Fueling the Fire with Notebooks
What is a notebook and how can it be used to help fuel fires in your children?
A notebook is a three ring binder. You can purchase any size that you
want. I like the 1 inch size the best as I find them easier to store on a
shelf. I also prefer the kind with a clear pocket on the front. Your child can
design his own cover and it makes the abiility to use the notebook for
something else, a far greater possibility. You need to have plenty of these as
the children will each want several of their own. Equip each of the notebooks
with some blank paper (3 hole punched) and some lined paper. An extra item you
may want to have would be page protectors. These can get expensive if you have
a lot of "productive" children. You might consider protectors just for the
special projects you are currently working with. For example if we are working
on South America together, each of the children will have a South America
notebook. This would include within it, outline maps (which we would keep in
the protector sheet) , perhaps some general information sheets, and other
information you may want to include. I would caution you not to give them too
much information to start, but to encourage them to find their own information
sources to include.
I have some notebooks that I require and some that are optional, based
particularly on the interests of the child.
One of the biggest benefits to notebooks is the children learn the JOY
of finding out information and developing a love of learning. As we have
discussed earlier, each child has been created in a unique way by a Creator who
knows what He is doing. The knowledge they gain in their early years isn't solely for the
goal of them getting the best jobs when
they grow up. It is much more about developing their character and individual gifts for their life callings.
The greatest advantage to the notebook concept is that children will
learn at their level and a little above their level. They will be stretched,
but not held back. One disadvantage of the public school system is that the
brighter children often will have to wait for those who aren't quite getting
it, to catch up. This is not the case with notebooks. I would even recommend
the notebook concept to be encouraged in the public schools. Or perhaps parents
who are supplementing their children's public education with home education can
use this concept to encourage their children to develop their passions and to
learn about the things that interest them. Who knows, they might even be able
to use it as a school project sometime down the road?
My sister and her husband are youth leaders at their church. They are
using the notebook concept with their youth kids. The kids are required through
the year to keep a notebook on the subject of Metamorphesis. So you see, this
is a concept that can be used by many groups for many different reasons.
One thing to remember when embarking on a notebook or series of
notebooks is to have a goal in mind. It doesn't have to be an elaborate goal,
but it is important to have a goal in order to know if the goal is being met.
It isn't enough to say, "I want them to learn all they can". That isn't
specific enough. However, having a goal that is, too narrow is also not a good
idea. That is, unless you have a child that is older and wants to specialize in
a certain area.
I will first discuss some of the required notebooks. We do not work on
each of these everyday. We would not have enough time to do each subject
justice if we were only given a 30 minute time slot. I've found my children
would just start "getting into it" and we would have to switch gears and move
on to something else. We now have larger blocks of time in our day set aside to
work on one or two notebooks each day.
The Bible Notebook
They each have a Bible notebook. Even the little ones want their own
Bible notebook. Our Bible notebook will not be exactly like your Bible
notebook. Again, this is a subject that requires a great deal of prayer and a
willingness to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If you feel led to do
the same thing we do, that is fine, as long as you know what the Lord has
called you to do in that area.
Our current Bible notebook is based on the books of the Bible. Each day
that we work on these notebooks is a new book of the Bible. For example, the
first book is Genesis. Thus the first page in our notebook is Genesis. They may
fill in sheets behind it as long as it has to do with Genesis, or the
statement, He is the creator. After the book name, we have a statement that
shows the relationship of Jesus in that particular book. So, the statement for
Genesis is, He is the Creator. Everything they do on that page and behind that
page is dependant upon that statement. I only require them to write the book
and the statement. However, they never stop there. They take these notebooks to
church and if the Pastor makes a statement or reference from that book, related
to that subject, or not, they can add it to their Bible notebook. You can do
this notebook in one of two ways. You can have them write out all of the books
with their statements, then when you tell them to work in their Bible notebook,
they can choose which book they want to work with on that particular day. Or,
you may have them do each book as you work each day. Then everyone in the
family is doing the same book on the same day. If you haven't figured it out by
now, I like to maximize my time, by minimizing my effort. Minimizing my effort
means that we are all on the same page. However, if you write out all the
books, they can work in their Bible notebooks any time they feel like they want
to. You could spend a couple of days having them write out all the books, then
when you have required time, you could tell them all to work on one particular
page. That sounds like a good compromise to me.
I want to tell you a story about Exodus. We had done Exodus on this
particular day. The statement for Exodus is, "He is our Redeemer". I had the
children look up redeemer in the dictionary to see what it said. We discussed
it at length. Cathy and David were both particularly enamored with this
particular book and statement. They worked a long time on their Bible notebooks
that day. That night when Steve began our devotions at dinner, the subject was
"Jesus as our Redeemer". Now Steve did not know what we had done earlier in the
day and I did not know what he was going to do that evening. But, the Holy
As soon as Steve said, "What does redeemer mean"? Cathy was able to
shoot her arm into the air excitedly because she already knew the answer to
Daddy's question. This was a great day for her.
Here is the list:
- Genesis---He is the Creator God
- Exodus---He is the Redemmer
- Leviticus---He is your sanctification
- Numbers---He is your guide
- Deuteronomy---He is your teacher
- Joshua---He is the Mighty Conqueror
- Judges---He gives victory over enemies
- Ruth---He is your kinsman, your lover, your redeemer
- 1 Samuel---He is the root of Jesse
- 2 Samuel---He is the Son of David
- 1 Kings and 2 Kings---He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
- 1st and 2nd Chronicles---He is your intercessor and High Priest
- Ezra---He is your temple, your house of worship
- Nehemiah---He is your mighty wall, protecting you from your enemies
- Esther---He stands in the gap to deliver you from your enemies
- Job---He is the arbitrator who not only understands your struggles,
but has the power to do something about them.
- Psalms---He is your song and your reason to sing.
- Proverbs---He is your wisdome, helping you make sense of life and
live it successfully.
- Ecclesiastes---He is your purpose, delivery you from vanity
- Song of Solomon---He is your lover, your Rose of Sharon
- Isaiiah---He is the mighty counselor, the prince of peace, the
everlasting father, and more. In short, he is everything you need.
- Jeremiah---He is your balm of Gilead, the soothing salve for your
- Lamentations---He is the ever-faithful one upon whom you can depend.
- Ezekiel---He is your wheel int he middle of a wheel, the one who
assures that dry dead bones will come alive again.
- Daniel---He is the ancient of days, the everlasting God who never
runs out of time
- Hosea---He is your faithful lover, always beckoning you to come
back, even when you have abandoned Him
- Joel---He is your refuge, keeping you safe in times of trouble.
- Amos---He is the husbandman, the one you can depend on to stay by
- Obadiah---He is Lord of the Kingdom
- Jonah---He is your salvation, bringing you back within His will.
- Micah---He is judge of the nation
- Nahum---He is the jealous God
- Habakkuk---He is the Holy One
- Zephaniah---He is the witness
- Haggai---He overthrows the enemies
- Zechariah---He is Lord of Hosts
- Malachi---He is Merciful
- Matthew--He is king of the Jews
- Mark---He is the servant
- Luke---He is the Son of Man, feeling what you feel
- John---He is the Son of God
- Acts---He is Saviour of world.
- Romans---He is the righteousness of God
- 1 Corrinthians---He is the rock that followed Isreal
- II Corinthians---He is the triumphant one, giving victory
- Galatians---He is your liberty, he sets you free
- Ephesians he is head of the Church
- Philippians---He is your joy
- Colossians---He is your completeness
- 1 Thessalonians---He is your hope
- 11 Thessalonians---
- 1 Timothy---He is your fatih
- 11Timothy He is your stability
- Philemon---He is your benefactor
- Hebrews---He is your perfection
- James---He is the power behind your faith
- 1 Peter---He is your example
- 11Peter---He is your purity
- 1 John---He is your life
- 11 John---He is your pattern
- 111 John---He is your motivation
- Jude---He is the foundation of your faith.
- Revelation---He is your coming King. From the beginning of the world
to its end, there is no place you can look and not see jesus. He is everywhere.
He is everything. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together
If you memorize scripture together as a family, you can have a separate
notebook for that, or you can incorporate it into your Bible notebook. Your
children who read their Bibles daily and are old enough can write notes from
what they read. If they have enough writing to do, you can have them draw
relevant pictures of what they read. If your children take notes on sermons
they can put them in their Bible notebook. You could make a block chart of all
the chapters in the bible and have that pasted to the back cover and have them
mark off when they read them. They will be amazed how quickly they can read the
whole Bible if they get in the habit of reading daily. And they will be able to
see their progress.
I would think it goes without saying, but when your child completes the
whole Bible, he should be rewarded BIG.
My children also are required to maintain a handwriting notebook. This
notebook contains sample letters and notebook paper. They are to practice their
handwriting in them. Some children will become exempt if their handwriting is
already neat. I believe I downloaded the sample pages from the Robinson
The younger children are required to maintain a phonics notebook. When
they make mistakes in their writing, I remind them of the phonics rule that
would be appropriate and they write it in their phonics notebook. I may
elaborate more with this by having them find other words that would also fit
this rule. As they look through their notebooks they may see a pattern and be
able to learn from the mistakes they have made in the past.
Whenever we do a unit together, the children each will maintain a
notebook on that unit. They are allowed, yes, even encouraged, to go beyond
what we are doing and discover for themselves more than we are covering. The
first day of a new unit I will tell the children what we are going to be
studying. I will tell them what my goal is for the unit. Sometimes they might,
as we progress in the study, to develop a goal of their own. That is okay for
them to do. As long as they keep within the original goal too. I will often
give them a handout or two for their notebook. If it's a geographical region, I
will often give them a map, or an outline map. I may give them questions that I
want them to try to answer as we're going through the study.
A couple of times a week I will give the children a picture that I want
them to draw, either from a picture, or something that is around them. These
pictures they put into their art notebook. We have several good books that
instruct them in art. I will sometimes have them do a lesson from one of those
books, or I may have them draw something in real life. One thing my children
have always been good at is drawing. My theory on this is that they have the
time to draw. Many children do not have the time to do the "extras" that make
life more fulfilling.
Each of the children make their own personal notebooks. These may be on
any subject they wish. They may be the foundation for a project they are
working on, or they may just be for fun. This is primarily the reason they do
their notebooks. They enjoy doing them. I will often find them working on their
notebooks during their free time. They take great pride in their notebooks and
enjoy showing them off to everyone who is willing to see them. They take their
notebooks with them in the car. They take them outside with them. They sit in
their rooms and work on them. They check out books from the library so they can
do more in their notebooks.
We have one child who loves working in her notebook so much that the
other children accuse her of "hogging" all the notebooks. She has a stack of
ten in her room that she is working on, or has filled up. Several of them are a
series on the same subject. It has been neat to watch her work improve from the
early notebook days to the present.
One resource we have found is the Extension Office in our county. They
have several booklets on many different subjects. Our Extension Office is very
pro homeschooling and are more than willing to give us free materials and loan
us for extended periods of time, their science kits. The booklets they have
given us are the ones that are used for 4H projects. The booklets have many
ideas in them. These make a great spark for their notebooks. Ashley has a
booklet on horses. She uses this as her foundation for her horse notebook. She
has also used her notebook to expand into her website creation. Some of the
ideas on her website came from questions or projects in the horse booklet from
the Extension Office.