*this post will be updated periodically as I add more video reviews on specific notebooks*
Other than living books, the number one resource in a Charlotte Mason homeschool is notebooks. Notebooks to catalogue what you’ve read, to remember inspiring quotes, to write your dictations and copywork, to make lists of animals and plants you see, to identify dates of things seen, and the list goes on. A good notebook is worth it’s weight in gold.
Why does the Charlotte Mason method depend so heavily on the use of a such a simple resource? Because of the vast ways it can be used, the opportunities it provides for knowledge acquisition, and thereafter application of critical thoughts and ideas which shape a person. These quotes from Miss Mason herself best describe why notebooking for every subject is a “capital idea”.
“It is very helpful to read with a commonplace book or reading-diary, in which to put down any striking thought in your author, or your own impression of the work, or of any part of it; but not summaries of facts. Such a diary, carefully kept through life, should be exceedingly interesting as containing the intellectual history of the writer; besides, we never forget the book that we have made extracts from, and of which we have taken the trouble to write a short review.” (Volume 5, pg. 260)
“Calendars.––It is a capital plan for the children to keep a calendar––the first oak-leaf, the first tadpole, the first cowslip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen, and when. The next year they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year, be in a condition to add new observations. Think of the zest and interest, the object, which such a practice will give to daily walks and little excursions. There is hardly a day when some friend may not be expected to hold a first ‘At Home.’” (Volume 1, pg. 54)
“Let all he finds out about it be entered in his diary—by his mother, if writing be a labour to him,—where he finds it, what it is doing, or seems to him to be doing; it’s colour, shape, legs: someday he will come across the name of the creature and will recognize the description of an old friend.” (Volume 1 pg. 8)
Below you will find my favorite resources and reviews of notebooks. If you’re wanting to learn more about notebooks or the Charlotte Mason homeschool, The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater is THE BEST book to have on-hand to understand the use and timing of each notebook used in a CM education.
My kiddos love these because they come in so many (twelve to be exact) different colors which they happily choose from. They are 8.5 x 11 inch, perfect bound with 100 pages each making them perfect for any age. My husband has a Project Planner for his carpentry projects. The various formats are well thought out for each kind (dot grid, primary lines, picture space, etc.) Check out her website for pictures of the insides of each one offered and shop below!
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My FAVORITE online resource for all things Charlotte Mason. Seriously, these ladies are amazing at delivering and organizing Charlotte Mason ideas and method. Their podcast episode on notebooks is extremely helpful! (Their podcast in general should be a must-listen for any CM Mama)
The best and most beautiful notebooks out there! I recommend waiting until your child is well into Form II or older to gift these to them. They will be lifetime keepsakes, so I want to make sure my student(s) can properly care for their notebooks before using. They would make a great Form “graduation” present and something to look forward to as they work hard and progress through the Charlotte Mason education.