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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

NotebookingPages.com (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)



This is a product that I had my eyes on for quite some time after seeing it over and over again on my friend Marcy's blog/facebook page.  She's talked about NotebookingPages.com  and what a great deal the Lifetime Membership is and how she has incorporated notebooking into her homeschooling with her son.  The idea of notebooking really intrigued me and a number of times I came close to buying this resource for myself but something always prevented me from doing so.

Yup, this was me!!!
You can only imagine the happy dance I was doing when I was offered the Lifetime Membership to review for my own blog.  It probably looked very similar to the Numa Numa guy mainly because my dancing greatly resembles the Numa Numa dance.. Point is, when I was asked to review NotebookingPages.com, I was absolutely ecstatic.  

What is Notebooking?

In the homeschooling community, Notebooking is the learning style of creating folders or binders filled with journaling,  drawings, lap reports, reports, scrapbooking pages,and timelines that the student works on through their study of a subject.  Notebooking allows for more flexibility to study topics more indepth then a stuctured curriculum and allows for you to cut out the "busywork" that clogs up most homeschool schedules.  Notebooking can be used in addition to oral narration and instead teaches the student to write/draw about what they are learning rather than just vocalizing it.  Then all these pages are kept neatly in the students binder/notebook.

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The flexiblity that notebooking provides means that it can be used with practically any subject or course of study and for any age/grade of student.  

NotebookingPages.com

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NotebookingPages.com is the brainchild of Debra Reed and was a result of years of her frustration while homeschooling her own family of 10 children.  She was frustrated, discouraged and suffering from burnout from chasing that "perfect curriculum".  We've all been there, a slave to the schedule and trying to force our kids to complete a set amount of work day after day because we feel we need to have it to prove that they are learning something. Debra got tired this neverending cycle of busywork and schedules and decided there had to be a better way to educate her children.   She discovered the Notebooking style and found it worked perfect for her family.

Her next goal was to help other homeschool families to break free from the same vicious cycle.  Designing hundreds of pages and templates to use for notebooking, she started NotebookingPages.com to provide a valuable resource for those wanting to do notebooking.   The site has grown and a subscription now gives members access to thousands of notebooking pages on a plethora of subjects such as Science/Nature, the Bible, Famous People, Geography, History, and Language Arts to just name a few.

The Member's Section is very easy to navigate. Simply select the Subject and a drop down menu of sections is displayed.  Selecting one of these sections (example: The American First Ladies Notebooking Pages section) then brings up a second menu of the topics available for that section (such as Martha Washington in the American First Ladies section).. Clicking on Martha Washington will start a download of a PDF file that contains all the Notebooking pages in that section on Martha Washington. At this screen, you are also given the options to download the printable catalog to place in the Reference Guide as well as a Zip file containing all 437 pages available in regards to American First Ladies.  Each section follows the same format regardless to subject, making it very easy to learn and navigate quickly.

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User Friendly Format makes it quick and easy to locate pages to fit your topic of study
Our NotebookingPages.com Experience (So Far)

I cannot begin to even describe how amazing of a job Debra Reed has done in designing and executing this site.   The meticulous detail and explainations that she provides upon joining her site shows that she honestly does care about your success as you venture into Notebooking.  This site could easily be overwhelming to a new member, considering the thousands upon thousands of pages available and one could quickly become discouraged.  This is prevented almost immediately as Debra provides a series of Tutorials ( the "EasyStart Guide") that walk you step by step through the site along with suggestions for organizing and quickly referencing the available pages over the course of 5 daily easy to read PDF lessons.

Over the course of those first few days, with the help of Debra's EasyStart Guide, I put together my
homeschool notebook pages, journaling, notebooking,
time saving Reference Notebook.  This notebook is highly suggested as it gives you a very quick visual of all the available pages by subject.  Each pages is listed in the reference pages that lets you know what section of pages it can be found in (history, geography, language arts, ect) as well as which page number it is.  This saves HUGE amounts of time as you can find the page you want in the reference book and go straight to it in the downloaded PDF file for that section.  For example, the kids have used two very specific weather pages daily and I print out every Sunday night.  Using the Reference guide, I know that the pages I want are located in the Nature Study pages and are pages 276 and 277 out of 399 available pages in the Nature Study Section.  I HIGHLY recommend taking Debra's advice and making this reference guide as it will save loads of time in the future.  I will most likely trade my three ring binder and instead have this reference guide spiral bound with a cover in the near future.

Once I was done with the five days of Tutorials, we were ready to jump in with both feet.  I picked out a few subjects/topics I thought the kids would enjoy each week, printed them out and tested the waters with the kids.

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The very first pages we started with were the weather pages located in the Nature Study section.  The kids check the weather each day as part of their daily nature study and I wanted them to start being able to read current temperatures, highs and lows for the day and wind speeds.  I was pretty happy to find not one but two pages that worked out really great for this goal.

The first page worked great for a weekly log where the kids could record a simple forecast for each day .

homeschool notebook pages, journaling, notebooking,

The second page allowed for a more in depth daily and I would print 5 of these each week - one for each school day.   These worked perfect for us because the pages didn't focus on precipitation (we live in a desert so we don't get much rain) but instead allowed us to concentrate more on wind speed - something we have lots of.  However, there are plenty of pages that also concentrate on precipitation for those who want to chart daily rain/snow fall.

homeschool notebook pages, journaling, notebooking,

I wanted to use a variety of pages from different sections, so I decided to print out one of the mapping pages - this one about North America.   The kids had fun labeling what they knew and I was pretty shocked to realize that Garrett remembered Greenland..

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The kids are pretty excited about our upcoming camping trip to Yosemite.  I found a number of notebooking pages for Yosemite in the Geography section along with other National Parks and Monuments.

homeschool notebook pages, journaling, notebooking,

There's also a nice selection of Holidays pages so I printed out a few of the 4th of July pages that were available and told the kids to draw what they thought of when I said 4th of July and then write about it.  I had to laugh when Ashleigh drew fireworks and then proceeded to write about how the base fireworks always seem to set the base on fire.

homeschool notebook pages, journaling, notebooking,

In the course of the few weeks we've had access to the NotebookingPages.com website, we have done many different pages on different subjects, and we're in a slower, easier mode because of the summer. Yet we haven't even scratched the surface of the offerings available.

Just a few of our Notebooking Pages
Pages can be used over and over again in different ways - how Ashleigh and Garrett use a page right now while in 2nd (about to begin 3rd) grade will vary greatly as to how they will use the same page in 5th grade, 9th grade and 12th grade.  The lifetime membership means that we will have full access to the website for the life of the website.  It also means that we're not rushed trying to download and use as much as possible in the span of a yearly membership - when we're ready to do American History or to learn about the State of Idaho, the pages I need will be ready as well.


Currently a Lifetime Membership is available for $97 with a four month payment plan available with only $10 down.  There is a Free Membership Option also available that gives you access to hundreds of free pages which provides a wonderful introduction to Notebooking as well as to the PDF Tutorials.

In my opinion, it's well worth the cost and I can see why my friend Marcy has been talking about how wonderful this site is and I expect my friends will hear about it from me now.



For more information about NotebookingPages.com, be sure to check out their website or visit them on one of their social media sites:


Twitter: https://twitter.com/NotebookingPgs  @NotebookingPgs


Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews

3 comments:

  1. Brenda--this is such a great review! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much :) It's a wonderful product and we are enjoying it so much.

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  2. It IS wonderful. It made all the difference in the world for us in one product in particular, that we'd really struggled with! But it's enjoyable to use in even the non-problematic ones.

    ReplyDelete

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