As time went on, my son began to find and copy poems that he liked, songs from the church hymnal or from his history lessons. He began a collection of art prints. He added maps that highlighted journeys. At the end of the first year, we had a bulging notebook and a young writer that had gone from reluctant to really excited! The notebook quickly became "his own" notebook. At the end of the year, we divided our notebooks (there was no room to add anything else) into obvious divisions. We had a Bible notebook, a history notebook, a poetry notebook, and another copybook. All of these have continued and several have divided into other notebooks through the years (he now has FOUR history notebooks — Great Men and Women of the Civil War, Battles of the Civil War, Military Notebook, and World History Timeline Notebook! AND that is JUST History!). As your children dig into their interests, they may have other notebooks that develop. Let them go! You will learn more about your children as they learn more about topics AND writing!

So, What Do You Think?

Want to give it a try? If I could ask every homeschooling family to do just one thing, it would be to just give notebooking a try. So, think about it. Pray about it. Then, get those supplies. Set aside a spot for your supplies. Then, turn those budding young writers loose! 

Our Quick Notebooking Shopping List…

  • One notebook per child. Our favorite notebooks are the 3-ring vinyl notebooks that have the clear pockets on the outside so the children can design their own covers. We usually choose the white notebooks and fill it full of plastic sheet protectors. Then, all our children have to do is add their work each day.
  • Plastic sheet protectors. They work great at protecting your child's work from spills, rips, and smudges in 3-ring binders and especially for preserving pressed specimens. We use the 8 ½- by 11-inch sheet protectors, which we buy by the box at Sam's. The non-glare type is more durable, does not scratch as easily, and is not as brittle as the shiny ones.
  • Paper. We choose a wide variety of paper depending on what we need from an office supply store:
    • 110 pound white for art and timeline notebooks.
    • 110 pound colored for notebook covers, for sturdy pages, for mounting specimens or pictures.
    • Plain lined paper for their level of handwriting.
    • Printer paper for the computer.
  • Staplers. We keep the regular staplers AND the heavy-duty booklet staplers. These are especially great for making booklets!
  • Camera. Digital cameras are simply priceless! If you have a film camera, you can request a CD-ROM with the pictures on it. Your children can paste-and-clip pictures into their work. If they are constantly building, cooking, creating, or tinkering; they can document what they are learning through scrapbooking the process. 

Other "essentials". You may already have lots of these. Different kinds of scissors, hole punchers, highlighters, pens, pencils, markers, watercolor pencils, sketch pencils, mounting tapes, mounting corners, glue stick, stickers, rubber stamps, paper cutters, colors, paints, and of course, scrapbooking books and magazines!

Copyright, 2004. Used with permission. The Old Schoolhouse magazine. Cindy Rushton is married to Harold Rushton, and the mother of Matthew (17) and Elisabeth (13). She is the author of over 75 books, Bible studies, and homeschool resources. She publishes two magazines, Time for Tea and Homeschooling The Easy Way. She is a speaker for homeschool conventions across our country. Go to, email her at, or call Rushton Family Ministries at 1-256-381-2529 or 1-888-HSBOOKS.