Since we began creating notebooks, we have noticed a remarkable increase in their ability to engage in what they are learning. Their notebooks have also served as a wonderful means to review and refresh what they've learned. When friends come over, our children are always so proud to show what they have created and what they have learned. Their attitude toward learning is so different from when they filled in the blanks on worksheets, which were often discarded and forgotten.

Charlotte Mason had her students create notebooks and many homeschoolers today are convinced that there is no better method of teaching. Here are some of the benefits to notebooking that we have discovered:

  • They build strong thinking, research, and writing skills. 
  • They provide a means to look back and review the many people, places, and events that have been studied.
  • They help students create and personalize their own reference materials, dramatically increasing their ability to recall what they have learned.
  • They eliminate hours of busy work and help make the most of the student's (and teacher's) time.
  • They work well with many of the prominent teaching philosophies (i.e. Charlotte Mason, Classical Approach, Principle Approach, etc.)

Creating notebooks can be compared to keeping photo albums. Often the memories our children keep from their early childhood are the ones we have recorded for them in the family photo book. As they look over the pictures, the moments we've recorded with our camera are relived over and over again in their minds and readily recalled. If we forget our camera the memory over the years is often forgotten. The same holds true for the things our children are learning. So much will be forgotten, if we do not create a way for them to look back and review.

"If you could home school your children all over again what would you do differently?" We would find ways for our children to get involved with what they are learning, and we would have them create a paper trail, to use for reference and review.

No matter what method you subscribe to in your home schooling endeavors I hope you and your children will find the thrill of learning about God and His creation a lasting and meaningful experience.

Our passion for this method of learning lead to the creation of our company Hold That Thought! We have historical figures whose stories need to be told. We have maps on the different explorers but their courses need to be charted. And we have many other sheets that will involve your students as they go through history and other subjects. We also have some amazing timelines that when assembled can reveal the chronology of history at a glance. Most importantly, all of our materials are hands on and help you cover all the key historical people, places, and events that comprise our world.

Elaine Depew lives in Glendale, California. She has spent over 20 years creating, writing, and designing pro-life materials published by The Repair Shop, a pro-life publishing company she co-founded. Along with a group of educators, artists, and researchers, she has now turned her attention to the homeschool community to create Hold That Thought. You can view their website at
Copyright, 2004. Used with permission. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
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