"Take 5" Easy Notebooking Method: Notebooking Construction

Notebooking is a useful tool in our daily home learning, one that take far less effort than most people realize.  Notebooking, in its simplest form, is one of the most effective means of encouraging a child's skills in observation, independent thought and learning, as well as artistic expression.  Unfortunately, many home educators do not utilize this tool due to being so often overwhelmed by the many resources available.  Sometimes, we make the process entirely too difficult, and just need to simplify.

When I began teaching history at the academy, I began re-evaluating the process that I used in Notebooking with my own children at home.  I needed to simplify the process in order to teach notebooking methods to my new students who had no previous notebooking knowledge (*gasp*), without taking up precious classroom hours.  

Notebooking is essential in our home education, and I wanted to give this gift of creative learning to my new students.  A student that is able to keep a notebook has excellent potential as a student and life-long learner.

In the process of my many hours of Pinterest gleaning research, I discovered a simple Notebooking assignment idea that paved the way for my creating the easiest method to teach notebooking skills, and helping my students produce excellent Notebooking pages on their own.  

I have lovingly dubbed this notebooking exercise "Take 5" Notebooking.  The students read or review their lesson, then they "Take 5" in their notebook.
  • Document 5 important or interesting facts from the lesson.
  • Create 5 illustrations to represent these facts.
  • Use 5 colors to complete the illustrations in the notebook.
This is a simple assignment with the potential for excellent outcomes for the student.  
  • The student gleans, continually, from the lesson or reading to find the information that they feel is important, or at least, interesting.  This promotes them thinking over the ideas in the living book or lesson the teacher has provided.
  • The student is building narration skills and note-taking skills that will continue to help them become excellent communicators.
  • The process of illustrating and coloring helps to ignite the creative spark in a child's imagination.  Picturing and envisioning the ideas from the reading or lesson is an essential element to help children retain what they have learned and make a permanent connection to the ideas they are learning.
  • The student utilizing this process has assimilated the information themselves, in reality teaching themselves, and providing themselves with a convenient way to review the ideas later . . . in their own notebook.
  • The process of this assignment helps a child to organize their own thoughts and begin expressing them effectively and ultimately more efficiently.
Here are a few examples of "Take 5" Notebooking assignments:

TAKE 5 on Luther & the 95 Theses
This "Take 5" did not have the 5 illustrations, but I love the creativity of using the Wittenburg church door as the center piece illustration.

TAKE 5: You can use printed clip art, magazine clippings, postcards and photos for your illustrations in notebooking.

I begin with the first "Take 5" Notebooking assignment on the first week of school.  My class is history, so we began with a History About Me: Take 5, but you can use this for any subject you are learning.  Example: Math About Me, Science About Me, Reading About Me, Writing About Me, etc.  Rather than creating a Take 5 on a lesson, they are using themselves as the "idea" to communicate.  It is an easy way to begin teaching the notebooking method, set expectations for excellent work and learn a bit more about my students.

Remember, the key to successful notebooking is you being a guide to your child.  Allow them a chance to meditate and communicate the ideas that they believe are important.  Give them the tools and allow them to use the tools in their learning.

Here are some more posts on notebooking that you may find useful:

This post is a part of the Notebook Construction series

Joyfully Learning with You,
The Joyful Socks Mom 

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Here are some more homeschool resources we recommend: 


10 Kid-Made Gifts for Giving {My Favorite Things}

I love to help my children create!  It is one of My Favorite Things, to see the joy in a child as they have complete something purposeful and worthwhile  with their own little hands.  I believe that children are people, and in general, are not given enough credit for having excellent ideas, and for being able to be diligent and productive individuals.  This is one of many reasons that I believe in handicrafts and generational crafting with your children.

During and before (if I am really prepared, which is hardly ever) the holiday gift giving season, I plan a handcrafting session with each of my children.  I set aside time to help them create purposeful and meaningful gifts to give to their friends and relatives.  It is a precious time for both child and parent and has become a tradition we all look forward to.  I truly believe that those gifts that are made with willing hands really translate a loving heart to the receiver.

So, as a part of My Favorite Things series, I have compiled a list of gifts that kids can create and give.  I hope you will set some time aside to create with your children too, and show them how wonderful it is to make with your hands and give with your heart!

Few more that we are working on this year:

What are your kid's giving as gifts this year?

For all of my "tech savvy" friends, you can tune-in on TwitterInstagramFacebook & Pinterest using hashtag #jsmfavethings

Joyfully Learning with You,
The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook


My Favorite Things: Gifts, Goodies & Giveaways {Intro}

Okay, so my Favorite Things list is likely NOT to be as super fabulous as the gal with the letter "O" at the beginning of her name.  Nor is My Favorite Things list going to be anywhere close to as costly as the aforementioned "fabulous" list.  In fact, My Favorite Things are just that, my favorites because they are thrifty, real-life, or practical in use.  So, it is with a heart of sharing my real-life and loves that I will be bringing you a new series of monthly posts called My Favorite Things.

My Favorite Things list will be full of great D.I.Y. (Do-It-Yourself) ideas, guilty pleasures (and things I like too much to feel guilty over), real-food recipes,  and goodies for your home, family and daily life.  Mix with a few fun giveaways from me to you.

One of my newest favorite things: Crochet Mug Cozy

I will be beginning My Favorite Things in the month of December with a few last-minute favorite things that will help you with gifting . . . pssst, just in case you missed it, you have less than 10 days left, so you may want to knock that list out so that you can focus on your family.  Just saying. ;)  You can expect my first post by tomorrow, featuring 10 Gifts Kids Can Make: My Favorite Things.

One of my favorite morning starters: Christmas Blend from Starbucks,
Penzey's Hot Chocolate & my French Press.
We have a tendency toward enjoying "French" things . . .
not that the French like us back or anything!
I hope you will join in the My Favorite Things fun by sharing some of your own ideas and things.  This is an opportunity to get to know the "real" Joyful Socks . . . if you were so inclined.  I would like to get to know the "real" you, too.  

What is your FAVORITE THING to use for self-care during the busy season?
I love creating.  It is one of My Favorite Things to help me relax!
This is one of my new Favorite Things to give: Herbal Tea Soap.
For all of my "tech savvy" friends, you can tune-in on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest using hashtag #jsmfavethings

Joyfully Learning with You,
The Joyful Socks Mom 

Be sure to keep up with Joyful Socks on PinterestTwitterInstagram & Facebook


Thanks Freezing & Celebrating the Light {Weekend Reflecting}

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Celebrating biblical holidays together as a family.

Reflecting on the week with joy; come good, bad, or indifferent . . .

The destructive combination of fresh homemade apple cider
& apple cider donuts!
This weekend reflecting post may be a tiny bit longer, as I have not rightly reflected in a couple of weeks.  Life has been full and fast around the Mac house since Thanksgiving . . . okay, well, I guess it really is usually that way.  Thus is life in this blessed season.

  We spent the Thanksgiving weekend trying to remove our family from the "mainstream" scene, which included an overnight camping trip and visit to Homestead Heritage, our family's absolute Disneyland.  What can I say?  We are easy to please and entertain.  We did enjoy our "anti-Black Friday" shopping, handcrafting, learning and fellowship.  The down side . . . camping in 37 degree weather and waking up to the quite plummeted temperature of 27 degrees.  Look, we are lite-weights people . . . this is Texas, for the love of Peter Parker! 
The Bug is in her element when she is a Homestead Fair!
I think she looks like Holly Hobby.
The Squeaker was too cool to be "totally" into handicrafts,
but she still had a few smiles.
We ran home after the fair to get the Scout all healed up from the flu, and begin celebrating our Hanukkah Family Nights.  It felt a bit rushed and harried at first, but we settled back into the swing quite nicely since this is our fourth year of biblical holidays, so we have some established traditions by now.  My favorite parts of celebrating Hanukkah, and the biblical holidays, is that our family gets to celebrate Jesus as Messiah!  I am ever in awe that we get to see Him as the fulfillment of all the scriptures, Law and prophets.  We celebrate how blessed we are as Christians to see Christ this way.  I also love that in all the biblical holidays teach my children, and they are actively engaged in learning more of God's Word and principles.
Nurse Mommy was on duty with The Scout just after Thanksgiving
. . . take that type A flu!  Got him all well with prayer & essential oils.
First night of Hanukkah gift was a big hit -
One Pound Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!  No really, One Pound, for real!
Hanukkah festivities saw the kids, and parents, enjoying our 25 year old brother (Monkey Boy) who isn't usually here for our celebration, and a fun fellowship with a local friend.  Then to top it off with more exciting news . . . ICE!  Which I know is not a big deal for our friends up North, but it causes quite a bit of panic here in Texas.  No offense, but I was enjoying many of the posts on Facebook from local friends for sheer entertainment reading the hysterical stories of "staying home" with iced in kids from public school . . . 
I be like, huh? I do this everyday folks.  Now, being iced in with my husband was a whole other story that I would rather defer. 
Ice day picture of the most adorable 10 year old on the block!
Now, we are raring up for a bit of a break from homeschool co-op (which I totally need) and readying our home for out-of-town guests, especially Granny & it looks like my two favorite cutie twin nieces!  Auntie Joyful Socks will be on full time duty, but this is the kind of "hard labor" I can get into without complaints.
Here is the snowman, or technically ICEMAN,
that the kids created last week.
What I'm reading this week . . .  
  • A Thomas Jefferson Education
  • Miniature Gardening by: Janit Calno was a little gem of a book I found at our local library.  Big Daddy Mac and I have enjoyed scanning its pages for inspiration & think we may have actually found a hobby we might enjoy together.  The downside to this book is that it is a sure sign that one or both of us is getting older . . . I vote for him.
Most enjoyable read of Gardening in Miniature
What we are Reading-A-Loud . . . 
What the Kids are Reading . . . 

The Squeaker: The Light & The Glory, The Great Little Madison by: Jean Fritz, The Swiss Family Robinson
The Scout:  The Light & The Glory, The Great Little Madison by: Jean Fritz, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Bug: Number the Stars, The Dairy of Anne Frank (she is readying for a Holocaust Project that will include her teaching a class to her peers at co-op.  She is most excited.)

Mommy Projects I tackled . . . 
  • Etsy Shop is up and running!  Go check it out.  Adding more and more each day as the creative juices tend to get it full swing when I am breaking and resting more at home.
  • Compiled all the grades for co-op history classes & finished progress reports.  Woot-Woot.  This is the only down side to teaching . . . you know, grading!

New item from my Etsy Shop: Handmade Crochet Large Mug Cozy

Here are the posts I enjoyed this week . . .

My big recommendation of the week is this new e-book by Katie from Kitchen Stewardship entitled, The Healthy Breakfast Book.  Great recipes, tips and ideas for some great real food breakfasts . . . just in time for those out-of-town guests. ;)

Joyfully Learning with You,


The Wonderful Ways of the Narrating Homeschooler

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Narration appears from the outside to be a small, almost insignificant addition to the journey of knowledge acquisition in home education.  I mean, how significant could something so apparently simple, be so important?

Over the years as an educator, I have found that in teaching, as in life, it is the simplicity of life that can be of the most profound importance.  Narration is simple yet profound in helping a child to develop the love of reading and education.  Narration is, in fact, an amazing tool for both the mentor and student.
  • Children need to be heard.  
  • Students need to learn to communicate effectively their own thoughts and feelings about what they are learning.  
  • Kids need to develop their thought processes, and begin to organize their thoughts and build confidence in their own ideas.  
Narration does all of this, and more!

Narration is simply the "telling back" from the student of what they heard in the living book that was read aloud to them.  I love what Charlotte Mason said of this process:

"What a child digs for becomes his own possession."

My mode of operation today is not actually to convince you that narration is an important addition to the home education journey.  I am confident enough as a Charlotte Mason home educator to just say, "The years have proven it is an essential element in learning.  End of story."  I'm not going to sight third party research.  I'm not going to quote endorsements by great educational gurus.  I will say this . . .

I have experienced the amazing transformation that narration can produce in the life of an individual child, and the joy that it brings to the daily life of educating our own children.  Learning is a gift and narration is the capstone to enable mentors to continually give that gift to students.

So, whether you are a long-time mentor of narration, or a beginner, here are a few wonderful results to look forward to in narration:

1.  Improved listening skills.

2.  Developed creativity and originality.

3.  Builds confidence in sharing one's own opinion.

4.  Better comprehension ability.

5.  Improved writing skills.

6.  Develops excellent observation skills.

7.  Longer retention of knowledge.

8.  Improved ability to logically evaluate

9.  Effective and efficient communication skills.

10.  Builds the love of knowledge.

Please remember that like music, painting or poetry, narration is a form of art. An art that takes gentle nurturing, dedicated practice and hopeful directing over time.  Key word here? TIME.

Take the time to narrate.  Start with 10 minutes of reading and having your student narrate only a sentence or two at a time.  Add to your daily narration routine each week.  As you water the seed of narration with good ideas, living books and time, you will see a glorious harvest in the months and years to come.

Do you use narration in your daily schedule?

Joyfully Learning with You,
The Joyful Socks Mom 

Narration sound good to you?  I recommend this excellent e-book on how to use Charlotte Mason methods in your own home.