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3 Tips for getting rid of the mess and organizing those science notebooks {Episode 85}

February 24, 2020 5 min read

Listen to three tips on how to organize all the loose notebooking pages all over your house into a beautiful science notebook in this podcast from the Tips for Homeschool Science Show sponsored by Elemental Science.

Paper, papers everywhere!! Notebooking is a fantastic tool we can use to teach science, but unless your notebooking pages come pre-made and bound together in a book, you will struggle with a mess of pages to deal with. So, how do you organize all those papers into notebooks?

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 tame that notebooking paper beast!

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Episode 85 Transcript

Tame the notebooking-clutter beast with these three tips!

In the last episode, we chatted about notebooking and how to harness its benefits for teaching science in our homeschool. But as wonderful as notebooking is, it has a big, hairy problem that we don’t like to talk about – the notebooking pages beast.

This paper monster creeps silently into your homeschooling closet, it overflows onto desks and tabletops, and the next thing you know it rivals the unfolded laundry pile lying on the bedroom floor.

None of us are immune to the notebooking pages beast and I promise you, if you use narration and notebooking for science or any other subject, you will have to conquer this monster at some point.

While I am so thankful to have lots of notebooking keepsakes in our home, it took a bit of time for me to figure out an organizational system that works for us. One that allows us to reap the benefits of notebooking while overcoming clutter creature that comes along with it.

So how do you get rid of the mess, reclaim your surfaces, and organize a science notebook? Here are three tips to help…

3 Tips for getting rid of the mess and organizing those science notebooks

Need some help organizing those science notebooks? These three tips are just what the organizer ordered.

1. Plan digitally.

If you decide to find your notebooking pages as you go, you can quickly get overwhelmed! Not only are there a ton of pages you can download on the Internet, but it is way too easy to forget where you found a page and when you planned to use it.

Plus, if you print it out so you won’t forget, it has a high likelihood of going missing in the belly of the notebooking pages beast. I am sure I am not the only one who has found a blank notebooking page in a stack of forgotten recipes to try later!

I have found that planning digitally keeps me organized in the notebooking department. Here are some ideas for keeping track of the notebooking pages you have found in a digital way:

  • Keep a Pinterest board for each subject (or for each year).
  • Bookmark those “go-to” websites you regularly use for finding notebooking pages.
  • Download the pages you know you are going to use and save them in a folder on your desktop, ready to print out.

If you plan digitally, you cut off the notebooking pages clutter creature before it even gets out of the gate!

2. Keep it all together.

I keep all our notebooking pages together for a subject in one folder. And I have different colored folders for each subject, our science one is green because that’s my favorite color! Using different colored folders helps me know which one to slide the paper into without having to pull everything down out of the stack, which means I more likely to put it in the right place rather than just haphazardly throw it in there.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t end up with a “to-be-filed” stack of folders that is thicker than a ream of paper. But it will keep everything in one place until you have time for the marathon hole-punching session.

If you don’t use the file folder idea, you can keep your notebooking pages together by:

  • Using a bound journal, composition book, or a spiral notebook with your student.
  • Printing all of the notebooking pages at the beginning of the year and have it bound before you begin.
  • Springing for that pre-printed or bound copy of a student notebook. (This is what I prefer to do as time is at a premium for me these days!)

But the short of it is that if you keep all those loose-leaf notebooking pages in one place, it keeps the beast from spreading all over your house.

3. Store it all in an accessible place.

Trust me on this one, you will want to look back at your students’ notebooks. And, for that matter, so will the students. But once you have bound all those loose pages together, you don’t want a stack of science notebooks lying on the floor for all to see.

When we first got started with notebooking, we had those piles and so I decided to put them all in storage. I packed up those science notebooks and stored them with the rest of the materials from our year. But the problem was that every time we wanted to walk down memory lane, it involved a hike down into the semi-scary basement! Clutter Beast vs. Basement Visit – it’s a tough call.

Now, we have a shelf dedicated to old notebooks, so we can enjoy, laugh at, and reference them with ease. Here are a few ways you can store old science notebooks in an accessible place:

  • Give each child a cubby to store their old notebooks.
  • Fill one of your empty cabinets with notebooks instead.
  • Add a bookcase just for showcasing notebooks, projects, and artwork.

If you find a way to store your old notebooks in an accessible place, you’ll enjoy them for years to come and you will have conquered that notebooking pages beast!

Wrapping Up

I trust that these tips will help you get organized when it comes to notebooking! We love this method of recording what our kiddos have learned, but it can turn into yet another clutter creature.

To keep the beast at bay – plan digitally, keep those loose pages together, and store your past notebooks in an easy-to-reference place. I trust that these tips will help you enjoy the benefits of notebooking without all the disorganization.

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

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