My Homeschool Notebooking Journey: Part 2
Ever wonder exactly why notebooking is superior to worksheets and quizzes? It’s because of the little horseshoe-shaped organ in the brain—the amygdala. This important learning center of the brain is activated when a person is engaged in creativity, especially when it involves the use of his memory. Creativity and memory are closely linked and, when stimulated, grow new neural pathways connecting many other regions of the brain.
In short, notebooking literally grows brain cells. This is why notebooking increases and almost guarantees retention.
NOTEBOOKING’S EFFECT ON THE BRAIN
All learning produces temporary chemical changes in the brain. When taking in new information, chemicals flow through the existing neurons.
But in order to grow the new neurons and neural pathways required to retain knowledge, the child must do something physical. As Charlotte Mason tells us, a child must produce something for knowledge to be assembled.
And there is no better way than through notebooking—from the earliest years all the way through high school.
No matter how rudimentary a notebook drawing is, neural pathways are developing. Even if it’s just stick figures, the act of physically creating something from his learning is how a child’s genuine education occurs.
When a child notebooks, he gains ownership of the ideas and knowledge he encounters, and these ideas are like a spiritual organism. Once the child has put pen to paper and exhibited his knowledge gained, the ideas become the life force for more ideas to germinate and bear fruit.
In essence, notebooking is the means for giving your children the best kind of education.
An education that increases retention and becomes a garden wherein novel ideas may sprout up and blossom.
Through the continual use of this methodology, your child is developing one of the most important and vital habits needed for success.
The habit of attention.
NOTEBOOKING’S EFFECT ON ATTENTION
Charlotte Mason tells us attention is simply, “…the act by which the whole mental force is applied to the subject in hand.” “The act of bringing the whole mind to bear.”
When a child is creating his written or visual narration, he’s focused. He’s attending to the material and his unique, creative reproduction of it. He’s thinking about it more deeply, even more deeply than when he’s engaged in discussion using oral narration. The child is visualizing and imagining the content. And this mental picture becomes permanent.
“Of course, that which they visualize, or imagine clearly, they know; it is a life possession.” Charlotte Mason
This has been confirmed over and over to me throughout my homeschooling experience.
Even recently I discovered anew how deeply ingrained the knowledge becomes when a child creates something from which he learned.
The other day, while working on my Notebook University class, I gathered all the binders that house my children’s notebooking pages. I decided to take them out of the binders and put them into scrapbooks according to subject matter. Of course, I wish my children’s notebooks had been preserved in beautifully bound books such as the notebooking journals I sell in my store, but alas, I did not know how precious these treasured pages would be to me when my children were grown and gone.
Their notebooks are the living books my children created, documenting all our wonderful homeschool years of learning and discovering knowledge together.
NOTEBOOKING’S EFFECT ON MEMORY
As I began to assemble one scrapbook, I gathered all of my oldest daughter’s history notebook pages and started to organize them chronologically.
I looked at a page and thought, “Okay, that’s a sphinx. It’s going in Ancient Egypt.” And then, “Oh, these twins with the wolf: Romulus and Remus. They go in Rome.” “This looks like the Salem Witch Trials. It goes into early American history.” I began pasting the pages chronologically in different sections of the scrapbook.
Then I came across a page that I had no clue about. I took a picture of it and texted it to my daughter who is nearly 30 years old. She had created the drawings when she was seven or eight, maybe nine. I texted her, “Do you remember what this picture is about?”
Immediately she replied, “Oh, yeah, that’s a picture of an amphitheater from ancient Greece, where they would put on their plays.” She then began to describe the kind of play pictured in the illustration.
It’s been over 20 years since my daughter drew that picture and she remembers exactly what that picture represents. She remembers exactly why she drew it and how it related to the subject at hand. That illustration had become a permanent visual, solidifying forever the knowledge and ideas learned as a young child.
In that moment, I became more convinced than ever.
Notebooking is truly the most effective methodology for educating our children.