It’s good to encourage young children to take notes even if they are homeschooled. Note taking via notebooks or journaling is good tool that has been proven to be essential in learning. It is so easy to take this simple task for granted when we homeschool our children. How can we be prone to rush or skip note taking?
- Note taking takes more time. If we do dictation, we may have to spell certain words and repeat sentences.
- Younger kids will need guidance in proper note taking.
- Those who don’t have tests or quizzes at home may scrap note taking if they think that the only benefit of note taking is for better test scores.” Why take notes, if we don’t let the kids take tests? “
Proper note taking is a valuable life skill. Our children will surely find themselves in countless situations in the future where it would be truly beneficial if they knew how to take notes.
Taking down notes is not simply an act of the “hearing and writing”. It is considered an intricate, step by step, complex process of decoding and encoding information. It is described as a “the ability to take in information and make it one’s own by processing it, restructuring it, and then presenting it in a form so that it can be understood by others (or by oneself at a later point).”*
For instance, you say , “The Philippines is an archipelago.” A child taking notes can copy this word for word from the whiteboard/blackboard. Another student may abbreviate and use the word “Phils.” Another may put, “our country”. Different students may have different ways of “owning” the same information. Owning it is a KEY to better learning and easier retrieval. An older student may draw a simplified version of the Philippine map and write the word “archipelago” under it.
Children develop in stages. So do their note-taking skills. We cannot expect a preschooler to take notes by “dictation” when he can barely spell commonly used words . We cannot spoon feed older students by making them copy word for word from long written texts from a white board. In fact, some experts have argued that effective note taking is a good way to prevent students from plagiarizing. They say, many students plagiarize because they do not know how to write, how to summarize, how to argue a point and how to connect ideas in a sensible way.
If you still need to be convinced regarding the value of note taking in the classroom, you may read these articles:
The web is full of guidelines on proper note taking. Check these links out.
This is a very cool note taking tutorial. You can watch this with your primary or middle school students. It’s only five minutes .
What’s cool about homescooling is how you can somehow stretch “note-taking” to limitless possibilities. Well written notes can be spring boards for projects. Notes can be “converted” to projects!
Here are some examples of our children’s notes:)
1. Allow them to draw and illustrate their notes.
2. Using Comics:
On building a strong foundation:
3. Using charts:
4. Using journals
Some curricula provide notebooking journals like Apologia which the children can use. Apologia provides mini books to fill up, cut outs and other creative ways to take down notes.
5. Using Art Materials- Don’t you love taking notes with colored pens?
6. Recreating your notes into projects:
7. Posters based on your Notes
8. Creative “Notes”
For children from 3 – 7 years old, I highly suggest using the Kidstarter Everyday Journal for creative note-taking for Kinder to Level 2. Give them all the space to draw, create diagrams, paste photos, put post its. You may have several of these for different purposes: free drawing and creativity time, for reflection and prayer time, for note-taking, for letter writing and pretty much to have one notebook for all the ideas shared in this post.
Here is an example of 4 year old Nadi’s notes in her Botany experiment using the Kidstarter Everyday Journal. For my ideas on how to use this notebook for your preschooler to level 2 children, check out this guide.
9. Using Venn Diagrams:
10. Brain/ Mind Mapping
So there, I hope our examples got your “homescool” excited to start taking notes! Remember, the more the students “own” their notes, and the more fun they have in making the notes, and add to that, the more links the form with past lessons and other lessons from other subjects, the BETTER the learning experience!
Happy Note Taking!
Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
**qoute came from: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/students-taking-notes/