S6 E30 | Teaching Writing the Charlotte Mason Way, Part 2 (Jeannie Fulbright)

S6 E30 | Teaching Writing the Charlotte Mason Way, Part 2 (Jeannie Fulbright)

Show Notes:

Ensuring your children leave home with the ability to write well, to communicate with excellence, is vital no matter what field your child chooses to pursue after high school. Imparting this skill is not arduous for the homeschool mom if she follows the essential and progressive steps given by Charlotte Mason. By teaching children to think with their pen by employing notebooking (visual and written narration), you empower your children with the tools needed for composition and every other form of writing. Notebooking is a methodology of education that employs a child’s comprehension, memory, imagination, and creativity to create a living book of their own knowledge. And as Charlotte Mason says, “that which they imagine clearly, they know: it is a life possession.” Notebooking creates knowledgeable, thoughtful and proficient writers. In this podcast, Jeannie shares stories and ideas for implementing this methodology with all subjects and whatever curriculum you are using. Because this methodology is often neglected, but so fundamental, Jeannie will soon be releasing her Notebooking University online course to provide homeschoolers with any and all age children with everything they need to utilize this powerful device with or without a curriculum. Be sure to follow Jeannie on social media and her newsletter to hear updates on Notebooking University.

Host biography

Jeannie Fulbright, a 24-year veteran homeschooler, is the author of the #1 best-selling, multi award-winning Apologia Young Explorer science series: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics, Botany, Zoology, and Anatomy & Physiology. She is also the author of the action-packed historical time travel book series Rumble Tumbles Through Time, as well as preschool science books and activity kits, the Charlotte Mason Heirloom Planner, and many high-quality Charlotte Mason based products. Jeannie and her husband Jeff became empty nesters in 2019. All four of their children all went to the University of Georgia on scholarship (homeschooling works!). For more than 20 years Jeannie has traveled around the country speaking to homeschoolers at conventions, covering a plethora of topics from Charlotte Mason to marriage and prayer.


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Show Transcript:

Jeannie Fulbright Welcome to The Charlotte Mason Show, a podcast that is all things Charlotte Mason and her tried and true philosophy of education, designed to help you homeschool with more confidence, joy, and success. It is our hope that you'll find golden nuggets that will transform the way you think and the way you homeschool. I'm your host, author of the bestselling Charlotte Mason Science Curriculum, Jeannie Fulbright, and I am so glad you joined me today.

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Today I want to end this season of The Charlotte Mason Show by completing my discussion on the steps for imparting to your children the ability to write well. And, you know, no matter what career your child chooses, no matter what they do in the future, being able to communicate effectively in writing is essential for success and advancement. And this is something that we can do well and we can do right in the homeschool community. The ability to write clearly and cohesively is one of the greatest failings of the modern education system. And we as homeschoolers can remedy that by implementing the progression Charlotte Mason outlines. By utilizing these practices, we will slowly but steadily witness our children becoming excellent writers.

In the last episodes, we talked about the value of copy work and teaching the mechanics of writing-- And copy work doesn't end when a child has mastered the mechanics and usage of writing because there is so much more than practical grammar and penmanship that a child gets from copy work. He also learns the beauty of language. When copying beautifully written phrases and sentences, they began to learn how to structure beautifully written phrases and sentences. And he also grows in wisdom and spiritual discernment as he enters these noble and well-written thoughts in his commonplace book. Commonplacing was an essential part of every young scholar's education, long before the powers that be decided to dumb down education in order to turn out factory workers instead of brilliant thinkers. And so we want to be doing copy work with our children, and we want to encourage them to keep a commonplace book. And these are important things for them to do throughout their lives. Even we as adults should be keeping commonplace books because when we come upon beautiful phrases, we should commit them to memory. And the only way to do that is if we write them down in our commonplace book and then open that book and think over them. And we can do this with Scripture that the Lord gives us, and we can do this with beautiful thoughts or wisdom that we come across in our reading or even in podcasts or things we're thinking about--we read about-- So many places we can find brilliant, beautiful thoughts that we want to commit to memory. And we do that by keeping a commonplace book.

We also discussed the importance of giving our children a feast of ideas and thoughts through living books. One cannot write what one does not know. As Jean Jacques Farre tells us, "When the head is furnished with ideas and usage..." (Usage, of course, being the copy work and learning how to use language.) "When the head is furnished with ideas and usage, we have all that is necessary to write excellent thoughts correctly. But again, if ideas are wanting, if there is nothing in the head, what can you write? How are these ideas to be acquired by study, reading, and conversation with people better instructed than we." And so there we have the feast of ideas that we're getting through living books, through all the ideas that people have imparted to us. We receive those ideas and we give them to our children--our children are given that feast. But we also--in the last episode--we talked about the importance of moving those ideas from the short-term memory to the long-term memory so that your child has easy access-- Doesn't even need to Google it! Because the great ideas and notions are stored in their head. And the way we begin that process is by giving the children the ability to remember what was learned through oral narration--through oral discussion--because a child who can speak well if they follow the steps of copy work for grammar, living books for knowledge, and oral narration for retention. The child who can speak well can write well. Oral narration is essential for the beginning processes of retention of knowledge.

But there is nothing more certain of increasing your children's memory than a methodology I call Notebooking, but is also commonly called "visual and written narration". But I'm going to refer to it throughout this podcast as Notebooking. And as podcasts are generally not very long, I will mostly be giving you an overview and wisdom about how Notebooking works and what we do with Notebooking, along with some ideas for implementing this in your homeschool and replacing this excellent methodology with whatever your curriculum has required your children to do. And therefore you can use Notebooking with any study that you're doing in school. And I believe it will improve their knowledge, their learning, their retention of the subject. I also want to mention that I'm working right now on a really amazing project and it is going to be a complete Notebooking course, which I'm calling Notebooking University, and it will cover everything you need to be confident in using this indispensable methodology in your homeschool. If you sign up for my newsletter at JeannieFulbright.com, you'll be hearing more about this upcoming course--when it opens, and how to register. And I think you'll find it so helpful in transforming the activities and the assignments your children do in your homeschool to something that is even better than it was before.

We talked about the part of the brain called the amygdala in our last episode, and how important its role is in memory and creativity. And although oral narration does call upon certain measures of creativity--when a child is narrating to you, there is creativity coming into play if the child is speaking the narration in his own words. But when a child is using visual narration or Notebooking, the creative centers of the brain are being used to a much greater degree, and the potential for retention, for understanding, for really having that knowledge, ownership of that knowledge, and making connections between that knowledge and other things they learn about, it becomes exponential. And I learned this quite by accident early in my homeschool journey. Before I started homeschooling, I read a book on homeschooling, and one of the things in the book they discussed was this concept of Notebooking. They didn't go into great detail about it, but I kind of got the gist of it and I thought, "Okay, we're going to use this." And our first year of homeschooling, I decided we were going to study history chronologically. So the first year we were going to study Ancient History, and then the next year we were going to study the Middle Ages. So that first year, studying Ancient History, I decided we would use Notebooking. And so any time we read a book, we would--or listened to an audiobook or watched something or went somewhere--I would have my daughter draw a picture. (She was the only one being homeschooled at that time, being my oldest.) And I would have her draw pictures of what we had learned. Just put a picture on the page. You know, and she had some beautiful quality colored pencils and she would draw a picture. When we learned about King Midas-- She listened to an audiobook about King Midas, and she drew a picture of King Midas' daughter turning to gold. And she wasn't adept at writing her thoughts then. She could write. She kind of was born writing. And she graduated from the University of Georgia magna cum laude with a journalism degree. Actually, it was photojournalism, but journalism was part of it. And so writing was always part of her abilities. But--all the thoughts that she had about the story--she couldn't use written narration because that was too much writing at that time for her in her early years. She was doing copy work and that sort of thing for learning to improve her writing skills. But for history, we were not incorporating very much writing. She would draw the picture of King Midas, and then she wanted to know how to spell it, and I would write it, and then she would copy it onto her page. "King Midas". And so that was the extent of most of the writing that took place in her Notebooking activities that first year. And I just used blank copy paper for her Notebooking activities because the book I had read about Notebooking didn't give me very clear instructions on what to use to preserve the Notebooking pages-- Or use to do Notebooking. And in Notebooking University I'll discuss all the methods for keeping a notebook and the different options. And I will also be revealing, at that time, my beautifully bound Notebooking journals, which I have just created. And I will have those on my website soon, so you'll be able to look at those.

So I had it all on copy paper, and I did a three-hole punch, and I actually put it in a three-hole punch folder--one of those little paper folders we used as children. And that's that was her notebook, her Ancient History notebook. And so every time she drew a picture, I would just three-hole punch it and I would put it in her red folder. And we would read books like little short books, we'd listen to audios, we read books-- We read this one book, What Came from Ancient China? We read this book, What Came from Ancient Greece and it was not a long book, but it had a bunch of different things that we have today that came from these ancient civilizations. And it was an interesting book. And then she would draw her pictures. And so when she drew her pictures of what came from ancient Greece, she drew some numbers because, you know, mathematics. And she drew the Olympic rings because the Olympics came from there. And there were a few other things that she drew on the page. And put it in the red folder!

And so the next year, we decided-- I had so many things I wanted to do. I had taken this very intensive Charlotte Mason class, and I knew even more how to do Notebooking. But I had so many books that I wanted to read to her that I didn't really feel like we had time to do the Notebooking because I was just much more convinced about the living books, but not so much convinced about the other methodologies that Charlotte Mason incorporates. So although I was very convinced about living books and was so excited about reading a plethora of living books-- And boy, did I have a feast that year! I had been researching the entire spring and summer and we were ready to hit the ground running with so many amazing living books. But-- Here's one thing: I knew about oral narration, and I had used that practice in my home occasionally. But the problem with it is that I couldn't remember to stop and ask her to narrate. And that's why when I started writing my science books, I included narration prompts throughout the books as a reminder that narrations are an important part of the educational process. But back at that time--this was my second year of homeschooling--I wasn't super convinced about narration yet. I believed it, and I thought it was good, but I just wasn't really using it that much. I knew Charlotte Mason thought it was important, but I didn't understand the mechanisms behind it. And I'm kind of that personality that I have to understand "why" for all the rules, in order to be consistent at implementing the rules. And I remembered Notebooking was fun. My daughter enjoyed it. She's a creative individual. But I didn't feel like I had time to have her draw--make an illustration of everything we learned. So although we were reading living books, we weren't doing Notebooking, we weren't doing oral narration, and we were not really reproducing something from what we had learned.

And of course, Charlotte Mason said-- And I hadn't really read all of her books at this point. My second year of homeschooling I'd only really gotten immersed in Charlotte Mason the spring before, and so I didn't understand this whole concept of needing to reproduce something for it to be remembered. But we studied a lot of the great master painters. We studied Joan of Arc. We study amazing figures in the Dark, Middle, and Enlightenment period. And we had so much to cover. So I just felt like we needed to read because, again, I was very convinced about living books, just not so much the other stuff. And so the following year I saw a famous painting that Leonardo da Vinci had painted. And so I showed her the painting. I said, "Look at this. Isn't this beautiful? This is 'The Last Supper.' This was painted by Leonardo da Vinci." And she says, "Who?" "Leonardo da Vinci. Remember, we studied all about him, the Mona Lisa." And she says, "I don't remember studying Leonardo da Vinci." And of course, I'm flabbergasted and confused because I remembered everything we studied so well. And I also remembered a friend of mine telling me a story about how she had gone through these beautiful picture books with her daughter when she was younger. And then she was one time pointing out to her daughter something that they had seen on a map. And she said, "Oh, this is the Yancey River." And in the book, the Yancey River was a really important part of the book. It was-- I can't remember which book it was, but it was about these these these people who had their little birds going down into the water in the Yancey River to catch the fish. Fishermen. And her daughter had no recollection of it. And my daughter had no recollection of Leonardo da Vinci. And I asked her a few other questions about some of the other things we learned and she couldn't remember, even though I had provided her with brilliant living books for the entire year. And I was really struck and I didn't know what was going on and why she didn't remember what she had learned, because I knew she was a very bright child. And then, you know, coming into play was my friend's report that her daughter had no recollection of ever hearing the word Yancey River in her life, even though they had done this whole study on it. And I was kind of confused, but I just continued homeschooling. You know, you just have to keep going because life is busy. And then another year later I found that red folder that I had put all her ancient Greece stuff in-- And we'd moved on. We were doing other stuff then-- And I opened up the red folder and I saw all these precious little drawings that she had made from the different things that she had done. And I said, "Hey, come and look! Look, this is that folder you created that first year you were homeschooling, this Notebooking that you had done." And she looked through every page and she could remember-- I mean, just from the three things she drew about ancient Greece, she started recounting every other thing in the book that she didn't even write. She didn't even draw anything about these other things that came from ancient Greece! Same with ancient China. She remembered the entire story of Midas. She remembered everything about every page that she created. And she didn't draw everything from the story of King Midas. She just drew the daughter. But she remembered the entire story. She didn't draw everything that happened in ancient Greece...everything that happened in ancient China. But she remembered the stories...the entire story just from the little few things that she drew. And that's when it hit me. Charlotte Mason knew what she was talking about, and Notebooking--written visual narration--trains the brain to obtain the information that they learn.

Through Notebooking, the whole child: his mental facilities, his amygdala, through the creativity, through the memory of what they learn...that works in conjunction to develop and build neural pathways. His physical body is involved in the drawing or creation, no matter how rudimentary the drawing is. Even if it is stick figures, it is the act of physically creating something from what they've learned-- The whole child. And it involves the spiritual self, as well, because it truly becomes their knowledge. The entire child-- Their knowledge becomes their own. They are gaining ownership of that knowledge as they write, as they create something from that knowledge. And another thing that it really does, is it trains the most vital habit that Charlotte Mason wants and believes we must have our children learn, and that is the habit of attention. Charlotte Mason tells us, "Attention is simply the act by which the whole mental force is applied to the subject in hand, the act of bringing the whole mind to bear." And that is what is happening when a child is creating a notebook page. They are attending to the material learned. They are thinking about it more deeply, even more deeply than when they are having a discussion and using oral narration in their homeschool. And creating a notebook page truly goes deeper than all of that. And that knowledge is lifelong.

I know that may seem hard to believe, but just the other day I had decided-- Because I am doing Notebooking University and I'm creating some materials to show-- It's going to be a video course-- And I'm creating all these materials to show and explain all the details of Notebooking. And so I took all of these folders that I had my daughter's work in. After I'd done the little three-hole punch folder, I actually started putting them in page protectors in binders. And I thought, "Okay, this just..."-- I wanted something that was more lasting and more beautiful. And so I started taking all of her-- I started with history. And so I took all of her history Notebooking pages and I put them chronologically. So--the way that we had Notebooked--each year we would have a small binder that she would put her Notebooking pages into that binder. And then at the end of the year, I would take all those pages that are in sheet protectors and stick them into the master history notebook binder. It was large, like a 3-4" binder. So each year we're only working with 1" binders or 1/2" binders, and then, when all those Notebooking pages are done at the end of the year, I just put them in the master binder. So that's how we were doing it. And I took all of her history from that master binder and I decided to put it in a beautiful scrapbook, and each page would be on the scrapbook. And so I would see a page and I would say, "Okay, that's a sphinx that's going to go in ancient Egypt." And I would see, "Oh, these two twins with the wolf, that's Romulus and Remus. That goes in Rome. Okay, this is the Salem Witch Trials. That's going to go into early American history." And so I was putting all these pages chronologically in different sections in to the scrapbook. So I came across a sheet that I had no clue what it was--and my daughter's twenty-nine now--and I took a picture of the sheet--and this is something she probably drew when she was eight or seven, maybe nine--and I texted her the picture and I said, "Do you remember what this was a picture about?" And she said, "Oh, yeah, that's a picture of an amphitheater from ancient Greece, where they would put on their plays. And so that's a play in action and that's an amphitheater." And I said, "Oh, okay, great." And then I thought, "This has been over twenty years! And she remembers exactly what that picture represents. She remembers exactly why she drew it and how it related to what she had learned twenty years ago." Notebooking: it is the most effective methodology that you can use in any area of your child's education--is the most effective methodology for educating our children with excellence and educating them for life.

If you think about it, anything they don't remember that they have learned has truly been a waste of time. We know that when we're learning that there is a chemical change in the brain--that chemicals are flowing through the neurons as information is received. But in order to grow new neural pathways that are required for your child to retain that knowledge, they must do something physical. They must reproduce that work. And there is no better way to do that than through having your children create notebooks. If they don't remember what they've learned. We've wasted everyone's time. What's the point in learning just for this year to know this, but then next year we don't remember it? Or ever again. How many of us graduated from high school--some of us made straight A's--but couldn't remember hardly anything of what we learned? That is a typical situation. So many of us don't remember history. When I started homeschooling, I was flabbergasted-- I was a history minor at the University of Texas, and when I started teaching my children history, I realized how little I knew or remembered, even from college. I was astounded by all that I was learning-- One of the greatest things about homeschooling is how much we as parents get to learn. It's like we're giving ourselves the education that we missed out on because the methodologies they used did not help us to engage with the material in such a way as to develop neural pathways of retention...of memory. We didn't remember because of the methodologies they used. And what methodologies were those? Worksheets and quizzes and tests. Very rarely did we do anything besides those activities; and it's very clear that it doesn't work, that it's not effective in helping students to retain the knowledge that-- For it to become their own knowledge. But Notebooking does that. Learning without this form of narration--visual and written--does not assimilate the learning as well as anything else could.

You see, worksheets and quizzes do not require a child to deeply contemplate the material. They only require the child to be working within their short-term memory. They don't utilize the amygdala or any other part of the brain necessary for assimilating knowledge. A child consumes a worksheet. A child produces a notebook. A Notebook is a living book that the child creates of their own knowledge. They are illustrating and writing their own living book! Through Notebooking, a child is employing their memory, their comprehension, critical thinking, imagination, and creativity to create their own book. And what happens when they create a Notebooking page, is, this knowledge, it transmits the ownership of this knowledge to the child from the book or material they were learning from to the child. If they create a Notebooking page, it becomes their own knowledge. It grows their confidence because, when they remember the material, when they know it, they can have a discussion with anybody--a confident discussion with anybody--about the knowledge they have learned at any time. And this is necessary for truly growing our children's love for learning because children love things--everybody loves things--they're good at. And if a child retains the knowledge they have gained, they begin to love learning because they're good at it. And being good at it is not filling out a worksheet. It is creating a living book, creating a notebook page.

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And one of the funniest things about this whole process is that their notebooks that they create, they treasure. Nobody treasures a worksheet or a workbook that they've completed. Nobody wants to look over each page and lovingly remember why or what they were created. But every time my children look over their notebooks, I see something happen in their heart and in their eyes. It's a memory. You're creating a treasure trove of memories of the knowledge that they learned. I remember one time when my daughter was about twelve or thirteen, and I was going to give my first Notebooking talk at a conference and so I was writing out the Notebooking ideas for it, and so I was taking pictures of my children's notebooks. And my daughter had a friend over who was also homeschooled. They were walking past my office and I was in my office creating this talk, and they saw the notebooks on the ground. And my daughter had done-- A few years before, we had studied Georgia history and what-- You know, all the cool things about Georgia and who started Georgia and Oglethorpe and all the interesting birds we have in Georgia and all the everything was Georgia, Georgia, Georgia. And she walked by and she saw a page opened and it was a poem that she had copied. It was a poem about the dogwood tree--about the dogwood flower. I can't remember exactly what the poem was, but she had taken an actual dogwood flower and put it in the notebook page. And so she-- And she also had a page of all the different birds, the backyard birds of Georgia.-- She walked by with her friend. She said, "Oh, that's my Georgia notebook!" And so she and her friend laid down on the floor of my office and slowly looked over every single page. I mean, some of the things had been postcards of places we visited. Some of it were pictures she drew. Some of it were things that she printed up from the Internet and cut out the stuck in there. It was just a lot a lot of different things we had learned about Georgia. And they reviewed every single page. Can you imagine children doing that with a Georgia history workbook that they might fill out? No. It was her own living book. And it was interesting even to her friend who was twelve or thirteen as well. This is a precious thing, Notebooking. It's a precious record of their learning. And it is truly project-based learning. And there have been study after study, even recent studies, showing that children who participate in their learning through project-based learning score better on standardized tests. And in fact, they found that classes that used project-based learning, rather than your typical worksheets, in AP courses actually scored significantly higher on their AP exams just through project-based learning.

And so what Notebooking does is it gives your children the ability to express their thoughts and knowledge in pictures and words. And this eventually builds upon itself. And as your child continues to grow in their ability to express themselves and tell what they know on the page, the Notebooking becomes less visual and more written. And it's a progression. It starts out with just pictures, and then it begins to move to sentences. And then it begins to move to paragraphs. And then by the time my daughter was in high school, she was doing her science Notebooking-- We did not use the worksheets and quizzes in the science curricula. We've always used Notebooking because I found it to be so much more effective. In fact, the first year of moving into the higher level sciences, I had become convinced by some people that you had to do tests. You had to teach your children how to be tested in high school in order for them to do well in college. And I believed that. (I can tell you now that that is absolutely not true.) Nevertheless, I decided it was time for us to start doing the quizzes and tests. Well, guess what? She made straight A's on all her quizzes and tests. And at the end of the year, I opened up the science book after she had never missed a one and started asking her questions from the science book. And she insisted she never learned those things. And then I would pull out the test and show her that she made an A on that very question. She didn't remember because it all had stored in her short-term memory. So we used Notebooking through high school because she remembered. I could open up any science book that she had Notebooked through and she remembered the material. She could explain RNA and DNA replication in her own words because she had been Notebooking through high school. And this child did not get grades and tests. She made great scores on her SAT and she graduated-- Her first class that she ever sat in with more than eight people was at the University of Georgia in her freshman class. She graduated magna cum laude. She had never done school in the typical way that people say you need to do in the homeschool, and you don't need to do it that way. Notebooking is truly written narration that grows your child's ability to express themselves. The thoughts think and the pen writes. It works! It's essential!

Charlotte Mason describes a Notebooking activity in one of her books, I think it was in Volume I. She says, "Children who have been reading Julius Caesar, and also Plutarch's Life, we're asked to make a picture of their favorite scene, and the results showed the extraordinary power of visualizing which the little people possess. Of course, that which they visualize or imagine clearly, they know. It is a life possession." "That which they visualize or imagine clearly, they know. It is a life possession." Even Albert Einstein, who was a college professor-- He's got millions of brilliant quotes on education. But one of them that I love, it says: "It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." And somehow Albert Einstein understood the idea before it was known to anybody that the amygdala is involved in this creativity, and memory linking together, and to create new neural pathways. And this progression in Notebooking from visual to sentences, to paragraphs, to pages, is a natural progression. It is a natural progression. And we begin with the child drawing a picture and copying the title that you've written. They begin slowly to write in their notebooks as their command of the pen increases. But in the meantime, you can also have them dictate. And again, my daughter didn't write anything from the Midas story or what came from China or what came from Greece. She didn't write anything. She just drew. But she remembered the entire thing. So some of us think, "Oh, well, I have to have them write everything. I have to have them write it all out. They're not going to remember." It's really not necessary. It's the act of drawing and their attention being focused on that subject while they are creating something. There is physical change happening in the brain and they don't have to-- We don't have to go through the drudgery of having them write out their dictations or dictate every single thing they learned in that scene-- You can have them dictate. My son had a lot to say and he wanted it in his notebooks. So one of my sons, I would type out his entire dictation of everything because he just had-- He did not want his notebook to not have every single thing he remembered from the story. So he would start at the beginning and I would just be typing, typing, typing, and then I would print up his dictation and we would put it in his notebook next to his drawing. And so we did that. But that wasn't necessary for him to remember the material and have a storehouse of knowledge that it was his life possession, his own possession of knowledge. Notebooking should be a joy and not a drudgery, and it can be used with any curriculum. Ditch the worksheets or whatever activity they have you do, and use Notebooking instead.

And once you begin using this methodology in your homeschool, you'll be able to create your own course of study using living books and Notebooking--creative assignments with Notebooking, project-based learning with Notebooking--and you can use books and materials and videos and you can create your own-- Your children-- Especially in high school. It's so important for your children to create their own courses of study in high school, and Notebooking gives you the ability and the freedom to do that. In Notebooking University, I'll explain how to create your own curriculum using living books and copy work in Notebooking. It's life-changing. It is a game changer. It empowers you with the tools to do homeschooling well, to do it right, to feel good about what you're doing and how your children are learning. And I have to say that one of the most amazing benefits of Notebooking, which I did not foresee, was the treasury of learning--the living books that my children created throughout their education. They are like a scrapbook of our homeschooling. They are memories of the years that we spent together. These years are special and they are fleeting. And your children will one day be adults off in their-- Doing their own thing-- And you will have this treasure trove of your years spent together and the things you learned together as a family--how you learned and grew together--and all the precious memories are right there in these living books your children created. And your children enjoy looking at them even as adults. My only regret is that I didn't have their notebooks in beautiful, hardbound books. I used the page protectors inside binders, which are kind of unsightly 20 years later. And so that is why I have created Notebooking journals, which I will be releasing in the next few weeks. And they are gorgeous. And they are heirloom quality, like everything that I produce at Jeannie Fulbright Press. And they will make Notebooking even more of a treasure for your family. Not only a treasure that you have for the rest of your life, but also a treasure to draw in and to put their work in. I think they'll love them.

So what do you do with a notebook? What do you do with this Notebooking journal? Well, what you do is, after a child has studied something for, say, a week, say a week of science or a week of history, you have the child create a page in their Notebooking journal. They can do it after they watch an educational video, or listen to an audiobook, or go on a field trip, or finish a chapter book. Create a page that causes the child to sit and think and contemplate the material they have learned this week or the book they have completed. And they create a page which, while they're doing it, their attention--the whole mind--comes to bear. Their attention is focused on the activity, and they are remembering far more than whatever it is they are drawing or writing about. Their memory is being engaged, their amygdala is being engaged, and their new neural pathways are growing. Using their creativity and their powers of their mind, they will remember far more than what they put on that page, so we don't have to ask them to create too much. So I feel like homeschoolers, we tend to overdo things. We want to have a notebook page every day and it's too much and it's not required. Using creativity is a powerful tool that so many of the greatest minds understood.

In my science books, I have them create-- I have them use creative activities at the end of each lesson that are unique. So for example--after they learn about the Earth--they learn about all the really unusual features about the Earth, which makes it a habitable planet: the speed of the rotation, the distance from the sun, the-- Oh, there's so many different things that are really important to make the earth a planet that we can live on. And so I asked them at the end of that lesson-- That takes some two weeks to read that entire lesson on the earth. At the end of those two weeks, I have them create an ad to sell the Earth. What they need to do is they need to remember all of these special, unique, distinct features about the Earth in the act of creating that advertisement. And they can draw pictures, they can write, you know, "Best rotation in solar system!" or whatever it is. And this is helping them to remember what they've learned. And so this is a Notebooking pages-- And in my science books, I have people create Notebooking pages and Notebooking assignments after every two-week lesson. So again, it doesn't have to be every week. It doesn't have to be-- Definitely not after everything they read! But after a period of study, use a creative assignment. So at the end of--when my kids are learning about primates in my Zoology III--I have them create a brochure for the different primates they're going to see at a zoo that they have, that they've created. And so I have a place where they can cut out their brochure and they can write about all the different primates and what special features they're going to see. And so by doing that, they're thinking about primates. They're remembering what they learned. And that's what we want to do, is we want to use creative assignments. And again in Notebooking University, I will have a plethora of creative assignments and examples that everybody will get when they are on that module of my Notebooking University. But even people who use [00:41:59]lap books [0.4s] and mini books-- And I will give some [00:42:01]lap books [0.0s] and mini books away at Notebooking University-- But in my science books through Apologia, there's [00:42:07]lap books [0.0s] that they can create where they cut out things, and things can rotate, or create a little matchbook. And it's kind of a cut-and-paste activity. Some kids love that. And then we have them put that in their notebooks. So whenever your children create something, if they do a project, take a picture of it and put it in the notebook. If they do an experiment or some long-term project, they can write about it and draw pictures for the notebook. And all it does is solidify the memory and solidify the knowledge and solidify the information. Another thing they can be doing, especially with history, but also with learning about anything that happened in history--musicians or artist study--is create a book of centuries timeline. Now this is different from the My Book of Centuries that a lot of people get that are spiral bound pages. My daughter and I created a visual timeline-- And this is another thing I will have on my website soon. We just have to take some pictures of it and get it up there. But it's a book that you can turn the pages, but then you can also fold it out and see all of history in a line. And it's a visual reminder. And when they're putting things in the timeline, whether they're writing it or drawing a picture of George Washington, or drawing a picture of Romulus and Remus, or pasting a picture of Romulus and Remus in there, they're remembering. It is as if they are Notebooking in their timeline. And so this is what I highly recommend over and above these spiral-bound, page timelines that people buy. This one-- You will see it on my website soon. So just keep checking back. I hope to have it up in the next couple of weeks. I'd love for people to be able to get it before Christmas or as a Christmas gift.

So that is really what Notebooking is all about. And I really want you to learn more about it. So if you are interested in joining Notebooking University, I'll be releasing it after the New Year. I think that it would just truly open your eyes to the storehouse of beauty that you can bring to your home school--the joy and the fun--and really make your children love learning through the act of creating their own living books through Notebooking. So that is my final podcast for this season, and I'm going to miss you all. Please continue to send me emails and ask me questions. I love to interact with you online and through messenger and also through email. You know my email's [email protected] and I'd love to hear from you. And I just want to bless you all, and may God give you such abundant joy in your family through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the new year. And I will talk to you then.

Hey, a couple more things... Do you wish you had a Charlotte Mason mentor? Someone to keep you focused on the things that matter: the Lord and His word, and prayer, and habit training and living books, nature study, and, of course, the most neglected thing of all self-care? Well, I have the perfect mentor for you, the Charlotte Mason Heirloom Planner. It is much more than a planner. It's a guide and a mentor and a place to chronicle your treasured moments and memories--all the things you want to remember and keep sacred and special from this homeschool journey. Check it out on my website at JeannieFulbright.com, and learn about that and so many of the other Charlotte Mason curriculum and tools that I've created to make your homeschool journey the richest and most fulfilling experience of your life. Thanks again for listening to the Charlotte Mason show.

If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast and while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @HomeschoolingDotMom. That's @HomeschoolingDotMom. And let us know what you thought of today's episode. And don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share because you deserve healthcare you can trust. To learn more about Medi-Share and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch. Go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/MediShare.

Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? I would love for you to come. On my website, I have a special coupon code that you can use when you register. The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling events of the year. With amazing speakers, hundreds of workshops to help you homeschool well, and the largest curriculum exhibit halls in the United States, people travel from all over the United States to Missouri, South Carolina, Ohio, California, and Texas to find encouragement, friendship, and curriculum. Be sure to go to my website JeannieFulbright.com for your coupon code. And when you're at the convention, please come by my booth and say hello because I love meeting homeschoolers in real life. It's always fun to have new homeschool friends. So thank you so much for listening and I do hope to see you at the convention. Have a blessed rest of the week.

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