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    Some Examples of Charlotte Mason Notebooks

    December 18, 2014 by Brandy Vencel

    [dropcap]I[/dropcap] have to admit that I hate writing posts that include photographs because my camera is terrible. It hates me, and the feeling is usually mutual. But you all asked for pictures. Pictures!

    Have some compassion, people!


    charlotte mason classical education notebooks

    So first of all, let me just point out that there are some blogs that do a very good job showing photos of Charlotte Mason notebooks, both those done by Mom as well as those done by students. Here are my three favorites:

    Jeanne from A Peaceful Day has actually traveled to Ambleside in England and visited the Armitt Museum and seen examples of notebooks from Charlotte Mason’s days in person. She is going to be telling us more about them soon, so be sure to subscribe to her blog.
    I’m sharing these photos as long as you do not have high expectations for the quality of my photography.



    This little book is mine:


    It doesn’t lie flat, so I don’t suggest this type of book, but it has sentimental value {a gift from my sister-in-law}, therefore I use it anyhow.

    Here is a glimpse at a couple of my pages:


    And here is a section from E-Age-Twelve’s commonplace:


    I use Sharpie pens while he prefers mechanical pencils.


    Book of Centuries

    I already blogged about our BoC. Here are a couple entries from mine:


    I thought I took photos of E-Age-Twelve’s, but I guess I didn’t. Oops.


    Nature Journal

    Here is E-Age-Twelve’s most recent entry:


    This is a special study he’s doing of our peach tree inspired by First Studies of Plant Life by Atkinson. The line at the bottom is there because I told him to divide the page into three sections. This is the winter version, and he’s labeled the terminal buds and leaf scabs and such. He’ll make another entry in early spring, and a third in late spring, with the goal of understanding where the new branches, leaves, and fruit grow out of the existing branch.

    I tried to take a picture from one of my daughters’ books, but I just couldn’t get the image to come out. You can see how much trouble I have getting my camera to focus properly. Anyhow, I thought it was cute because she spelled fox “foks.”

    Here’s an entry from mine:

    And yes, I really did observe that the deer at the zoo needed to be treated for parasites.



    The Future of Notebooks in Our House

    For 2015, I have two notebooking goals:

    1. Start A-Age-Nine on a book of centuries shortly after her 10th birthday.
    2. Start us on list keeping.

    The list keeping in particular is something I think some of my children, who have the mentality of collectors, will enjoy. I really like the idea of making a grid that covers all the months so we can document which birds are here during which months. I think this will prove more interesting than we realize. We’re pretty in touch with which birds visit our property, but this will add a whole new element.

    What about you? What are your 2015 notebooking goals? Have you thought about it?

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  • Reply Denise March 28, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Pictures (however painful) are super helpful!! Enjoying the podcast 🙂

  • Reply Bev December 20, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I’m finding this series a year after you published it, but I’d like to know how your goals for the year turned out. I’m especially interested in the list keeping because that is something I think my kids would love. I wonder how many different types of lists there are?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 28, 2015 at 11:08 am

      I feel like both of my goals have been hit-and-miss, but we’re making progress, so I guess that is something? 🙂 I was trying to have my younger students keep a list of birds because that is what their brother did at their age, but I now realize I should have encouraged them to keep a list of bugs because that is what they’ve been focused on this year. So we’re starting a bug list when we start school back up in a couple weeks!

      My thought on lists is that once they get the hang of it, they can be really independent on that…

      A-Age-10 is doing better on her BOC than she was earlier in the year, but she is still struggling with it, so I’ve found it better for us to do entries together — me in mine, and her in hers, the same entry for both of us. She’s definitely not ready to be independent.

  • Reply Rachel January 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing-again! Having pictures really does take the mystery out of it. I haven’t given notebooks much thought, but this is inspiring. It is nice to be reminded of the benefits of simple consistency 🙂

  • Reply Ritsumei January 1, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    This is cool! I love the notebooking that Charlotte Mason recommends, but I always kind of feel like we’re probably doing it wrong. But maybe not. Our notebooks look similar, at least a little bit. We’re not doing a BoC yet, because my oldest is only 8, but I’m trying to figure that thing out anyway, because I just haven’t quite wrapped my head around it. I look forward to browsing through your series index. Thanks for the pictures (they’re not so bad, after all)!

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