Why Should Homeschoolers Use Notebooking?

Notebooking is a method in which the homeschool student maintains a written record of what they have been taught in class. The child has the option of writing down facts accompanies with their own opinions and then decorating the whole thing. Here are some more reasons why homeschool parents should encourage notebooking in their classrooms.

A Record System

The easiest and most popular use of a notebooking exercise is to allow the homeschool parent to keep a record of what has been covered. Needless to say that the notebooking would then be required to be done for all the subjects being taught, as well as for all the lessons that are covered. While it may seem like a whole lot of work, it becomes much easier when it is made a regular habit.

Encourages Creativity

If your homeschool student loves doing scrap -booking, then they are going to enjoy notebooking by extension. It’s just like making a scrap book, but about the stuff you learn in class rather than anything else. There is a lot of scope for the creativity of the child to be expresses using this tool. Since just about any medium of materials can be used from crafty stuff to images from the internet, they have a multitude of choices to make about what they really want to add to their notebooking project.

An Assessment Tool

Don’t want to make your child tense with repeated testing and retesting in the homeschool classroom? Still want to find out just how much they understood and learnt in the class when you taught them? Get them to do notebooking, then read through it to assess just how much of the data they managed to register. It’s a great way to check that they have understood basic concpets.

Interest Led Learning

The best part of notebooking is the fact that it is led by the child’s interest. This means the child is motivated to learn more about a topic and will do so without any intervention from the parent. That has to be the best kind of learning ever. It is a very creative way to reinforce learning.

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Homeschool Learning Tool – Notebooking

Writing work can take many forms in the hoemschool classroom. You can have your homeschool students fill out worksheets based on what they have just been taught, or you could introduce them to Notebooking. This is an interesting concept which tends to involve the homeschool students more.

What is Notebooking?

In a nutshell, this is getting your homeschool student to write down in a notebook exactly what they understood in their lesson. First you have them orally narrate what it is they picked up. This helps them to outline what was taught. Then you give them time to write it down. They can illustrate it, use different color codes for different aspects, and make it their own creative project. The older children may require less help and could do different notebooks for different subjects. The younger ones may just do an occasional notebooking project.

Advantages of Notebooking

Since the homeschool student invests so much time on the lesson recreating what was taught, they are much more likely to remember everything. Also they get an opportunity to show off their creative skills. This makes them more involved in the lesson. They may look up extra details to add to their notebooking and may end up doing more research on the lesson by themselves. Plus they learn how to showcase what they know in an interesting manner. They stay motivated to learn more and to find new ways to express what they have picked up.

How to Start Notebooking

Begin by getting a notebook! One that is only for the use of your homeschool student for notebooking. They can do all subjects in the same one initially. Next get them to speak up about what they understood and make an outline for them. They can then use this outline to write down their thoughts in the notebook. Let them give the basic facts followed by their opinion. This allows them to think for themselves and form original thoughts. Plus the decorating aspect allows them to indulge their creativity. Help them find and use free resources online to improve the quality of their notebooking project.

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What Can You Add to a Homeschool Curriculum Spine?

A Homeschool Curriculum Spine is a quick reference tool for all that you intend to do in a specific subject, for a specific grade. There are a number a items that may be added to the Spine. Here is an indicative list of stuff that you can put into it.

Identify Your Primary Resource

Based on the subject this could be a text book, a curriculum guide, or anything else that you are basing the rest of the lessons in the homeschool classroom on. Make sure that this is always checked when you set out to teach something. Other stuff is optional, but this is not.

Text Book

You may choose to follow a specific text book for a subject. Ensure that you enter the details of what you covered from the text book and what you would like to do as well. That way you can keep checking off the chapters as you move along.

Reference Books

You may like to add certain books for specific chapters to reinforce what is being taught. Mention the name of the book and the lesson that it will supplement information for. This can be done as an added bonus.

Hands-on Projects

Some concepts lend themselves very easily to hands-on activities for the children to practice. Make a list of all possible activities that can done for this particular subject. Leave some space as you will be adding more stuff to the list as the academic year goes on.


If you have printouts you can stick them in the Spine. Otherwise write down the name of the workbooks that you want to use. You can even add the names of the websites or forums that you intend to get the worksheets off.

Unit Study

Sometimes a Unit Study may work for a number of subjects. Feel free to add it to the Spines for all of the subjects. You may also choose to do only parts of the Unit Study for a specific subject.

Related Movies

This is a fun activity that can still help your homeschool student to learn. Add the list of names that you feel would prove educational to the Spine. Tick them off as you finish watching them.


Field Trips

Keep a list of places that you may like to visit to reinforce certain principles being taught in a specific subject. When a place shows up often enough, plan a day trip and cram in all the data that you need to share.

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The Homeschool Curriculum Spine

Say the word Spine and one immediately thinks of the human anatomy. The backbone that contains all those important nerves traveling through it. In a way the Homeschool Curriculum Spine is also a backbone. It is the backbone for your syllabus and all activities planned with it. It can be considered a living book that has all the details of stuff that needs to be done.

What Data Does It Contain?

Ideally each subject should have it’s own Spine as everything together would be a rather thick book. The purpose of the Spine is to give order to your curriculum. The lesson can be split up into the reading required, the assignments that go along with it, the hands on activities that support it, and eventually the testing to ensure that the homeschool student really does understand what the lesson was all about. This happens for every lesson in the subject.

Why Should You Use a Homeschool Curriculum Spine?

The Spine gives you a bird’s eye view of what you intend to do and what you have already managed to do. It allows you to see all the main points that you are touching and most importantly it also tells you when you are done. The basics can get muddled if you keep adding extra stuff to do in each topic. The Spine prevents you from doing that. Plus it’s a living book. It can be added to or modified as you go along. This allows greater flexibility in what you want to do focus on in each topic.

The Spine Adds a Check To Your Activities

If you cover what you have planned to do in the Spine you will have met the basics. Remember the Spine is a starting point for your lesson. You move it along as you want. It serves as a good check point to see what you intended to do and what all you have done. Yes it takes time to make a Spine for each subject but it’s well worth the initial effort. You can even refer to it for the next grade at a glance to know what has been covered and what you need to move on to.

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Homeschooling Developmentally Delayed Children

Each child is unique and will take his or her own time reaching developmental goals. While there may be an accepted average, it does not mean that if your child is taking longer to reach these goals that there is something drastically wrong with them. The unfortunate part of the story is that in a class room full of average children, the developmentally delayed child is often left feeling inferior or behind.

Primary Reason for Homeschooling

Some parents chose to homeschool such children so that their self esteem does not have to suffer any more than it already has. There are many things that a parent should consider before taking on the challenge of homeschooling their developmentally delayed child.

Get a Formal Medical Evaluation Done

Take the child to your pediatrician and have him or her tested for any possible physical disorders. Have the pediatrician recommend a good child psychologist and have them tested for any learning disorders that may be preventing them from making progress. It makes sense to catch anything at this stage so that remedial action may be taken.

Plan Your Homeschool Differently From School Learning

The way things are done in formal school obviously are not right for your special homeschool student, so find out about alternative teaching techniques and methods that may work better. The homeschooling parent will need to spend a few days getting through all the available material and doing research into what should work best for their child.

Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment

Should you find that there is no single method that you resonate with, try different ones. See what works practically with your homeschool student. Shuffle things around. Look for what interests your child. Set goals and see how best to meet them. You don’t have to teach like in regular school.

Ensure Physical Education is Part of the Homeschool Schedule

Getting exercise is just as important as studying. Have them sign up for dance classes, sports at the YMCA, or even horseback riding. Pick something physically demanding. The idea is to ensure that the child gets a good physical workout. And if they enjoy the activity that’s an added bonus.

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Homeschool Resources – Finding Pictures to Use Legally

Ever so often when designing a worksheet for your homeschool students you may feel the need to pretty things up by adding an appropriate picture. Most of us simply head over to a search engine and print out the first image we like. Did you realize that this is not legal? Not even if you are not planning on sharing the worksheet with anyone else. All images can not be simply taken off the internet and used.

You can get into serious trouble if you do so, as you may be in violation of someone’s copyright. You need to find your images at specific websites which allow you to use and modify them. Fortunately a number of people use the Creative Commons license to share their images with everyone. Here are some websites that you can legally download and use images off.


The website has a number of images available on a variety of topics. Simply enter what type of image you are looking for in the search box on the home page and you will get a lot of results. You can select the ones you like and click on the image to be taken to the page where you may download it from. Almost all images on the website are available for commercial use with modification as long as you credit the photographer or image creator.


This site has a mixed bag of images, so you need to be careful. Please ensure that you read the creative common license used for each image. Most images have the license mentioned clearly on the download page. Should you have a doubt about how you can use the image, contact the user who has uploaded the image and clarify them.

Wikimedia Commons

Not only do you have images available on this website, you can get other media snippets as well. Videos, audios and more can be found here, free to reuse as required. Some images may require mentioning the uploader, but most do not. This also has images from a wide variety of topics. It’s quite a popular website for downloading images.

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Homeschool Tool – Creating Timelines

In every subject from computers to science there is some amount of history involved. The who discovered what and when aspect can be a bit confusing to understand for homeschool students. Rather than simply having them mug up the dates and deeds by rote, make it more interesting for your homeschool students and create timelines based on what they are studying. Here are four different ways that you can create highly visual timelines.

Wall Chart Timelines

Using a normal poster board and strips of printed paper you can create a chronological sequence of events. These are great to offer a lot of information in a single glance. Add images to make it more attractive and memorable. Their drawback is that you need a fair amount of wall space to display them. Which means even a couple of timelines can cover up an entire wall.

Note Book Timelines

Mark up a fixed time period per page on the note book and create a flip through kind of tim line in the note book. Charlotte Mason called this the ‘Book of Centuries’. Besides writing in the event you can use diagrams, stickers, and other images to pretty it up. You can have a whole lot more information in such a timeline, and another bonus is that it’s easy to fold up and store away till needed again.

Index Card Timelines

Add different events on individual index cards. Make sure you mark the year prominently in the same place on all the index cards. This will allow you to easily place them in chronological order. You can string up a clothesline and pin up the index cards in order using clothespins to show the sequence of events. Once you are done with using the timeline the index cards can be stored in a cardboard box.

One Page Timelines

These are mini timelines that show all the information related to the events on one single page. These are the sort of timelines that are printed along with magazine articles showing the sequence of events. It will not have very much data but shows the what followed what quite easily to the homeschool student. They are easy to do and simple to store.

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Precautions When Homeschooling Teenagers

Your children in homeschool grow up being independent and aware. Even as you want to give them the best education possible, at times when they hit their teens life in the homeschool classroom can get a bit rough for the homeschool teacher.

Classes Should be Away From TV and Distractions

The teenager needs to understand that when it’s time for homeschool studies, the TV and other distractions need to be turned off. Focus needs to be maintained on what is being taught by the homeschool parent as well as the follow up assignment that is provided. Only once the day’s scheduled classes are over should the homeschool student be provided access to recreational TV programs. You could even make recreation time watching TV together as a family. This helps build bonds stronger.

Computer Time Should Be Limited For School Work and Recreation

One privilege which is easy to abuse is being on the internet. The homeschool parent can take preventive measures by telling the students the exact amount of time that they are allowed to access on the internet each day. In that set period of time the homeschool student needs to finish all the research required for the school work before they begin to play games or get onto social networking sites to interact with friends. As long as they finish their assignments in time, they get to use the extra time allotted to do what they want. This will work miracles in speeding up their submissions as well.

Smartphone Usage Should Be Restricted 

Since the smartphone is another way to get online, the usage of the smartphone should ideally be restricted to less than two hours in the day. This is more than enough time for the homeschool student to speak with friends, text them, or interact on social media. The idea works best if there are preset timings during the day that the homeschool student is allowed access to the phone. For instance maybe half an hour in the morning after three subjects. Then half hour during lunch break or something like that which both parent and child agree on.

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What to Use Homeschool Forums For

At times the homeschooling parent may feel the isolation that comes along with being in charge of a classroom full of kids day in and day out. The lack of adult interaction can become a challenge of it’s own. There area number of places to find online support groups for homeschooling. This way even if the homeschool parent is unable to step out daily for interacting with adults, they can at least do it virtually. Plus there are a number of productive uses that they can attribute spending this time on.

Discussing Special Needs Children

Even if you have a robust homeschool community in the town that you live, chances of having many special needs children are slim. With an online homeschool forum you can connect with other parents whose children have special needs similar to yours. This allows their expertise to become relevant to you. You can share methods to deal with studies and other requirements that the children may have with someone who actually has a clue about what you are going through.

Finding Discounted Educational Products

Most companies that run promotions for homeschool related study material and products are often likely to promote them in a place where they are likely to have a captive audience. A homeschool forum will often have a section dedicated to these promotions and the homeschool teacher will be able to get great discounts on grade appropriate educational products that they buy. In addition you may even be able to buy second hand material from other homeschool parents who have moved up a grade.

Teenage Support 

While all children undergo adolescence in their teens, they tend to react differently. By having access to other parents and sharing strategies in handing your children’s behavior, you get access to tools that you may not have thought up on your own. This allows the homeschool parent to gather the expertise of many parents in a forum and apply the techniques which they feel would work best on their own teenagers. They can also describe their own successes and failures allowing others to benefit. Creating a win win situation for all.

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Finding Good Homeschooling Materials

The internet has so many resources loaded on to it, that if you know how to use them, you can teach your homeschool students just about any subject in any grade for free. At times it is a good idea to get some kits that have all the material you will need to teach a particular topic. This can save the homeschool parent a lot of time.

Free printable homeschool worksheets

This has to be one of the most popular and well utilized resource on the internet. The worksheets can be found on various websites and most of them only require that you sign up for the website in order to be able to access the worksheets. Once you can go through the worksheets, pick the ones that you feel are most likely to suit the needs of your children. Save them to your computer and print them out. You can even modify some bits by adding color and images to make your children more interested in them.

Homeschooling kits

While this is a paid resource, the material is usually well worth it’s price. You get to choose the topics that you want to work on with your child and order the associated homeschooling kit. You can get kits for science experiments, robotics, woodwork creations, crafts and arts and a whole lot more. Hang out in homeschool forums to find out which websites offer the best homeschooling kits. Word of mouth recommendations are well worth looking in to if you are planning to spend money.

Free educational materials through newsletters

Then there some websites that regularly generate new content on specific subjects on a regular basis. They may send out a newsletter every month updating their subscribers about the new content being posted. Follow some popular blogs in order to get free educational material delivered straight to your inbox. You can then use the material in your homeschool classroom. This will cut down on your preparation time for the topics that come in the mail. Plus the children will enjoy whatever add ons the blog has to offer in terms of practice material.

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