Monday, May 13, 2013

Our Classical Notebook

As we've taken baby steps toward a more classical approach to learning, our breakfast notebook has transformed into a tool that contains the core of our grammar work.  

The advantage of a notebook is the routine and simplicity it provides.  Routine establishes discipline and predictability. The notebook is also a beautiful portfolio of a child's own original work.

Before anyone starts thinking of grandiose visions of what a homeschool should like, I will be first to admit that things do not always go as planned!  We will likely not be able to do this every day!  When all else fails, there's recitation, which is quick and simple and requires nothing but our voices. {and for us, a CD of our memory work songs}

If you wish to save on time and money, sure to check out our post Notebooking on a Shoestring & Scheduling Simplified!

Our notebooks are divided into the following:
  • Bible 
  • Calendar
  • Geography
  • English & Latin Charts or Copywork
  • History
  • Science
  • Math
  • Timeline
  • Fine Arts
You can either make a separate notebook for each subject (or multiple subjects), or place all in the same notebook with dividers for each subject. Our timeline notebook is separate from the rest. To see what the notebook looks like, click here.  

Where you see an asterisk:  *Place in page protector (or laminate) and use dry erase marker.

For a tutorial on how to make your own copywork pages, visit Free Handwriting Resources (and learning-to-connect-cursive-letters workbook)

This is where we place our Grapevine Studies Bible work, scripture memory work pages (blank illustration pages) [when we are not doing a Grapevine Study], daily prayer pages, and thankfulness journal.

Calendar, Address & Name-Writing Pages:
This is where we keep our daily practice pages:  blank calendars, weather charts, address and phone number practice, and (for our youngest) name-writing practice pages. You can create address* and name practice pages* using the free Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker (if ever this website is down, you can instead try downloadinthe following fonts on Fontspace: KG Primary Dots Lined (print) and Learning Curve Dashed Pro (cursive) - along with several others: or from FontPark at  Then, unzip the folder and copy the .ttf files into your Fonts folder on your PC or Mac.)  

Confessions of a Homeschooler: calendar, address, & weather chart notebook pages*
The Teacher Wife: Everday Learning Pages*

[Update:  We do not do all of these pages!  We primarily work on the calendar page, the address page, and a name page for our youngest]

This is where we keep our Geography Continental Blob Maps and Classical Conversations maps. We use the CC maps for "show me" and "tell me" recitation exercises and to trace the details of each continent! For mapping the continents on a blank sheet of paper, our youngest two children use our continental blob mapping templates.  Our oldest is able to draw his world map (along with all the major circles of latitude) freehand .

English & Latin:

Cycle 1 Latin:  
Latin Interactive Cut-and Paste Worksheets for declensions and conjugations 
For other Latin resources for declensions, visit our Free Latin Resources Post.

Cycle 1 English: Because we are simply memorizing prepositions, linking verbs, and helping verbs, I don't have a chart to use for this one. You might just use a blank page to list the current week's memory work as shown here.

Cycle 2 English & Latin:  Blank charts for our Latin and English memory work. 
[Update:  We are actually using the tables in our Latin Conjugation File Folder Game and our Pronoun File Folder Game because our children write big when using dry erase markers.  We simply slipped the empty tables into page protectors inside their notebooks, and they write out their conjugations and pronouns once or twice per week.]

Our former charts can be downloaded below:

Download conjugation charts in color* or interactive charts in B&W from Classical Academic Press

Cycle 3 Latin:

Cycle 3 English:

Other weeks:  Use blank copywork pages to copy definitions

Blank illustration notebook pages to use for copywork and/or dictation.  Write and illustrate the history sentence, or a sentence or paragraph from the timeline card or another source. For instructions on how to use copywork and dictation, click here.   For younger children, you can use the free Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker for traceable text or handwriting practice.  

[Update:  We are currently using Classical Conversations Prescripts in lieu of using illustration pages. Check out our two reviews for Prescripts: Classical Conversations Prescripts Review #1Classical Conversations Prescripts Review #2.]

For other lined paper formats, visit ABC Teach

Blank illustration notebook pages to use for copywork and/or dictation.  Write and illustrate the science fact, or a sentence or paragraph from the science acts & facts card or another source.  Click here for more about how we use blank illustration pages for notebooking.

For other lined paper formats, visit ABC Teach

Multiplication Drills, Skip Counting Sheets, Skip Counting Circle-and-Write Pages, Skip Counting Mazes.

Visit the Classical Conversations guest library page for a few free Multiplication Drill Sheets from Tables, Squares and Cubes.

Visit PrintNPractice to download multiplication drills* and exponents drills.* Click here to download the packet (highlighted in purple) for multiplication drill sheets through 15x15! (And be sure to check the rest of the page in case there's another format you would like to practice!)

Use blank pages (blank cardstock inserted into page protector) for unit conversions, geometry, and algebraic laws.

For skip counting, choose one (or more) of the options below:
We work on two math fact sets per day - not necessarily the ones for that week, but rather the ones they need to practice the most!

Blank timeline pages.  Draw an image and label with timeline card label.  (If it's overwhelming to do 7 timeline events per week, start with just adding one per week for the history sentence.)  These can be used as regular notebook pages or taped together as an accordion timeline.  For instructions on how to make this into an accordion notebook (along with photos), click here. [Update:  Our Timeline notebook is separate from the rest of our notebook.  Click here to see what it looks like.]

Fine Arts:  
Notebooking pages to assist with Music Theory, Great Artists, and Composers.  (Drawing is practiced in the History & Science illustration notebook pages.)

Download Cycle 2 Fine Arts Notebooking Packet here.
Download Cycle 3 Fine Arts Notebooking Packet here.

Cycle 1 Fine Arts Notebooking Packets will be posted in Fall 2015. The first 12 weeks of each cycle are the same, so you can use the note booking pages offered in the other Fine Arts packets for the fall semester.

Our preschooler's notebook is different from his brothers' notebooks!  His notebooking pages include the Bible pages, geography continental blob and CC Connected maps, Skip Counting Mazes, Calendar Pages, a practice-my-name page, and A-Z Number and Letter Writing Worksheets.  Visit Preschool Notebooking Pages for more information.

You can also use cardstock and print free lapbooking templates to record history sentences, science facts, or other memory work.  [This is more time consuming than just writing out charts free-hand, but our son likes doing them this way every now and then!]

A suggested method of approach:
Daily pages:  Bible, Calendar, Geography, and Math Pages
Choose one to two subjects per day for other subjects:  History & Timeline, Science, Fine Arts, Latin & English Grammar.  This will allow you to complete one notebooking page per subject per week.  (More if your child is willing and able!)  I have included approximate times, but it will depend on the student's ability.  Allocate about 40-50 minutes total for notebook time, which can be in one sitting or split up into smaller sessions. But modify this notebook and/or schedule to best fit you and your student's needs!  

Daily Activities
Add to Prayer Page (1 min.)
Add to Thankfulness Page (1 min.)
{Illustration Page:  Daily Scripture} (5 min.)
Calendar & Weather Page (add today’s information, until no longer needed) (1 min.)
Address Page, Name Page, etc. (practice until no longer needed) (5 min.)
Geography Blob Map Practice and show me/tell me exercise (5-10 min.)
Math Drill - Select one to two skip count or multiplication drills to practice (5 min.)
Latin or English Chart (up to current week's memory work) (5 min.)
{Recitation and Review Games/Songs}

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
History Copywork & Illustration Page (10 min.)

Science Copywork & Illustration Page (10 min.)
Add Timeline Events to Book of Centuries (10-15 min.)
Fine Arts Pages (optional) (5-15 min. or longer depending on depth of study)

Visit our Beginner's Guide for how to use these sheets for copywork, dictation, and narration.

Keep in mind that this notebook can be split up into multiple notebooks as needed. (Our timeline is actually separate from the other subjects, especially because we have an ultra-expanded version.)

*Place in page protector (or laminate) and use dry erase marker.

For step-by-step instructions for drawing, we use Draw Write Now and Draw and Write Through History (for older students).

Free step-by-step drawing guides may be found at the following links:
Art for Kids Step-by-Step Drawing Lessons
Step-by-Step Drawing Lessons at
The Drawbot's Free Drawing Pages
Art Projects for Kids Drawing Lessons
What  to Draw and How to Draw It by E. G. Lutz
Just to practice skills (can be inserted into the Fine Arts section):  Donna Young's practice worksheets and Dawn's Brain for step-by-step perspective exercises

Our drawing resources page contains a more exhaustive list of drawing resources, along with lesson plans for six weeks of drawing instruction.

Our Tin Whistle and Music Theory plans include links to great Treble-clef and note writing pages, as well as a plethora of review games!


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  2. Do you have Cycle 1 notebook resources?

  3. Hi Megan! I haven't had a chance to make the Fine Arts pages yet, but they are the same for the first 12 weeks of each Cycle. For geography, we use continental blob maps and tracing CC maps for Cycle 1 and 2. I've updated this post to link to some resources for declensions and Bible! Thanks for your question!

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    Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood

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