Learning

What to write in our home ed notebook : 67 ideas

Home education notebooks are a simple and practical solution to keep track of all the ideas, inspiration and information we need.

Who doesn’t love a new notebook? All that gorgeous blank space to fill. And we’re going to need it ❤

I love home education. And I love notebooks. And they go so well together.

Continuously bombarded with ideas and inspiration popping up all over the shop. Session times, book lists and to-do notes. So many details.

And that, my friends, is where our trusty notebooks come in. Super, simple and stylish – an essential element of our home ed toolkit. Just the job for keeping it all safe and sound.

But with so much information flying around, it can be hard to know where to start, to remember what we need to remember 🙂 And so, here are 67 ideas to consider.

1. Home education groups

Days, times and costs of different sessions, the organisers name, email and contact numbers, maps, postcodes, parking details. And what we need to bring – will there be a shared lunch or ‘give-away’ table? Will we need change for the car park or subs money?

2. The people that we meet

Everyone loves to be greeted by name and it’s hard to remember them all. Keeping a note of who we meet, the names and ages of their children and any interesting snippets we’ve chatted about, makes it so much easier to strike up conversation next time.

3. Online home ed groups

Keeping a record of the groups we’ve joined online means we can log in and check them when we want rather than being bombarded by notifications popping up all over the place.

4. Size guides for each of our children

Never be lost for shoe sizes at climbing, bowling or ice-skating. And clothes sizes for generous offers or ‘give away’ tables.

5. Packing lists

For specific activities (never forget those climbing logs or hairbands again), days out with little ones and well-stocked changing bags. As well as those longer stays away from home.

6. Places to visit

A list of local attractions and interesting spots to explore means we’ll never be stuck wondering where to go. And making lists of local libraries, parks and National Trust places means we can tick them off as we visit and be sure we’ve seen them all. We love a good checklist round here 🙂

7. Timetables

For public transport, local pools, trampoline parks, ice-rinks, libraries and any other lovely places we like to go.

8. Places we’ve been with visitors

And ideas about where we might like to take them next 🙂

9. Things to do

Fun activities, strewing suggestions and invitations to play (with links to books and/or websites with more details if needed).

10. Science experiments   

More fun. Again, with links where relevant. And a sentence or 2 to remind us when we did them and how they went.

11. Arts and craft activities

And yet more fun. Just like 9 and 10 but with recipes for home-made play dough and instructions on how to do finger-knitting.

12. Kits or sets we don’t want to forget

Sometimes these get lost in the cupboard but a handy little list makes this that little less likely.

13. Games to play

Just like 13.

14. Boredom busters and quick energy boosters

Quick games or activities to lift us out of an energy slump. Or keep us amused in the car or dentists waiting room.

15. Ultimate lists

Of fun things to do outside, in the winter, games to play or ways to connect with our teenagers.

16. Library lists

Of books to order, books we’ve requested, books we love (and want to borrow again) and when all those wonderful books need renewing or returning. There are so many gorgeous book posts out there. Adding books to Goodreads is all very well, but it’s nice to keep a record of who recommended them. How lovely would it be if we could get round to thanking all those bloggers who share such wonderful books to read (Note to self : let’s do that!).

17. Library card numbers

To make logging in online that much quicker and easier.

18. Books to buy

The very best books to add to our collection. A super helpful list for grandparents looking for gift ideas 🙂

19.  Books to share with our children

Books we’d like to share with each of our children, or read-alouds, to one or all.

20. Poetry teatime ideas

Poems to share and special teatime treat ideas and recipes.

21. Reading goals

Our own reading goals for the year and some of the books we’d love to read.

22. Watch lists

YouTube channels to explore. Television programmes and movies to watch. And great long lists of all we’ve seen and loved, if we’re in the mood 🙂

23. Websites we love

And why we love them, what they’re good for and who we’d like to share them with.

24. Reference list of printables

So frustrating when we run out of a printable we love and we’ve forgotten to note down where we found it – keeping a list of where to find them will make this a thing of the past.

25. Daily to-do lists or goals for our day

A simple running list of the most important tasks we need to do each day with nice little boxes to cross them off when we’re done.

26. Longer term goals

Maybe monthly, quarterly or annual goals we’ve set ourselves.

27. Dates to remember

Upcoming home ed days at the zoo or the space centre. Or dates of all the lunar and solar eclipses for the next ten years.

28. Calendar pages and countdowns

Dedicated monthly spreads give us a good visual overview of the commitments we’ve made and help us with future planning. Countdowns to special events and holidays give us a chance to get properly prepared and excited for what’s coming up.  

29. Diary entries

Using our notebooks like journals, we can write a sentence or two about how we’ve spent our day. Or longer rambling accounts that showcase how our learning journeys twist and turn and how one thing leads to another and another and another…

30. Our home ed budget

What we’ve got to spend, and what we’re spending it on.

31. Subscriptions

To who, for how much and when they’ll end, or need renewing. Usernames and passwords – disguised but not so well that we can’t figure out our own codes 🙂

32. Wishlists

All the things we’d love to have – magna-tiles and castle blocks, microscopes and telescopes, laminators and memberships…

33. Big trip planning

Keeping track of all the places we’d like to visit that are further away and need that bit more planning and prep.

34. Menu plans

No more staring at the fridge and wondering what to cook for tea. Once we’ve got a couple of weeks of menu plans then we can just keep rotating. This can be a good place to record what we’ve cooked for friends and family and how well they went down.

35. Grocery lists

To help with the weekly shop.

36. Recipes

All our favourite things to cook with helpful reminders on what’s good for prepping the night before and how we can better batch our cooking.

37. Questions people ask us

You know the ones, we often get them at the supermarket checkout. And we don’t always answer them as well as we’d like. Jotting down some notes about what we wished we’d said can help us feel better prepared next time. And these questions can make great blog post topics for all of us bloggers too.

38. Best books for new home educators

A list of books we’ve read and would love to share with others. To recommend or lend, with a note of who we’ve lent them to 🙂

39. Other resources to help new home educators

Websites, blog posts, YouTube videos and podcasts – the very best there are, for inspiration, reassurance and guidance.

40. Words of wisdom

That we’re happy to share with new home edders, but only if we’re asked 🙂 Bright ideas we’ve discovered and lessons learnt along the way that might be useful for families with young children, older children or lots of children.

41. Resources that help explain our educational philosophy

If anyone’s interested 🙂 Again, the best websites, blog posts, YouTube videos and podcasts – ones that are in line with our own beliefs and practices and can sometimes help those we love to understand us that bit more.

Want to know what kind of homeschoolers we are? Check out this post that has some of our favourite links.

42. News items

What’s happening in the home ed world. Campaigns and consultations we’d like to be a part of. Local, national and international headlines and news.

43. Contacts with the local authority

A running record of when and why you had contact and in what form.

44. Ideas to follow up

Interesting ideas we want to learn more about. A small selection from our list over the years : gameschooling, poetry teatime, strewing, nature journals.

45. People to learn more about

Artists, authors, historical figures, anyone we’d like to research and find out more about.

46. Project presentation possibilities

Ideas on how to present our ideas and projects in varied and interesting ways.

47. Quotes and Questions from our children

Sometimes just for the joy and the memories. And sometimes as useful reminders of topics or issues we’d like to explore further. They can also be fantastic indicators of how much are children are learning, what they’re loving and what matters to them most.

48. Facts and figures

All those little snippets of information we wish we could instantly recall but keep forgetting – when were the dinosaurs alive, how many people live in our local town and when did the first animals and people travel in space?

49. Words

New words we learn. Words we hear and aren’t sure of their exact meaning. Words we’re learning in different languages, and difficult spellings we often get wrong.

50. Things to memorise

Mnemonics, hand rhymes, poems, famous speeches and parts of a play we want to recite.

51. Courses and challenges

Dates and details of courses and challenges we’ve attempted, completed or would love to.

52. Habit tracking

Tick boxes, tally charts, consecutive chains, records of distances, time spent, totals – whatever we need to keep us on track with the habits we want more of in our lives.

53. Family meeting minutes

A record of our family meetings and any items to follow up before next time.

54. What we’ve learned

Observations and notes on the learning that’s happening all around us 🙂

55. What we’re grateful for

A daily practice or just occasional musings. And now and then, we might ask… ‘What’s the best thing about today?’ and record everyone’s response.

56. Compliments

People can say the loveliest things and often we’re too quick to shrug them off. If we can shun the modesty for a moment and capture those complimentary remarks in our notebooks, then we get to enjoy them over and over.

57. Achievements

Often our success in reaching set goals or milestones is quickly forgotten as we strive ever onwards to the next challenge. Resist the temptation to minimise these achievements and linger a while in celebration. Go you and go me 🙂

58. Joy lists

One for every member of the family. A list of all the lovely things that bring us joy.

59. Uplifting YouTube videos

For when we need a boost.

60. Exercise routines

Maybe more Youtube videos, or just some notes to remind us of our favourite moves 🙂

Some of our favourites – the best walking workouts 🙂 a great 10 minute energiser and yoga with a star wars theme.

61. Playlists

High energy songs for a kitchen disco, or maybe some instrumental music to aid concentration – one of our daughters loves listening to her favourite tv and movie soundtracks while her brother is a big fan of gaming tunes.

62. Mantras and affirmations

Positive words, to energise, refresh and remind us of what’s important.

63. Helpful acronyms

Useful acronyms to support our intentions.

Two we love – W.A.I.T (why am I talking?) and H.A.L.T (hungry, angry, lonely, tired?)

64. Inspirational quotes

To pick us up when we’re low on energy and enthusiasm. And to motivate and inspire us to follow our hearts and our dreams.

65. Big picture goals

A quick summary or short extract of our educational philosophy – a lifeline when we’re on the brink, or in the eye of a home ed wobble.

66. Random notes

Capturing all those other great ideas that pop into our heads 🙂

67. Add some colour and an envelope

We can keep our notebooks simple, neat and functional or jazz them up with coloured pens, stickers, photos and doodles. They’re fantastic resources and useful records of our home ed adventures, and with a bit of scrapbooking and bullet journal inspiration, they can be beautiful works of art as well. Adding an envelope, or two, taped to the inside cover can also give us some useful storage space for any loose items we want to keep safe but not stuck (gift cards, tickets and membership maybe?).

Phew, 67 ideas for what to write in our home ed notebook.

And if you’d like to know more about how we use our notebooks and other ways we plan and record our lives and our learning, look out for more posts coming soon.

I would love to hear about the different ways you use notebooks and what ideas I’ve missed off this list. Leave me a comment down below and let’s chat all things notebook’y and home ed x

And one last thing, I’d like to share the two blog posts that inspired me to set up my own ideas and inspiration notebook many years ago –

https://www.storiesofanunschoolingfamily.com/unplanning-notebooks-for-strewing-and/

https://www.homeschooling-ideas.com/homeschooling-tips.html

Enjoy x

 

 

    

 

2 Comments

  1. Hayley,

    What a wonderful post crammed full of ideas. I love keeping notebooks too. As you know, I keep Evernote notebooks which I love but recently, I started a paper one too. I like seeing the pages filling up with little details of my life written in my scrawly handwriting!

    Thank you for linking to my blog post!

    Did you hear that I finally published my unschooling book Curious Unschoolers? Yes, I did it! I added these words to the acknowledgements:

    Thank you to Hayley for transcribing many of my videos and podcasts so that I could turn them into stories for this book.

    I appreciate everything you have done for me!

    I hope you and your family are well and happy, Sue

    1. Hayley says:

      Hey Sue,

      You are so welcome. And wow, thank you for the acknowledgement, that’s so lovely.

      I’ve been eagerly awaiting the print release of Curious Unschoolers and ordered my copy today – exciting!

      Can’t wait to read it 🙂

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