Notebooking with Living Books


We love Notebooking. Its actually fun! Each Notebook is personal and unique to every child, and they love that. It gives them a sense of ownership and pride in their education, which is so important.

Notebooking is essentially journaling with a creative and artistic flare.  We use Living books in our homeschool and they pair so beautifully with Notebooking.  Living books are written in story format, in a conversational tone, or a narrative style that makes the book really ‘come alive’ for the reader, allowing them to truly engage in what they are reading. Most living book naturally cover a wide range of subjects in each book, making them an advantageous choice for Notebooking.  I have my children all go through the same books together and I tailor it to their individual levels. (Older children go into more depth and have more assigned to them, while younger ones get more of on overview and learn the basics)

You can use binders, folders, notebooks, lined notebooks, or whatever you want for your notebook.

An example of Notebooking with Living books might look something like this:

Give my children a picture that goes along with what we are studying, or have them create their own drawing.

Read a chapter from our living book while they color or draw.

Discuss what we are learning.

Write down a few words (I usually do 5-7) to form a ‘Word List’ from the chapter.  My oldest and I go through the list and she looks up the definition of each word and writes the info down. I make sure to explain the definition of each word to all my kids.  The middle child copies down the word list but not the definitions. The youngest copies down two words from the list into her Notebook.  If you are studying Ancient Rome your word list might consist of words like: Toga, Senator, stylus, Field of Mars, legion, Forum, ect)

They can also:

write the story in their own words

write a story using words from the Word List

tell a story using words from the Word List

Create a skit based off of what they are learning. Mom can take pictures, print them out and they can glue them in their Notebooks if desired.

draw another picture

Create a cartoon that shows what’s happening

summary of the chapter



We then find the location where the story took place on the globe/map.

We look at what continent the country is in

We learn about the country

We explore any scientific references. For example – Pompeii – we can expand that to learn about volcanoes and the layers of the earth. Togas – made from linen cloth which is made from flax. Learn about that process.

You can press plants you are learning about in your Notebooks.

Remember that that was only an example of how you could use Notebooking. This is only the tip of the ice burg. There is so much you can do with Notebooking! You can be as detailed and in depth or as basic as you need depending on your child’s academic level. Its also a convenient resource for any review you may need to do.

*This is actually a very budget friendly way to homeschool as you can find so many living books at the library and at yard sales and second hand store!

This approach has made such a positive impact within our homeschooling and my children’s attitudes. Do you use Notebooking in your homeschool? Tell me about it!


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