Combining Notebooking and Lapbooking

(Working feverishly on completing my Nature Study, Nature Journaling, and Poetry ebook – due to a family health issue, it has been slow going – but now is picking up! If you haven’t signed up for my Katie’s Homeschool Cottage newsletter to enter for a chance in the free drawing for this ebook, please do so!)

Being an eclectic Charlotte Mason method user, I wanted to find my own way in which to use all of the great lapbooks out there with our notebooking, written narration, and copywork we do when studying certain topics. And, coincidentally enough, remember that poll I had posted a few months back asking people what were some of the topics you would like to see covered in these posts? Well, using lapbooks and notebooking was a top question people had in filling out that poll.

I tried lapbooking with my two non-cutting, non-coloring boys (who don’t mind making things from scratch or writing notebooking and pages and adding their own artistic renderings of what they have written). It was not the success I had envisioned or hoped for. Something about the file folder and putting all of these little booklets on the file folder turned them off. I still don’t completely understand the emotional reaction they had to this, but we have found something that does work for us.

I’d like to share this idea with you. We use pieces of card stock, 3-hole punched and place these into our notebooks alongside our notebook pages. We do a couple of little booklets or whatever at a time and glue them onto the card stock as we study the topic throughout the semester. I think the variety of combining the written narration, their own drawings, and the booklets a few at a time breaks up what they might have felt either overwhelming or monotonous in putting together a big lapbook alone.

To give you some ideas of what we have done, I broke down ideas into subject areas and have included pictures, descriptions of what we have done, and links to resources you might find helpful:

  • Science
    Botany Notebook – Using Jeannie Fullbright’s Exploring Creation with Botany
         My son used Jeannie’s free notebooking pages available here – Botany notebooking pages and whenever we went on a nature, Charlotte Mason style, we would look for a sample of the plant life he was studying in this book to take home. We dried it, glued it onto a piece of card stock, labeled it, slipped it into a plastic sheet protector, and placed it into the notebook with the rest of the pages.
    At the same time, I printed off little diagrams or booklets about parts of a flower, seed, or plant that he would label or fill out. After completing each one, he glued that onto a piece of card stock and placed it into the notebook in the appropriate section discussing that topic.
    Each piece of card stock would be labeled with the topic on that page, and would be close to full- so that it wasn’t just one or two small items on the page.
    Whenever, my son had a science experiment to perform, we had a science experiment procedure notebook page, that he would use to write out his hypothesis, materials, procedures, observations, data, results, and conclusion. This page would also go in the appropriate area of study.
    In the end, he had a nice botany notebook with a cover provided in the free notebooking pages filled with samples, notes, experiments, and little diagrams and booklets. All of these placed in topic areas, as opposed to notebook sections labeled “notes”, “labs”, “projects”. This was more fluid for him.
  • Apologia General Science with my older son was a bit different.
    My older son likes a bit more structure and functions better when things are categorized. He labeled sections of his notebook “notes” (written narrations for him or handouts of notes), “labs”, “questions and answers” (lapbook parts from Live and Learn Press), “quizzes” (review study guides and tests provided by Apologia), and a pocket for index cards that he used to make flash cards for himself from the study guide questions.
    His notebook was organized according to function of the piece of paperwork. It was a combination of notebooking pages on which he wrote narrations of topics he read aside from the Apologia text and handouts where he read something and answered questions (this usually was a tie in to the historic period we were studying and how it related to his science), science experiment procedure notebooking pages (just like his brother) or printed from the Apologia text CD-Rom, and lapbook booklets glued onto pieces of card stock.
    The lapbook components we use are from Live and Learn Press – Live and Learn Press. They have booklets in which he can write the answers to questions from the Apologia text and write down definitions to vocabulary words as he proceeds through the text. My son glues these onto pieces of card stock as he works on them in order of the text.


  • History
    For the past two years, we have studied ancient civilizations and the middle ages. We put together a notebook for each during each year. We used a variety of notebooking pages from different sources for our written narrations and map study. For a study of crests and family history, we had matchbooks and other little books to glue onto cardstock to explain heraldry.
    For the chain of causes for the black plague, we used the wheel from the Story of the World Activity book, glued onto cardstock also.
    This year, we will be studying the Renaissance; we’ll be using a lap book (glued onto card stock pages) for that as well from Live and Learn Press along with our notebooking pages.

Heraldry and our Ancestors

Practicing illuminations just like the monks.
Taking outline notes on a notebooking page.
Written narration after reading “Medieval Feast” by Aliki.


Learning about the Hagia Sophia.


Notebooking Links

Here are a variety of resources that you may find helpful in assisting you in your notebooking endeavors:

Notebooking Pages (Great pages to purchase – big sale right now)

 Cindy Rushton – Notebooking Queen (Click on the Exploring Creation product and then the journal pages you want) (Great notebook pages to purchase) (Great notebooking lens by Jimmie)

Notebooking training resources (ebooks, audio seminars in mp3 format)



Cindy Rushton lapbooking ebook and audio seminar

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114 Responses

  1. Katie,
    This is great! I am seeing some links for notebooking and lapbooking I did not have before.
    While my boys like lapbooking they too are not “big’ on the separate lap “books” so we combine both as well for their subjects. :)
    I am going to be using Knowledge Box Central and love the way KBC sets up their notebooks for Apologia’s General Science. It is quite similiar to how you do it as well ~
    I am saving this one and checking out all these great new links I see~ thanks for these tips!

  2. I enjoyed hearing how you adapted the methods to suit the needs of your unique children.

    I’ve also been inspired by CM and started & ran a support group x4 years for CM method.

    I found you through the CoH and also participate in the CoH.

    I tweeted your post today.


  3. Where did you find the paragraph outline notebooking page? My 9 year old will be learning about outlining in his co-op science and writing classes this year and this looks like a great tool!

    • I love that page too! It’s from Study Skills That Stick by Scholastic. It’s one of the handiest forms in that book.

  4. A wonderful explanation of how to take the best of both worlds (lapbooks and notebooks) and make it work for YOU. Brilliant.

  5. thank you for your suggestion on the cardstock in your notebook rather than the traditional lapbook! my 7 yo boy is usually always turned off by anything that looks too artistic – wouldn’t even make one with airplanes or nascar!

    • I think that all of the folds and separate parts of the file folders added up to make the lapbook was overwhelming for my guys. But doing a mini book on one piece of cardstock at a time was more appealing and rewarding for them. Then putting it all together with the rest of their work in their notebooks made them very proud of all of their work for the year. Glad the suggestion helped!

  6. Love the ideal of combining notebooking and lapbooking

  7. Thank you for sharing!!!

  8. We usually put mini books on our notebook pages when appropriate instead of making lapbooks from folders. When we tried a Civil War lapbook, we added a special pocket for our notebook pages to be kept. That was our first lapbook, but it worked well.

  9. We use to do a lot of lapbooks. I am excited to start up again!! Thanks!!! I love your ideas.

  10. This is great. I like lapbooking but prefer notebooking.

  11. Great resources and ideas. Thanks for sponsoring the comtest

  12. Just starting to use notebooking. It is always interesting to see how other people use it and find ideas and inspiration.

  13. I am a big fan of notebooking and lapbooking. Finding this site is inspiring and has made my wishlist huge :)

  14. I like the idea of mixing lapbooking with notebooking. We are new to homeschooling and am excited to try it once my son can write.

  15. My ideas may not be overly helpful, but I sure am thankful for the helpful ideas I’m coming across!

  16. I have 4 girls ranging from pre-school to high school. Because they each have different talents and abilities, each enjoys a slightly different approach to our lapbooking and notebooking. So even when they all study the same topic, which often happens in History and Science, their finished notebooks look quite different. Since the whole process is meant to be a tool for their learning and retention, I have had to back off and relax about what the finished products turn out like.

    Since lapbooks do require so much intricate cutting, folding, etc., we try to include lapbooking on days when other work is lighter, or plan for a couple of extra days to work on the lapbooking. segment of a unit. Perhaps since mine are all girls the tiny little books and spinning wheels and other features have really appealed to them.

    Notebooking, though, is easy everday fare for us. I simply provide them with an age appropriate page before we begin our lesson and they take it from there. I love to see what they come up with! And they remember many more details of our lessons because they have drawn or written it down. My oldest does well with blank pages, but the younger ones like printed pages that provide some guidance in what to write or draw.

    We have mostly done loose leaf pages for work we complete inside. When we add lapbook pages, we add sheet protectors and slide the pages down in. Or we do it in the usual folder method and store them on the shelf. For outside work, I have found that bound notebooks work best, because we live where it is windy and often wet.

    I think the most wonderful part of homeschooling is the ability to personalize the way things are done. Not only does each family do things a bit differently, but each child within a family does as well. Both notebooking and lapbooking can be adapted to be the most effective tools for learning! We love them both! And I love to read ideas from other families to see possible new approaches for us:-)

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Thank you for this! We Are just getting started with notebooking and lapbooking. I’ve dragged my feet for a LONG time, because it all seems overwhelming…. kinda like scrapbooking. Add to that the fact that my oldest is a VERY reluctant writer, and well, here we are. But I’m loving the inspiration that I found here, so thank you! One thing that I have found that helps me, though, with the lapbooking is using old photo albums. We have tons…. I’ve bought them because they are cute, with the intention of making them just as cute as the ones my girlfriends make, but then I never do them because. So, I hand them to the kids, and they can slip their work into the little pockets or put their pages into the binder. No glue, no yards and yards of tape, and everything is nice and neat. It is also great for nature hikes, too…. a nice, handy way to collect leaves/insects/flowers without getting everything crumpled, and they can be sorted and labeled immediately.

  18. Great ideas about notebooking and lap booking. I’m looking forward to implementing them with my children. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Thanks for the helpful info!

  20. I wish I could find the time to do more notebooking and lapbooking, I love it.

  21. Great resources and ideas–thanks for sharing. We are new to notebooking and need all the help we can get :-)

  22. Just learned about your block through Thank you for sharing!

  23. Thanks for sharing this inforamtion!

  24. My children prefer notebooking to lapbooking, but I like how you combine them.

  25. Thank you for all of the fabulous links! We are doing Classical Conversations at home and I would really love to implement lapbooking into our memory work.

  26. I have only been using notebooking and lapbooking since last year. I wish I had found out about it years ago.

  27. We really like Notebooking pages! Great idea to sponsor the giveaway!

  28. Thanks for another great homeschooling resource.

  29. Thanks for the great resources. I am just starting to use note booking and lap booking this year. I think my daughter will love it!

  30. I’m so grateful to have found your site and this blog post! A mesh of Lapbooks, Notebooking and a sprinkling of good old scrapbooking is exactly what we have been gravitating to in our studies this year. I am thrilled to have yet another resource for ideas and information. Thanks for sharing!

  31. I look forward to reading your blog. I came to you via Notebooking Pages

  32. Liking forward to starting. New to HS

  33. We have used lap books in our homeschool for around 4 years and are just now kind of moving into note booking. So I am thankful for all the links you gave, and also how you incorporate CM methods into your schooling.

  34. I love notebooking.

  35. I think notebooking and lapbooking are such great ways to help children retain the information they have learned. I utilize both in our homeschool. Thank you for the ideas and resources to try out.

  36. I have four girls and we use parts of lapbooks in our binders as well. I am much more of a binder oriented person than lapbooks, so we just use the part from lapbooks that we want. We glue them on cardstock to put in our binders, much like you do.

    Thank you for all the links on notebooking and lapbooking.

  37. I’m looking forward to learning more about Notebooking through your blog:)

  38. I just found your site, and there is some amazing info here. I can’t wait to spend more time learning from your site. Thank you.

  39. Lately i have been into the interactive notebooks. Where you take the foldables and add them to a actually notebook. I didn’t realize how much I would like the notebooking.

  40. I really don’t like lapbooking AT ALL. I want to love it, but I just don’t. The best way I’ve found for us to use mini books and such is to just put them on cardstock and put them in our binders. That at least keeps everything in the same format and I don’t have to try to figure out file folders and such.

  41. Wow! Look at all those amazing links!!!!! I can’t wait to dive in!

  42. This is all new to me but looks like a really fun way to learn.

  43. just found you

  44. I’ve been homeschooling for years, but just now dipping my toe into the waters of notebooking. They feel a bit overwhelming at first glance.

  45. I just started homeschooling my kindergartener a few months ago, and I love it! This notebooking has really helped to, even though we have only used the ABC pages so far I really look forward to useing this product for years to come!

  46. I also came here via Notebooking pages. Looking forward to reading more as I am homechooling my grandkids.

  47. Great blog post and our family loves lapbooking as review for lessons learned!

  48. This is what I want to do with my 4 bit find it a bit overwhelming myself.

  49. Anything hands on helps with learning in our house! Combining both lapbooks and notebooking just seals the deal. ;)
    Writing, drawing, coloring and just generally “holding” the subject creates memories of learning experiences!

  50. Thank you for an awesome resource! This year we are notebooking 2 subjects and I am sure that these will help with the creativeness that we are hoping to achieve. I am sure we will be successful using these methods.

  51. We just recently started using notebooking and lapbooks. We have really enjoyed it and thanks to all the great resources in your article I am sure we can find many ways to expand our homeschooling. Thanks

  52. I like the way you combined the two. I haven’t done it much yet as my first son just got to the point where he can write a few words himself…still a bunch of copy work and penmanship for us, along with phonics. I’m looking forward to entering this stage, though…

  53. My son has problems writing large amounts, so by combining lapbooking and notebooking, we can work things in chunks and break up some of the writing with cutting/gluing/putting things together.

  54. Thanks for your great ideas and resources!

  55. This looks amazing and thanks for all the resource links. can’t wait to get started for ourselves!

  56. Great resources. Added your site to the top of my favorites list!! Thanks so much!

  57. We are brand new to homeschooling this year, and now to notebooking! What a great idea! I cannot wait to delve deeper into this — my kids will love it! Thank you!

  58. We have done a little lapbooking and have recently been doing notebooking for science which helps cement the information. I am looking forward to combining the two to create a great memorable finished product – topic specific science lapbooks with our notebooking materials.

  59. Your boys reaction to lapbooks sounds just like mine. It didn’t go as well as I thought and/or wanted it too either. Your combination approach sounds great and might be a perfect fit for my boys! Thank you for sharing with us!

  60. I love looking back at the lapbooks my son, who is now 14, did when he was 8. We have found doing just a few booklets at a time to work for us. And yes, our girls have enjoyed lapbooking more than my son.

  61. What a great collection of resources! Thanks for putting this together!

  62. There are some good ideas here; mine, who love cutting anything lying around, are lapbook phobic. This might help give their notebooks some variety.

  63. I love the look of your site. I know I will be back again and again. to see what you have on the site .

  64. Thank you for posting!

  65. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  66. This is great! I am not very creative, but you make it seem doable. Thank you.

  67. I am interested in learning more about this. :)

  68. I love how you adapted notebooking to fit your homeschool!

  69. Starting over with a girl (2 boys in highschool now), so I need new, creative ways to teach this & this fits the bill. Thanks!

  70. Thanks for all of these wonderful resources!

  71. I too found some new links. Thank you very much. I too have a boy teenager who is not really a fan of lapbooks. So we have been leaning more to notebooking as it also works with our eclectic style.

  72. Excellent ideas and information – thank you! Some of this information we will be using like now because it is what we were needing to complete some units and set ups for our own homeschool.

  73. We have been embarking on the lapbook journey this year and are looking forward to adding some notebooking activities with it. I especially think this will be great for science and bible study.

  74. Thank you for sharing your experiences with lapbooking and notebooking. (Also for all the helpful links) We’re new to hs and trying to figure out what things will be beneficial. Hopefully we’ll get a system down soon all w/His guidance and prayer. Thanks again and God bless you for your blog!

  75. Really looking forward to using this site for inspiration in our studies!

  76. My boys are the same way- dislike lap-booking, love note-booking. I too have combined them for my boys with great success. :)

  77. Lap books have been hit and miss in our home school. I like to use them as a way to wrap up a unit and summarize all we’ve learned, but some of the children find this to be tedious and repetitive. I’ve learned to do the lap book as we go along, and the children like that much better. I see them looking back at lap books they did years ago and reading all the material. It’s wonderful!

  78. I haven’t tried notebooking yet but I plan to use some of your ideas.

  79. Great ideas. Thank you,

  80. My older, now graduated, children did not like lapbooking, but I am hoping to help my younger ones find more joy in it. I do plan to let them do the work, though. One thing I really like is to have a notebook of lapbook type pages. It is much easier for me to keep track of them.

  81. I like combining lapbooking and notebooking. Usually we add lapbook elements to out notebook pages.

  82. this is great! thanks so much!

  83. This is our first year notebooking and lapbooking! Thank you so much for sharing your gift of creativeness for those like myself, that is not. Thank you!

  84. I would love to win a membership. My kids love notebooking.

  85. My boys like the elements of lapbooks, but not necessarily the whole lapbook idea, so we have started picking and choosing elements that we like for each subject/area and add them to our interactive notebooks.

  86. Thanks so much for all these tips, I’ve pinned this post as I’m sure I’ll need to visit it again!

  87. I”m new to this home schooling thing. I have a 1st and 2nd grader this year. I have enjoyed learning more about how to incorporate notebooking and lapbooks to make learning more fun for my kiddos.

  88. Bookmarking your site. Lots of useful info! :)

  89. This is something I’ve started for history and science this year…looks like some great info here.

  90. Really excited to stumble across your page. This is the way or home school is heading and I am excited to glean all the info I can.

  91. I have been homeschooling for 14 years. Our homeschool is very eclectic with mostly using books instead of textbooks. Combining lapbooking and notebooking have served us very well.

  92. I have found notebooking to work better for my oldest dd, but need to try some more of the ideas you presented here. I think my other dd would do well with lapbooking or a combo. Thanks for sharing your wealth!

  93. I love notebooking and lapbooking. I do the cutting even for my older ones as this cuts down the time required for assembly. We use a different one for different subjects.


  94. With 7 children, almost as soon as we started lapbooking we had a storage problem. The notebooking with lapbook parts has made us all happy. Those children who love it, do lots of it. Those not as keen, do a bit, and I can keep all put away easily.

  95. Katie,
    Thank you so much for compiling and sharing this information as well as your own experiences. I’m looking forward to implementing note booking in my classical, Charlotte Mason influenced homeschool.

  96. I love using lap books and notebook pages with my kids, it seems like they are more into it and retain more information

  97. Extremely helpful. Can’t wait to work with this.

  98. Using lapbooks with older students can be challenging, as we tend to associate it with elementary level studies, but our history co-op has found a way to make a ‘lapbook’ timeline, and it is beginning to take shape! And notebooking is such a great way of recording history and science studies! Looking forward to discovering new ways of incorporating ideas into upper level work! Thanks for your suggestions!

  99. I’m new to homeschooling and lapbooks/notebooks. I love the idea and all the different creative ways you can layout the information. I look forward to learning more from your awesome blog. Thanks for your hard work!

  100. Thank you for the informa5tion!

  101. We have used note booking and lap books for 22 years in my home school. Not only have they been fun and given us a wonderful set of keepsakes but this concept really works to help children engage and retain.

  102. I am soooo glad I found out about you all this is such a help to homeschoolers and a great resource for notebooking.

  103. I’m new at this whole thing and actually I could use some help! :)

  104. I have to try notebooking. I know that for my learning style, this would’ve been very helpful. It is also a great way to get children to practice writing neatly.

  105. I am just starting out on the homeschooling journey with my three year old and i love the idea of the two together. I want to try this because so far we have only focused on notebooking pages thus far.

  106. Thank you for all of the resources!

  107. I just downloaded the birds notebooking. I have never done this with our home schooling before, but I think my 6 yr old will absolutely love it! Thank you so much!

  108. My middle daughter has been an avid lap booker for 6 years, I’ve been showing her more and more note booking and now she’s excited to incorporate more in our schooling.

  109. What a great combination. I have never thought to combine the two but it looks like it would work great. Thanks for the idea.

  110. Thank you! Our kids love notebooking and lapbooking. I have always had difficulty with notebooking, and this is a great way to tap into both.

  111. Lots of great ideas! Thank you so much!

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