Notebooks in our Charlotte Mason Homeschool (Form 1)

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If you’re new to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, you may have heard about narrations and notebooking. Narrations and notebooks are a key piece of a Charlotte Mason lesson.

And some of you have asked about how we use notebooks in our homeschool. So in today’s post, I’m sharing our notebooks.

stack of notebooks on the dining table.

What is notebooking in the Charlotte Mason method?

Charlotte Mason assigned a variety of notebook work to her students. In this post, I’m not going to cover all of the notebooks for every grade. Instead, I’m going to share what we are currently using.

Narrations are a key piece of a Charlotte Mason lesson. And we use our notebooks for narrations and student work.

These can be written or drawn narrations.

Form 1 Notebooks

This year I have 3 students in form 1! Next year, my oldest will move to form 2 and I’ll have two in form 1a (upper and lower).

Those of you unfamiliar with the Charlotte Mason forms, form 1 covers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. 1st grade (form 1b), 2nd grade (form 1a lower), 3rd grade (form 1a upper).

So, those are the notebooks I’m sharing in this post. As we move through the forms, I’ll give updated information on what we’re using.

Narration Notebooks – we don’t use notebooks for each subject yet. And we don’t notebook for every single lesson. The students narrate after each lesson. Sometimes I will record the narrations, sometimes the students will give both an oral and drawn narration. And sometimes, my older student (form 1a upper) will give a short written narration. We use a simple composition notebook with blank pages for narration notebooks.

Here are a few of our favorite options:

Math Notebooks – we are following this Charlotte Mason math program this year and use gridded notebooks like these for our math notebooks.

Truth, Beauty, Goodness – these are our fancy notebooks. They’re a bit pricey, but they will last for several years. These notebooks are used for recording bible/catechism, composer, and artist/picture study. In the future, we will use them for recitations too. Check them out here.

Geography Notebook – My form 1a students are using a geography notebook for keeping their map work. My other students do geography work in sand trays and don’t use this notebook this year. Initially we used a sketching notebook, but it was too small. So we are moving to use these softcover notebooks with blank pages for map work.

Nature Notebook – We are using these moleskin notebooks for watercolor nature observations. Check out how we use them in our favorite nature study resources post.

classroom set up with wall time line, posters, and chalk board.

Word book – This is for my form 1b student and we write down new words that he learns during his reading lessons. We are using these simple composition notebooks for recording words learned in our reading lessons.

Book of Centuries – this is not something we are using yet, but it’s a commonly asked about notebook. Book of centuries will be used later on for the older students to record dates in history. Instead, we are using a century wall timeline to track these dates. I’m actually thinking about using a book of centuries for myself as part of my mother culture and as an aid in lesson planning.

Copywork Notebook – used for writing lessons. We have been using these composition notebooks for writing. As we move up in grades, we are moving to these lovely floral cover composition notebooks (college rule).

Commonplace/Motto Book – Typically started in form 2. My form 1a upper student has expressed interest in keeping a commonplace book after observing me using mine. I found these notebooks with the Charlotte Mason motto on them that she’s currently using. I’m using these notebooks for my commonplace book.

I think that it’s important for us as mother teachers to also keep a variety of notebooks. This is encouraging to the the children in their work as well. I have a post covering my mother’s notebooks here.

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