Today I’m sharing about the narration notebooks we keep in our Charlotte Mason homeschool. My daughter is in form 1B (first grade) this year, and after reading more about notebooking, I decided we would utilize them in our homeschool. Below I share what subjects we keep notebooks for and how we use them. Keep reading to see more!

Notebooking in Our Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Most of the information I’m sharing today, I learned from reading The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater. It’s a remarkable book! In it, Laurie talks in depth about the types of notebooks that you’ll use when educating your child using the Charlotte Mason method. I’m only touching on the ones we currently use, but I do list a few out that I don’t plan to start until later on, and I share the reasons why below! But before we begin, let’s cover: what is notebooking?

What is notebooking?

Keeping notebooks is a wonderful way to record oral and drawn narrations. After a reading, I will often ask my daughter what she heard and have her tell me as I record the oral narration in the notebook for that subject. I will also sometimes ask my daughter to draw her narration instead of tell me, so it’s a fun change it up a bit each week. If you’re wondering what narration is, I wrote a blog post about it here. I also filmed a video on narration and how to use it in your homeschool here.

How often should you notebook?

You only need to notebook as often as you want to! In our homeschool we will sometimes do an oral narration and I won’t record it at all. Other times, I will have my daughter share her oral narrations and I’ll write it down as she tells. Lastly, sometimes I’ll have her draw it and tell me! It just depends on what the day allows for and how much time we have in our 20 minute lesson block.

The notebooks we use for Form 1:

Bible Notebook. Record of our oral narrations for Old Testament and New Testament Bible Lessons. We have four Bible lessons a week, and I usually reserve one lesson for the reading, and one for the notebooking (for both Old and New Testament studies!)

Narration NotebookRecord of our oral and drawn narrations for Natural History, and Literature lessons. This year we read from Aesop’s Fables, Fifty Famous Stories Retold, Grimm’s Fairytales, and the Arabella Buckley series for these narrations.

Geography NotebookThe geography notebook is reserved for strictly geography lessons and geography reader narrations. We have the Elementary Geography book by Charlotte Mason and a wonderful Geography Reader I share about in this video.

Truth, Beauty, Goodness NotebookWe use the Truth, Beauty, Goodness notebook to record our composer study narrations and our sketches for picture study. We also record poems we’ve worked on for recitation. There are three sections separated off and we will actually use this keepsake notebook for many years, so I won’t have to start a new one next year.

Math Notebook. We use this every few math lessons, but not often. We record math sums or write numbers in it. The one we have came with our Simply Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic curriculum.

Nature Study Journal. The nature study journal is a notebook that my daughter keeps for herself. I don’t correct spelling or grammar in it, nor do I tell her what to write or draw. This is something she keeps on her own and records her own drawings in. It’s more of a “for fun” notebook and shouldn’t be managed by mom. That being said, the mother teacher can lead by example by keeping their own mother’s nature journal! I make sure to draw things I observe on our hikes or nature walks and record the date, weather, and location of our walk that day, along with a few notes or labels on the picture.

Burgess Bird Journal. We are reading the Burgess Bird Book as part of our homeschool natural history lessons once a week. I record my daughter’s narration after the reading and then she brush draws the bird we read about! This usually takes longer than the twenty minute lesson block, but it’s only once a week. I also make sure to schedule this at the end of our lesson time, so she has lots of time to work on the brush drawing while I prepare our lunch!


Watch my video on notebooking!

Still want to see more? I share the inside of each notebook and talk a lot more in depth about what I chose NOT to notebook for Form 1 in my video here.

Shop My Notebooks:

Riverbend Press Notebooks (TBG blue hardcover)

Riverbend Press Notebooks (Green Soft Cover)

Anna Vance Paper Co. (Smaller Notebooks)

I hope this blog post about how we keep our notebooks in our Charlotte Mason homeschool was helpful to you! Thank you so much for reading!

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  1. What about the family notebook of firsts you shared last in your corresponding video? I am looking for that size and style, have a link?

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