Grade 5 End-Of-Year Keepsake Notebook

For the record, I am a notebooking, journaling, scrapbooking person.  I love notebooks.  I have a notebook of all my computer work.  I have a notebook for all my medical transcription knowledge gleaned through the years. I have my new (much loved, I might add) Charlotte Mason notebook. I have my home notebook. I have a notebook of mosaic birdbath ideas. You get the picture.

Obviously, for school, I love the idea of keeping a notebook.

“Well doesn’t everyone use a notebook for school,” you might ask? 

Maybe not in the way that notebookers use notebooks. 

A lot of people use notebooks to hold their loose leaf paper, taking out sheets to work on. They use it for storage of things they will consume. Many students have composition books – one for each subject – that can end up worn and tattered by the end of the year. 

The way notebookers use notebooks is to create a beautiful specimen of work done through the school year.  A notebook is to hold the finished work.  It’s almost like journaling or scrapbooking.  There are even websites that offer notebooking pages for students to fill with copywork or creative writing, among other things.  There are tons of things that can go into notebooks. 

You can have one big notebook, or many notebooks. You can have a nature notebook, bible notebook, science notebook, history notebook, unit study notebook, and the list goes on.

That said, there are many ways to “journal” or “scrapbook” or “notebook” a year’s worth of work.  This past year, for the first time, I used a spiral bound notebook and put the best of the best into it, scrapbook style. 

While I love the way it turned out overall, in that it’s full, and full of memories, I’m not totally crazy over the fact that it won’t lay flat. Ours ended up bulky, but then again I did use one notebook for everything (except for math which is in its own little 3-prong folder – but I did include her end-of-year math test in the notebook for completeness).

Michaela’s 5th Grade Notebook

The first page, of course, has pictures of the girl, her age and her grade.

Throughout the year, I glued in her best work each week, along with pictures to go along.

There are pages from fieldtrips.  I love that you can glue in envelopes and make little pockets to store things in, like the Cleopatra bookmark from the museum.

We even glued in funny artwork that she did to show her spontaneously creative side.

But it’s not just Sponge Bob!  Large worksheets can be folded in half and glued in so that you can open them up for viewing. 

We taped in postcards so that they can be flipped out to read the backs.

Illustrations from a story for her blog.  In fact much of her art work is in here, put in with adhesive “corners,” so no glue was used on them.

When we studied Grass Sandals, she made a matching game, but you know we’ll likely not play this again, so I tossed half the cards and put one half in here.

Copywork samples.

Nature study pages.

Pictures from our new bunny adventures.

We glued in many fieldtrip pictures and souvenirs.  Again, I love how you can glue in storage envelopes for postcards and such.

We even glued in our letters from our Wild West Cousins we gained while doing our Prairie Tuesdays!

As you can see, this notebook ended up being a portfolio of her work, representative of every subject, covering the whole year, but also a scrapbook, full of memories and pictures and fun!

What I like about the spiral notebook:

  • cover is attractive
  • it’s more like a scrapbook. You can write little notes directly into it and glue things in as well
  • the finished product is pretty (even if mine won’t lay flat)
  • they are inexpensive and vary in size, so you can choose what kind you want for what subject.

What I do NOT like about the spiral notebook:

  • the finished product may not lay flat if you put in anything other than regular paper
  • pages can rip out and there’s no way to reinforce them and put them back in
  • because it did require the kind of attention you’d give a scrapbook, it turned into more of something I kept up with versus something Michaela was responsible for. She did the work – I kept the scrapbook.
  • requires glue or some type of adhesive

What I like about having ONE notebook for everything

  • Work of all subjects can be placed in chronological order, so looking through it is literally like a trip down memory lane
  • It forces a weeding out of mediocre stuff so you end up with a really striking portfolio

What I do NOT like about having just one notebook

  • Obviously, you have to flip through to find specific things; things are not separated into any order
  • You don’t end up with one powerful resource in any one subject area, say history or nature, for example. Imagine building on one nature notebook for 12 years!

One thing that I am really proud of is that this notebook was basically done at the end of the year.  Other than waiting on a couple of end-of-year pictures, I kept up with this week by week, making school record-keeping a whole lot easier!  You may remember my post on my organization station.  I suggest having a system in place for weekly checks and touch-ups, having supplies organized where teacher and student (age appropriate) can get to them.

This coming year, we’ll be doing Ambleside Online with Beyond Five In A Row for her biograpy reading, as well as a co-op of some Volume 4 titles, so a lot of reading and then narration in written and oral form and many projects and “handicrafts.”  We’ll be doing foreign language, nature study, art and music appreciation, and if it goes as I hope it will, we’ll stick with Ambleside for the duration.  In that case, I don’t know that I want only one notebook for each year. 

At graduation, I know there are areas where I would like for Michaela to have resources that she’ll enjoy for her whole life. An art appreciation notebook would be nice.  A nature notebook would be awesome.  A history notebook would also be awesome. 

Here are some notebooking resources that I think are nice:

Math Notebooking – who knew math could make such beautiful notebooks?

Jimmie, the author of the above math notebooking, also has a notebooking exhibit page.

Cindy Rushton, who is known as the Binder Queen, has a nice article – Let’s Try Notebooking, on trying notebooking and letting the children do the work.

My friend Sheri at The Shades of Pink has a section on her blog about her notebooking.  Her “crew” has produced some beautiful notebooks.

Another friend, Heather (Blog, She Wrote) has wonderful ideas for notebooking.

Friend Kayla shows how she has one 3-ring notebook for FIAR broken into sections by books rowed.

More to come as I plan how we’ll store our work this next year!


  20 comments for “Grade 5 End-Of-Year Keepsake Notebook

  1. becky
    August 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    When I have scrapbooks or diaries that expand on the side I attach a pretty ribbon that actually goes all the way around it to keep it closed and contained when I tie a bow. Hope that helps.

  2. August 11, 2009 at 3:37 am

    Wow! I love your notebook/scrapbook. I think this is everything that a notebook should be — personalized, varied, comprehensive. Well done! And thanks for linking to my math notebooking page. Glad you like it.

  3. August 11, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Becky, I thought about that, but wondered if it would crease the cover or put pressure on the binding, but maybe just don’t tie it too tight, right? Thanks so much for the idea.

    Jimmie, so good to hear from you. You know, I found your lenses and your blog separately, and it didn’t hit me until later that you were the same Jimmie who did the fabulous lenses at Squidoo! (I somehow overlooked the lenses tab on your blog.) I must admit, however, that your name went through my mind and I wondered how many homeschooling Jimmies there could be. :) I love your lenses AND your blog!

  4. August 11, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I love your notebook! OK… now my mind is spinning about what I want to do for a notebook for my daughter for this year. I keep my blog which is kind of like our scrapbook, but it doesn’t have actual samples of her work and we can’t add postcards, etc. Anyway, thanks for the great idea and for sharing your daughter’s book!

  5. Ken
    August 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Lynn, your fifth grade notebook ideas are great! The other thing you have that goes hand in hand with it is this blog. We are going to print ours out when the kids graduate and give it to them as books. I wish I was as creative as you on the notebook thing, but am cursed with my engineerness (if that is a word).

  6. August 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Dear Lynn,

    I love it! Audrey squealed when she saw her drawing. You’ve given me lots of ideas, and inspiring things to think about.



  7. Teresa Krejci
    August 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    LOVE IT!!!! It’s always so nice to see how others do things…thank you for sharing. I got several ideas from your posting.

    I keep an Academic Scrapbook and try to keep each year to just four pages, but as my guy gets older that is getting harder to do. I also keep a yearly notebook w/dividers of ‘best works’. But now that I’ve seen your 5th grade notebook, I’m not as satisfied with my notebook….that’s how it is, isn’t it? :-)
    Great Job!
    Teresa in Texas

  8. August 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    What a terrific idea! I have never done this but I think I’ll begin this year.

    What a great way to keep all their best work and keep it for memories 😉

    lady m

  9. August 12, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Dana, thanks for your comment. My mind is always spinning. 😉

    Ken, I’ve thought of that, and heard of a company at one point that would do that, but not sure now who is was, and wouldn’t it be huge? :)

    Marqueta, we love the letters. We are going to get ours out soon. I feel like we owe EVERYONE!! We’ve been so busy lately.

    Teresa, thanks! Yes, that’s how it goes. I will feel okay about something and then see an idea of someone else’s and it just gets me thinking!

    LadyM, thank you! I’m exciting about recording things this next year! It’s really a balance to have a nice keepsake, but not too much. :)


  10. August 15, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Thanks for the shout out Lynn!!

  11. August 15, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Yep!! I love your blog, Heather.

  12. Teri Eddy
    September 2, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Question for you, but first, I must say you have a very informative blog! I appreciate all the helpful links. Now, if I’m reading things right you use FIAR as well as classical education teachings. I wonder how you aligned the FIAR books with SOTW.
    thanks again for a great blog :)

  13. September 3, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Dear Teri, thank you for your comment. :) I am not using classical education per se, but Ambleside Online which is Charlotte Mason in style. Charlotte Mason would have chosen excellent, challenging and thoughtful literature for children, and so many (all?) of the books we use would be acceptable for a classical education.

    The Ambleside Online curriculum includes The Story of The World by Susan Wise Bauer, so we’ll be using that, and I also am a devoted FIAR fan and we’ll be using some of that.

    I don’t try to reconcile anything we do with FIAR to a curriculum that teaches things in a rigid chronological fashion. I think the books chosen for FIAR are also high-quality books and have merit on their own. Although CM seemed to dislike unit study overall, I’m not totally opposed to unit study, especially done in the lovely FIAR style. 😉

    That said, we might tie in a FIAR book because it already fits what we are studying. For example, I can see us re-visiting Paul Revere’s Ride while reading about George Washington in This Country Of Ours by H.E. Marshall. Often, however, we will “row” a FIAR book just because we want to.

    I think children are able to take ideas and make connections when given quality material, so I don’t think it confuses the curriculum at all to do something from one time period when everything else is from another.

    I hope I haven’t gone way off track of what you were asking. I just wanted to make sure I truly answered your question. I love something about nearly every teaching style out there, so I’m not close-minded to anything if it works to our good.

    I’m sure you’re probably familiar with everything I mentioned, so I apologize for being so long-winded, but just wanted to let you know my line of thinking about the various teaching methods.

    Lynn :)

  14. Nicki
    September 11, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, what a wonderful keepsake. Normally I end up with a huge file box full of my children’s work at the year end. It is not easy to look through and it doesn’t encourage me to be selective about what is kept and what isn’t. I am going to try your idea this this year!

  15. January 15, 2011 at 11:08 am

    A little late to the discussion (! story of my life!), but I wanted to answer your earlier question about the blog-printing. I used a company called Blog2Print and I was very satisfied. I only did our August-December but I think in future I’ll probably have it printed a year at a time. You can also edit out any posts you choose.

    • January 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you so much for that recommendation, Eddie. I have heard of them before, I think. I am definitely wanting to print this blog at some point. Maybe I should do it in installments to make it affordable! :)

  16. October 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! Great ideas, nice that it’s done as you go along.

    • October 31, 2011 at 10:22 am

      Vicki, thank you so much! This means so much coming from you! :)

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