View Full Version : Jane, a question for you . . .

Stacy in OR
05-30-2007, 06:54 PM
Jane, I love everyone's ideas about lapbooking and notebooking, however it just doesn't seem practical for me right now with baby #7 due soon and four children doing FIAR. I can't find the time to search out all of the great things to add to a notebook and all of the cutting and pasting would require too much of me with four children.

I have started 3-ring notebooks for each of my children as you have described in your FIAR manuals. I have them seperated into the five subject areas. This is a wonderful way to put whatever work we have done right into the binders. My question(s) for you is -

at what point do I start a new binder? (would it be best to row a certain number of books and then start a new binder?)

is there a better way to organize at some point? (would the children get more out of it by combining all of the lessons from one book into a section or is divided by subject best?)

what about history? (Is there some way to make a history time-line while using the FIAR method - even though we aren't rowing in chronological order?)

I guess I'm just looking for a little more input on how to organize, save, and review the information that they have while keeping true to the gentle and unforced tone of FIAR (and keeping my sanity!). Part of why I love FIAR is that I don't have to re-invent the wheel. You have done a wonderful job of providing complete lessons for me.

Thanks so much for your time!

05-30-2007, 08:02 PM
I'm not Jane, ;) but I start a new binder with each school year. I actually take out the work from the previous year and staple it together and label it with the grade. (we don't have a ton that gets put down on paper so I'm able to staple it.)

As far as the notebooking goes, my plan is to treat my notebook the way I used a binder. Paste in the story they wrote using personification, the art created using watercolors . . . I'm not big into creating "extras." I'm just hoping that having their work in a book will inspire them to get creative on their own.

ETA: Within the binder I organized everything by book -- basically in chronological order. Anything new went in the back with the date written on in. For us, the notebook will be a natural extension of how we were organizing the binder.

Jane Claire
05-30-2007, 10:20 PM
Stacy...for years our rowers rowed happily, keeping notebooks of their student's work. A lapbook was something that hadn't been thought up yet.

Before I go on, let me say that if you or your student enjoys the idea of a lapbook, you can make it very simple by just including information from the lessons in the manuals. There does not have to be a lot of research, and extras included. If you have a lesson on butterflies, your student can just make notes from your lesson in the manual and draw a picture and put it in the colored file folder. If there is a language arts lesson on Simile then you and your student think up some examples, write them down and include them in your lapbook. Draw a picture for the cover and continue with the rest of the lessons. I often wonder at those who ask...what could I put in a lapbook...put the information from the manual lessons.

In this way, the lapbook is not different from the notebook except in the way the book is constructed (you don't have to do lots of difficult folds for a lapbook either). There is one difference in that there is usually just one lapbook for each Five in a Row unit that you do.

However, when you do a notebook you can decide if YOU want all the history and science, etc., lessons together, or if in the notebook (as in most lapbooks) you will have each unit (book selection and lesson activites) separate.

I personally like each book separated in the notebook because the students seem to like to review them that way remembering how each history, geography, literature, science lesson fit with each story, but it is entirely up to you and how you and your student find the compilation of materials helpful for enjoyment and review.

As is mentioned in the manual it is very important to create and keep up a time line for the events, famous people, etc., that you encounter in your Five in a Row studies. This on-going time line helps your student see at a glance where each piece he is studying fits in the overall history. As your student continues through Five in a Row he will see how exciting slice of history comes before or after the last one he studied. As his time line grows he will understand more and more the overall scope of events and see the chronological order emerge. This is a significant part of Five in a Row.

Each year, when your students have finished their studies, they should have the literature creative writing works, the science pages that they have made by jotting down facts and making illustrations or diagrams, the history pages with short sentences about what they've learned possibly illustrated, perhaps some vocabulary words, etc., and these can certainly be in three ring binders or lapbooks or any way that is creative and enjoyable for you and your student.

I don't know if you have access to a digital camera and the ablilty to make photocopy prints...but if so, even with limited time as you will have, you might enjoy taking some pictures of Five in a Row teaching times, to add to your student's notebook.

If all you have time for is snuggling up and reading and talking over lessons...you will reap a rich harvest and enjoy the year with your new little one. There are so many lessons to be learned just watching you and your new baby.

I hope this helps,
Jane Claire

Stacy in OR
05-31-2007, 08:00 PM
Robin, Will you do a different notebook for each book? Or just keep working in a notebook until it is filled?

Jane, Thanks for your response. We will be having a review week (or 2) in July. I think I will have the children make their binder pages into booklets for each book. This will help them to review the information and then the binders will be re-organized by FIAR title. My husband also suggested we put a time line up and use the story disks to place on the time line.

05-31-2007, 11:00 PM
Oh, I'll just keep working until it's filled. And the way my boys produce "written work" around here, we may be working with the same notebooks until HS! :roflol:

The spiral books are 32 pages -- I'm envisioning a 2 pg spread per book, but some books will only take one page. I'm picturing this as "their" notebook. I'll provide suggestions and ideas, but hopefully they'll have some ideas of their own. Also, since dh will be deployed this coming school year (he leaves in Sept), I think the incentive of showing Daddy their work when he gets home will help.

I'm not planning on doing any fancy folds, minute books, etc -- we'll start slowly and go from there!

Lori D
06-01-2007, 01:08 AM
I love notebooks because I can 'see' our accomplishments, but like Jane said-

"If all you have time for is snuggling up and reading and talking over lessons...you will reap a rich harvest and enjoy the year with your new little one. There are so many lessons to be learned just watching you and your new baby."

I don't have a little one on the way, but in we are in the midst of a very hectic season in our life, so we don't always document things- I prefer it, but if I wait until I have the little extra time to add things to our notebook, I would probably not do anything.

Right now we are 'rowing' Peter Rabbit and having a wonderful time. We talk about it, do the activities in the manual and enjoy reading the book. Each 'rower' has a 3 ring binder that is labeled and full of page protectors so that when we do do something it can be filed right away- but we don't have to do anything. We did Katy No Pocket a few weeks ago- I ordered the fold and learn, and we had a great time. I'd suggest not locking yourself in to having to do anything. If you notebook- great- if not, that's okay too.

Jane Claire
06-01-2007, 07:13 AM
Stacy, having the room to have a time line up is wonderful...if you use the story disks you will have decisions to make about whether you peg the date the book was actually written, or the dates that occur in the story, etc. You might consider making small symbols or figures to mark the famous people, dates of inventions, particular historic events in the story, or the "setting" time of the Five in a Row title selection. Just something to think about.

Stacy in OR
06-01-2007, 11:10 AM
Do any of you take photos? I have been taking digital photos of our crafts, field trips, and "presentation" nights (we occasionally have these after we row a book). Do you put your photos in your notebooks or have a seperate scrapbook just for pictures?

I guess the problem I'm having with the notebooking is that for so many of the books, we barely have anything to put in them. Sometimes what we do have is a scribble from my four year old or my oldest daughter makes a poster that won't fit into the notebook (I have taken pictures of these for the scrapbook). Even their artwork doesn't seem to fit as well in a notebook because I use a heavier paper for watercolors and such. It tends to curl a bit and won't lay flat. I don't want to manufacture lessons just to have a stellar notebook. The 3-ring binder I'm using is just a place to store their work by subject. It doesn't seem like something all that appealing for them to look at or remember what we have done.

Robin, It sounds like the notebooks you bought must be pretty large to use a 2-page spread for one book. Will you paste their work into it or have them work directly in the notebook? This notebook would be great for my 10 year old who will be starting Beyond FIAR in the fall. This is something she could do independent from me. I saw your link to the bare books. I think I'll have to look a bit more closely at these!

Sorry for all of the questions. I just want to keep trying to get better and better!!

06-01-2007, 12:49 PM
Stacy we sound similar -- I certainly don't want to create things just for the sake of having a full notebook.

We mostly sit and read and talk orally about the different lessons, but there are a few things that I would like to do better and I'm hoping having a notebook to display their work will help inspire them and me to dig a little deeper. Instead of just talking about the vanishing point, maybe we'll try drawing a picture ourselves.

I think it will be a combination of pasting the work into the notebook and working on the page itself. Maybe we'll take a few pictures and they can caption them or write a few vocabulary words directly in the notebook.

I'm not really sure how it will work for us, but I'm excited to try. BTW, I'm thinking of it mainly for my 8yo. I have a notebook for my 5 soon to be 6yo, but that's just so he doesn't feel left out. He may just end up contributing a small amount to the page in his brother's notebook.

Now if I had a baby on the way, I wouldn't be planning anything like this, so go easy on yourself. If it's something your older child is excited about, then let them create their own. But the year I had my 3rd, we didn't worry about school. :)

06-01-2007, 12:58 PM
I don't want to manufacture lessons just to have a stellar notebook.

I'm new to FIAR, and I'm planning for next year. (I hate to go into anything uninformed or unprepared, so this is important to me.) I'm having the same issue as you about not wanting to make a lot of busy work just to have a cool finished product. I think I've decided to use a large 3 ring binder, so that all 3 of my kids can do their pages at their ability and to their interests without being tied into a format or trying to make their creations fit a specific format. I'd love to find a 12" binder (at a reasonable cost!) so that I could use the 12X12 cardstock in there as well as plain notebook paper. Tall order, I know. So if anyone has seen one that will hold and protect both, please let me know!

I was also thinking of using clear contact paper or lamination on the edges of the paper, then punching holes so that it would hold up. Like reinforments, only sturdier. I really want to make notebooking practical and a way to display what they've done, not a project in and of itself. I plan on printing lots of pictures for them to include. Michael's sells a 3 hole punched strip of 3 (6 when using both sides) holders (for 4x6 prints) in a pack very inexpensively. I can see just easily sticking that in between pages.

Those are my ideas, anyway. I'm really learning so much and getting so many great and practical ideas from everyone here!

Melissa Crabtree
06-02-2007, 06:48 AM
Just thought I'd post what i did for this year and it worked well. I used a three ring binder, cardstock (from the printer paper section-not scrapbooking section-way cheaper!), and 3 hole page protectors. I just put Jacob's stuff worth saving in order (the order in which we read the books) in the notebook. The crafts that, were too big or 3-D, I took pictures of and put them in that way. I used some printables & little booklets for some, some cut/paste things for others, or some things Jacob had colored/drawn. We were doing kindergarten, so instead of him taking notes on the manual lessons, I sometimes found printable booklets or sheets with the same info that were fun to color or fill in the blanks with letters or such. On some I also just typed up a few facts about our study and put that in there too.

Mine doesn't look like a scrapbook, it just looks like a spot where I put Jacob's work in order so he can go back and look at it. It has enough info that we can talk through it for review, and he really liked seeing it all put together like that!

Stacy in OR
06-02-2007, 12:11 PM
Melissa, This sounds like a great idea. I did keep a 3-ring notebook divided by subject, but I didn't use the page protectors or put the work in chronological order. I think it would mean more to the kids if I arranged their work by book. The page protectors are also a great idea. I do like Robin's idea of the Bare Books as well, so now I need to make a decision!!!

Stacy in OR
06-02-2007, 12:12 PM
Does anyone have any ideas on how to introduce the start of each new book in the notebook/binder? Kind of like a title page?

Lauri B
06-02-2007, 02:18 PM
Does anyone have any ideas on how to introduce the start of each new book in the notebook/binder? Kind of like a title page?

A drawing of the cover, done by the child.

Cindy in CA
06-02-2007, 03:11 PM
Does anyone have any ideas on how to introduce the start of each new book in the notebook/binder? Kind of like a title page?

I just photocopied each book cover and put it in a page protecter. This mades an excellent cover page. That is what worked well for us.


06-02-2007, 03:26 PM
Using a notebook, I'm just going to have the kid write the title of the book (and possibly the author) either on the page or on a separate paper glued in at the top of the page.

When I put the work in a 3 ring binder I didn't have a cover page (but that's a good idea), I just made sure to label all the work with the date, child's initials, book title and the lesson the activity covered.

Hollie in SC
06-02-2007, 03:34 PM
I just photocopied each book cover and put it in a page protecter. This mades an excellent cover page. That is what worked well for us.


That is what we do.

Stacy in OR
06-06-2007, 11:59 AM
Robin, I think I'm going to try out the spiral bare books for our notebooking this coming year. What size did you get? I can't seem to decide. The 16x20 seems a bit big and the 8x10 seems a little too small, so that leaves the 12x14 or the 14x16. What do you suggest???

Stacy in OR
06-06-2007, 12:01 PM
Thanks to each of you who suggested the title page ideas for notbooking. We just got a color printer so copying the cover of each book is definitely a good option as well as just having the kids copy the title into their notebooks. There are so many options!

06-06-2007, 12:19 PM
I got the 10x12 and the 12x14 (I couldn't decide either). I really like the 10x12 size. We're starting with that one. If your kids do a lot of bigger art projects like watercolors, etc then the 12x14 size would work well for that.

06-06-2007, 09:59 PM
Hello Ladies!

I just came across this post tonight and enjoyed all the wonderfull ideas! :clap: I have done all three suggestions lapbook, binder, spiral notebook but maybe a little differently. I love lapbooks, but I find them hard to plan and organize. For some reason, my mind does not wrap around the concept very well, which is very unusual because I am very crafty. (My husband say, "artsy fartsy!")

The binder we use is for a timeline. I printed out on card stock a line with a date above it in a landscape format, for the time I wanted to talk about. Then I punched it with a three hole punch and put it in their binder where it goes according to date.

The spiral notebook we do our paper work in and just don't tear it out. It stays in the notebook, we buy new notebooks every year. What I did do was buy a five subject notebook for the major subjects then if I need to we get a small one for a special subject. Then I keep a file folder for any printouts we may do.

So, this is what we do but please remember we have only been homeschooling since Feb of this year. We are newbies all the way. If it were not for threads like this one I would not have know to do that! I love the boards :group: because there is just so much valuable info here and people to talk to.