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Notebooking for High Schoolers


Using Notebook Pages in High School - Some Ideas to Inspire

Homeschooling for High Schoolers? Need a fresh idea? Notebooking! This flexible method of documenting learning is a great tool for high schoolers. This lens will help you glean some ideas from our experiences using premade and custom made notebook pages in high school subjects. These are more than fill in the blanks exercises and each page will give your child a great way to document their learning in a way that is meaningful to them.

We use notebook pages as a follow-up to our Charlotte Mason Style homeschooling and they are perfect for using with Tapestry of Grace homeschool plans. It gives us another tool to use to encourage writing and an attractive way to record our narrations that have become a part of our everyday homeschooling life.

There are plenty of pre-made notebooking pages that are appropriate for high school age students. The good news is that once you invest in the pages you have started to build a library of topics and styles to choose from year to year. I am pretty sure that I purchased our history set three years ago and we are still using it even in our high school years. Watch for great deals from and because they offer special deals a few times a year.

If you are new to notebooking, there are a couple of links listed for you to find out how to get started as well. One page at a time your children will find they get better and better at notebooking.

Notebooking is a flexible tool that you can use with high school age students. Personalized learning with their own words, sketches, and ideas can all be organized in a way that makes sense to them.


How Do I Remember to Actually Do the Notebooking Pages?

Get Organized!

One tip I have for making sure you remember to use your notebooking pages is to print out the table of contents once you receive your download. I have been known to download a set of pages and then forget that they are on my computer. Printing out the table of contents gives me a visual reminder of what I have available.

I slip them into a clear sheet protector and put them into my subject planner binder. On Monday mornings when we have our Tapestry of Grace planning meeting and we are planning our science for the week, I check for notebook pages that might apply to our week's study. I then print out the pages and my boys insert them into their weekly work. Many times we will forget to check the lists and will miss a great notebooking page opportunity.


Decide on Notebook Topics

At the beginning of each school year I sit down to decide which subjects we will need notebook pages for as we work through our courses. This is a step you will use even if you don't use Tapestry of Grace. Some subjects we keep notebook pages for include the following: History, Biographies, Literature/Authors/Literary Terms, Geography, Artists/Composers, Presidents, Timeline, Bible/Religions, Government. Since we do not have quizzes at all and very few tests in our high school courses, I use the notebook pages as a personalized record of each boys' work each term

I wrote about high school notebooking and how my son picks many of his own topics on my blog: Notebooking on the Fly.


High School History Notebooking

One subject that I use notebooking pages for on a regular basis is history. History seems to lend itself to a good notebook page with a map, a scene from history, or a portrait of a historical figure. These are the pages where I let the boys record their summary of a daily reading, a short biography of an important person, the results of a research point that came up during their daily reading, or anything else they feel is worthy of remembering from their study of history. We do not use quizzes in our homeschool, but I can tell by reading their notebook pages whether they are gaining a real understanding of the material we cover. I highly recommend the Ancient Times Notebooking Pages from Click the link below to see samples and a table of contents.

We also have started using the Book of Centuries pages for our history timeline and narration notebooking. Don't miss this excellent set of pages from

I also use the History Scholar sets of notebooking pages every week with my boys for history, literature, world religions, and their blank pages at the end of every set. Click the notebook page below or there is a link further down the page as well.

We also have the Geo-Scribe pages on hand to pull up for current events or to go along with our history plans.

Timeline and History Pages From

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End of the Year Organization

What do you do with all those notebook pages?

You can read how I organize our binders at the end of the year on my Harmony Art Mom blog.

Modern History Notebook Pages-History Scholar and Geo Scribe

Modern History Notebook Pages-History Scholar and Geo Scribe

Modern History Notebook Pages-History Scholar and Geo Scribe

World Religions Set-History Scholar


Narration and Notebook Pages

In high school you can use notebook pages to record a variety of types of narration. Words, quotes, sketches, poetry, and so much more give you an insight into what your child is learning...much more so than a quiz or test. Click over to read my blog entry Narration in High School Using Variety

Ancient History Notebook Pages

Ancient History Notebook Pages

Ancient History Notebook Pages


High School Literature with Notebooking Pages

Notebook pages give us a great place to put down all of our thoughts, quotes, and summaries as we work through our weekly literature assignments. We don't worksheets or preplanned questions with our literature using the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling so notebook pages are a great way to organize points we want to share at the end of the week.

My boys also use the notebook pages to record special quotes and for writing short biographies of the authors we study. These become personal records of what they thought were important points or things that they thought were interesting about their reading. Occasionally I will give them a literary term to focus on during their reading and they use notebook pages to record the examples from their reading.

We use these for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and our Shakespeare reading assignments.

Government Notebook Pages-History Scholar

Government Notebook Pages-History Scholar

Government Notebook Pages-History Scholar

Quotes Recorded On Notebook Pages

Quotes Recorded On Notebook Pages

Quotes Recorded On Notebook Pages

Notebook Pages Can Lead to Formal Essays


Going From Notebook Pages to an Essay

Simple Steps for High Schoolers

Using notebook pages as a way to gather information for more formal essays makes writing much easier. As the student reads their text or source material, they sit with pencil and notebook page to note the main ideas and thoughts from the material. Quotes can be written on the notebook page as well, noting the page and source. Notes are written in the student's own words and will become the basic outline for a more formal essay. If you are familiar with using the IEW system of writing, your student can use the notebook page to write their key work outline.

Notebook pages are a tool to gather material from more than one source or topic. Simply make a separate notebook page for each source. For example, if your student is going to write a formal five paragraph essay on Greek Thinkers, keep one notebook page for each person they will feature. Each notebook page will then become the basis for one paragraph in the essay.

Read more about the step by step method that we use in our homeschool: How to Use Notebook Pages to Write More Formal Essays using the Institute for Excellence in Writing System.


High School Science with Notebook Pages

Science is a great place for adding in some notebook work for high schoolers. We use notebook pages for lab write-ups with sketches and notes and for our extra reading in biographies and related topics. This year we are using notebook pages to record our work with the periodic table, creating notebook pages about the elements.

We also have used notebook pages in our biology work for notes, summaries, labs, and nature journal records.

When you are finished, you have a complete record of your work with personal flavor. This is much more meaningful than a stack of worksheets and questions and answers.

Science Labs Go On Notebook Pages With Notes

Science Labs Go On Notebook Pages With Notes

Science Labs Go On Notebook Pages With Notes


High School Art Appreciation with Notebook Pages

Art appreciation is such a personal process and keeping notebook pages for individual artists as well as their artwork is a wonderful record of your study. In our home, art appreciation is a seamless study from year to year following a chronological study of art history. Notebook pages are added to the binders every year and now that my one son is a twelfth grader, his binder is full of memories and inspirations that he has collected throughout his high school years.


High School Music Appreciation

Completing a notebook page is an easy way to follow up composer study. We use the pages to record a short biography, a list of pieces we listened to over the course of our study, and then also to have a place to narrate the emotions that the composer's music brings up inside us. It is a living record of our study and not just dry facts.


Notebooking Pages for Visual-Spatial Learners

Some Kids Just Need to Doodle

One more thought about notebooking pages in general. My boys are big time doodlers. They doodle as they work on their math, they doodle in their science notebook, and they doodle just for fun. Notebooking pages give them a place to doodle, color in images or titles, and to make their own sketches as a way of narration. I like to encourage their creative outlets as much as I can since it seems to make them more balanced and happy students.

I keep a few sets of colored pencils and a set of thin Crayola markers within reach of our workspace. We organize our notebooking pages into binders. We have used subject binders for many, many years and it works well with our style of homeschooling. Binders with tabs provide a great way to store all those pages until you are ready to bind them up at the end of the year.

Sources for Free Notebook Pages - Free Resources

© 2010 Barb McCoy

Leave a Question or a Comment!

Heidi on March 20, 2017:

I am totally new to understand how to "Notebook"--but like the idea. How do I know what to do it with, or how to? Do you have any links to starting Notebooking for newbies? My kids next year will be in 7th and 10th--I don't even know how to start them.

anonymous on June 14, 2013:

Increbible resource...thank you for sharing this!!

happymonkeyz on February 17, 2013:

cool ideas. thanks for sharing.

Delia on February 14, 2013:

Great instructions and examples for notebooking! Impressive lens...

~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

Barb McCoy (author) on February 09, 2013:

@anonymous: I recently changed my blog from Blogger to Word Press so a lot of the links are not redirecting...working on a fix for that now. My new blog address is you can look up any of the links at the bottom of the page in the search box. Let me know if you have any other questions.

anonymous on February 09, 2013:

This lens is so incredibly helpful to me. For some reason though, I am unable to link to any of your blog posts. Has your blog moved? I am so intrigued by everything you do I just have to glean as much as possible.

To be honest, I am at a point of despair with my 8th and 9th graders and making their work come alive. They are truly stuck in a rut and I want so badly to pull them out and I believe this format is the ticket. I feel sad I didn't discover this sooner. Please email me at with a link to your blog. I really need all the guidance I can get! Btw, I found this lens via google. :)

Barb McCoy (author) on February 07, 2013:

@anonymous: My best advice is to just start with some free notebook pages from Start with one subject like history or literature and dive in. Your son will soon find his style and you will see how beneficial this type of learning is even for high school students.

anonymous on January 30, 2013:

Really want to start notebooking with my 16 year old. Is he too old and if not where do I begin? Feeling very overwhelmed.

Barb McCoy (author) on January 14, 2013:

@knitstricken: Wow, what a great comment! Thanks so much for letting me know how my lens has helped you...makes the effort with it. :)

knitstricken on January 14, 2013:

I *am* inspired! I have a teenage boy with whom were in the throes of an unschooling "slump". I think it's time to give Notebooking a try, front and center... and this lens is making me feel all inspired, empowered, and equipped! Thank you!

DianaHarper LM on April 04, 2012:

If I didn't read anything else, the first tip you gave (print the table of contents) was worth the read. Favorited, liked, pinned, blessed by a Squid Angel.

anonymous on February 17, 2012:

@Barb McCoy: Actually, I did a few weeks ago. :-D LOL! Great minds!

Barb McCoy (author) on February 15, 2012:

@anonymous: I agree with the line spacing on many of the sheets. The way I have addressed the issue is to provide the original sheet and then optional second pages that they can continue with if needed. The fancy first page and then a more generic smaller ruled second page or even a third page will give the opportunity to bump the pages up to high school level.

In our home, the notebook pages are not the only way we narrate or follow-up. I like the flexibility to use a notebook page but sometimes my sons will jump over to the computer and type a response. Both my boys don't like to handwrite things out so the wider rule is less intimidating when I do ask them to use a notebook page.

They will sometimes flip the page over and continue writing on the back without lines.

Great should email Debra and suggest some optional "upper level" pages with college rule. She is very approachable.

anonymous on February 15, 2012:

A little gripe I have with using both the Scholar pages and/or Debra's Notebookingpages at the High School level is the size of the lines given. Both offer wide ruled line - not college ruled or something a bit thinner akin to college ruled. I just don't feel like the wide-ruled lines gives my high schoolers enough space to write the quantity I prefer. I could cut college ruled lines and glue them over (kind of untidy and inconvenient) or we begin writing on the notebooking page and continue on subsequent pages, but that defeats the purpose of having everything tidy and in one place. I'd love love love see notebooking pages *for* High School which aren't just redesigned elementary pages, but really do take into consideration the specific style of writing and quantity of writing that big kids need to do. :-)

HOPEHomeSchoolConsulting on February 06, 2012:

Wow! Thanks for the information. Now, if I can convince my son to try notebooking... :)

squid-pinkchic18 on January 30, 2012:

Great tips here! You have to be very smart and organized to homeschool, props to you!

jimmyworldstar on December 13, 2011:

This is great supplement for a student who goes to school outside of the home too. They can take what they've learned in their lesson plans at home and school and apply it to one or the other. I like the idea of notebooking, you can direct the curriculum yourself and give them more participation in it.

RobininColorado on July 04, 2011:

Ooh! I think a lot of homeschoolers with older kids will really enjoy this lens! I can't wait to share it on the Stone Soup Facebook page! Thanks for writing this.

sandsmertz on April 03, 2011:

Thank you so much for this lens! I will definitely use the suggestion of printing out the Table of Contents and keeping it accessible. That will save me so much time, and it will (hopefully) prevent me from printing out pages before I need them and losing them in the process. :-( Thank you for the suggestions.

JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on April 02, 2011:

We do a combination of lapbooking and notebooking, but have been pulling more toward notebooking for the teens. Thanks for the resources - some are new to me, so we will go check them out! =D

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on April 01, 2011:

What a helpful lens with ideas of ways that a homeschooling teen can keep track of their own learning. This lens is now featured on The Homeschool Club on Facebook.

Blessed by a SquidAngel.

everythingsbaby on February 12, 2011:

fascinating lens! very well organized..

ElizabethJeanAl on February 05, 2011:

I use the interactive notebook in both my physics and physical science classes. They work very well.

Barb McCoy (author) on January 15, 2011:

@anonymous: We use clipart that is available online for educators and images from Wikipedia that are in the public domain. I will write a post on my blog sharing that info soon. :)

anonymous on January 15, 2011:

Hi Barb,

Thanks for telling me about this lens! I learned a lot, and am considering notebooking for some things.

I do have a question, though. Where do you get the illustrations that are pasted into the notebook pages? Do you keep a stash of old magazines etc? I just can't get my head around that part of it.

Annie Kate

JanieceTobey on January 15, 2011:

This is a fabulous resource for homeschool families! I'm listing it as a resource on my Homeschool: A Typical Day lens.

Nadene3 on January 13, 2011:

Thanks for this excellent lens. Your photos of your boys' notebooking pages are inspirational! I'm sure they are also so proud of their portfolios.

LilliputStation on January 13, 2011:

Great page! We also use notebooking in highschool, although I only have one at that level so far. :-) I've added this to the Notebooks and Lapbooks Headquarters page.

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on December 24, 2010:

This is a great overview, Barb. And I really appreciate all the photos.

SofiaMann on December 23, 2010:

What a great idea. Nice lens.

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