One of the things I have loved about this year is the notebooking we’ve done for our geography study. At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure how well it would go, since most blogs and sites recommend lapbooking for littles and notebooking for older kids. After all, both of mine could barely write. But I made the decision based on two facts.
1. I know myself. We did some lapbooking last year for K4, and though we all enjoyed it, it was a lot of work and a lot of planning. In the long run, I knew lapbooking our studies would be something that I would never get to (kind of like scrapbooking). The lapbooks are so cool! And we may still do a couple every now and then, but for a regular activity I didn’t think I had the stick-to-it-tiveness.
2. We made about 5 lapbooks last year, and I also put many of their worksheet pages in a notebook for them to show off and enjoy. Can you guess which of those gets the most traffic? Ironically, it’s their notebooks. It’s only every now and then that I see them pull out the lapbooks. Believe me, if I’m going to put the time in, I want it to pay off long-term with lots of use.
So notebooking was my choice for this year, and here’s what I did to make that choice successful for my young kindergartener and preschooler.
1. I printed off a number of pages before the school year: all of our animal study pages and “Children Just Like Me” pages. Then, I filed them in the back of my notebook. The geography pages I print off at the beginning of each 6 weeks—all of them. These pages I keep filed in their notebooks. Then, on the assigned day, I simply have them pull their notebooks out and turn to the correct page. The advanced prep has kept me from procrastinating and made the process pretty seamless.
2. Our notebooking is a combination of coloring and narration. Most of the blanks on the pages I fill in what they have told me. For instance, on our country notebooking page I typically fill in 3 blanks: the continent, the capital city, and the population. They tell me the continent, and I write it in. I tell them the capital and write it in; then, I show them a picture and have them tell me where to place the star (for the capital city) on their picture of the country. Last, I tell them the population and write it in (my son is very impressed with populations and large numbers), and they color the country. On the page for the country flag, I read the facts and guide them as they color the flag the same as the sticker inside their passport. For our “Children Just Like Me” page, my son writes the child’s name, age, country, and city (copying from our book); then the rest of the page is narration. Both kids recounts to me facts about the child’s family, favorite food, religion, hobbies, etc., and I write in what they remember.
There are two other elements to our notebook this year. On the second week of our study, we include a study of the country’s animals as part of our “Fun Friday” activities. We make a flip-book using the templates from Expedition Earth. I cut envelopes in half for pockets, glue them to blank sheets of paper, slide the flip-books in place, and insert the pages into their notebooks.
We’ve also classified animals this year: mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, and arthropods. I pre-cut the pictures of the animals from our country (provided by Expedition Earth) because the lines are so tight that it makes cutting difficult for the kids. They tell me the classification, and I help them glue those animals in their proper divisions within the notebook.
The result? They love their notebooks! I love the simplicity! And we have a record of what we’ve covered as well as a place to practice skills like copywork and narration, coloring, organizing, and sorting.