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3 Tips to help you take advantage of the benefits of science notebooking {Episode 84}

February 17, 2020 4 min read

Listen in as we chat about three ways you can take advantage of the benefits of notebooking for homeschool science in this podcast sponsored by Elemental Science.

Notebooking is becoming a common recommendation in homeschooling circles because it is such an effective tool. It’s quite the departure from traditional worksheets, so how do you take advantage of the benefits of notebooking for science?

Welcome to season 6 of the Tips for Homeschool Science Show where we are breaking down one of the lofty ideals of teaching science into three building blocks you can use in your homeschool. In this episode, I'll share three tips to help you see how to harness the benefits of notebooking!

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Episode 84 Transcript

Listen in as we chat about three ways you can take advantage of the benefits of notebooking for homeschool science in this podcast sponsored by Elemental Science.

As I have said before, notebooking is a fantastic way to record what your students are learning in science or any other subject you are studying. This technique has been around for hundreds of years. Men and women like DaVinci, Beatrix Potter, and Thomas Edison all took advantage of notebooking.

But these days, it’s really gaining popularity in the homeschooling movement and it’s making its way into the education scene.

The problem is that as something becomes more and more popular, it gets watered down or altered to make it seem easier. And many times, this leads to missing out on the benefits of a given tool.

In my years of homeschooling, I have seen three main benefits of notebooking:

  1. Notebooking requires the students to engage with the material, rather than merely parroting back facts.
  2. Notebooking provides freedom for the students to write what they found the most interesting or what was new to them.
  3. Notebooking engages both sides of the brain with written and visual content.

    So how do we take advantage of these benefits? Here are three tips will help you do just that…

    3 Tips to help you take advantage of the benefits of science notebooking

    Listen in as we chat about three ways you can take advantage of the benefits of notebooking for homeschool science in this podcast sponsored by Elemental Science.

    1. Learn about notebooking.

    Notebooking can be a bit of a nebulous concept. And if you grew up only filling in worksheets it can be hard to make the transition. The best place to start is to educate yourself about notebooking because to effectively teach it, you need to understand the why’s and how’s behind it.

    A quick Google search for “notebooking” will return thousands of hits. So a few years back, we whittled this down to 12 posts you don’t want to miss about notebooking. These 12 articles are a great place to start building your knowledge.

    Once you know more notebooking, you’ll be ready to take advantage of the benefits of this tool in your homeschool.

    2. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong.

    In reality, once you understand a bit about notebooking, there’s no wrong way to do it. The key is to just start creating notebooking pages, ones that have both of the key components – something written and something visual.

    You can get started by reading some science material to your students or have them read it on their own. If you don’t have a science program that schedules this for you, simply choose a non-fiction library book or a children’s science encyclopedia.

    After you have finished reading, discuss what was read with the students. You can ask the following types of questions as part of your discussion:

    • Leading– This type of question is designed to pull out the most important information. (E.g. What is different between male and female lions?)
    • Broad– This type of question will help you to see what material the students have absorbed. (E.g. What one thing that you have about lions in this chapter?)

    Once you are sure they understand the material, have the students write or dictate to you an age-appropriate narration. This can range from one simple sentence to a paragraph or more.

    Then, top it all off will a related image and viola—you have entered into the wonderful world of notebooking! Your kiddos notebooking page on the same subject might look different than my kiddos and that’s perfectly fine!

    Once you let go of the fear of getting it wrong, you’ll be ready to take advantage of the benefits of this tool in your homeschool.

    3. Let notebooking grow with your students.

    The beauty of notebooking is that it is a tool that can really grow with your students. Once you understand the basics, you can scale it back or level it up to meet the needs of your students.

    Preschoolers can use notebooking to visually depict the building blocks they are learning. Elementary students can use notebooking to practice their budding skills. Middle schoolers can use notebooking to begin to organize their thoughts. And high schoolers can use notebooking to communicate their opinions.

    If you want to see what this looks like, check out our article on notebooking through the ages.

    Whatever the ages of your students, notebooking is a beneficial way to document what they have learned in a way that is meaningful to them.

    Once you let notebooking grow with your students, you’ll be ready to take advantage of the benefits of this tool in your homeschool.

    Wrapping Up

    Notebooking is a departure from the traditional worksheet, but that deviation is packed with benefits for your students. So, have some fun today—ditch those worksheets and give notebooking a whirl!

    Learn about notebooking, don’t let the fear of getting it wrong keep you from trying notebooking, and once you get started, let notebooking grow with your students. I trust that these tips will help you start reaping the benefits of notebooking.

    Thanks for listening and I hope you have a great week playing with science!



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