrek has always been able to cultivate worldview opinions, right or wrong, and it is helpful to discuss them–with a Christian perspective. Which we do a lot.
Back to school Essay… what were his fears, his excitements, his concerns and how would he go about overcoming fears, triumphing through them and steady his course during his exciting subjects.
He blogs a little for each subject. This is his most recent notebooking turned to blog for History topic. We use America the Beautiful this year by Notgrass.
My wife takes time to put questions in his blog – and places a submit button on the bottom — we get the answers back and she is able to assess a grade for the questions. Not a very Cmer approach – “the worksheet” but it is a way for us to a also have actual verified grades and not only narrations for everything.
I hope this article about Notebooking – Blogbtoking helps inspire you to think outside the box with your homeschool methods. We are pretty much a stick to the core – but veer off on the delight driven paths of our son kind of people. We don’t get so rigid with our core studies that we can’t pause and enjoy a trail of interest. We keep it in check, perhaps a day, or a few days. Sometimes a week, but usually not more than that. Anything longer than a week – and it becomes a collection of small seminars or workshops that we add to his transcript (sans grades).