Monday, May 19, 2008

History Notebooks for our Projects

We have a three step technique that works well for us in organizing our history work at the dialectic level.

The first step is for weekly use.  I purchased clipboards in the dc's favorite colors at the office supply store.  At a glance,  we can tell whose is whose.  On the top for easy and frequent reference throughout the day is their weekly assignment sheet that they can check off as they go.

Behind their weekly schedules, they keep their discussion questions for the week and map of the week for handy reference and ease of use.

The second step is the collection of a year's worth of work.  At the end of the week these go into their history notebooks.  I bought each of them cool notebooks with little pockets.  They can insert little pictures of their studies as they like.  Here is dd's of ancient history. She drew and colored pictures of pyramids and the ark. Can you tell?

The old schedules go in the front.

They have a section for their discussion questions.

There is a section for their maps.

There is a section for their history writing assignments.

The third step is binding everything into a portfolio at the end of the year.  The dc take everything out of their notebooks and group everything according to date/culture studied. They also take all the flat stuff from the past history presentations to add to the portfolio. Those go into a decorated 3 ring notebook.  Here is dd's Ancient History.

We covered a plain notebook in burlap. They stamped the title with gold ink onto dark brown cardstock, cut out with fancy scissors and glued on.  The gold thing was a project from their study of Ancient Egypt.  (We can't remember what it's called!  A cartouche?)  It was made of clay and engraved with their name in hieroglyphics, then painted.  Then they used raffia to decorate as they wished.  We covered the inside covers with black cardstock.  Here is ds'.

I printed out on cardstock all the wonderful comments family members sent when I e-mailed pictures and descriptions of our unit celebrations.   These are on the yellow cardstock.  At the final history presentation last year, the grandmas each gave the children notecards with a lovely note and money!  The notecards are pasted in the inside cover.  (The money has been spent!)

Then the dc took cardstock to decorate dividers for each culture/time period studied.  DD liked to research the types of food each of the ancient cultures ate.  Those menus were pasted on the fronts of her cardstock.  Then she designed borders using designs known to that culture.  She also tried to use colors known for the cultures.  Here's one for Mesopotamia.

Here's her Mayan menu.

Inside the dividers the dc put all their work from that culture, including maps, questions, papers, and art projects.  Many items seen in the unit celebration can be seen here.  This summer I hope to make copies of photos of the unit celebrations for them to add to these sections.  Here's a paragraph that dd wrote and turned into a pop-up on Egypt.

Here's her Creation book.

Here's her Phoenician dye project.

Here's her string art using Greek mathematics.

Here's her tortoise mask from her play, "The Tortoise and the Hare."

DS did original artwork for his dividers.  Here are the Inuits.

The Phoenicians...

For the Persians he designed a rug.

Here is part of his Egyptian costume that went inside the dividers.

Here are some of his overlay maps.

Here is one of his early paragraphs on how the Mesopotamians observed comets.  He designed this little book to display his little paragraph.  (Since we were beginning to learn to write well with IEW, we started with simple paragraphs.  Those were easy to display as pop-ups.  We haven't done pop-ups in a long time, because now their papers are much longer.)

When you open it, you see a pop up of a comet, which moves (he designed this himself)....


Watch the comet move...

That comet zooms across the sky!

That's our 3 step process of storing a years worth of history studies!  I am sure it will look different by the time the dc start rhetoric! 


  1. Those were wonderful. Thanks so much for the detail. :-)

  2. counterculturalmomMay 19, 2008 at 3:17 PM

    All I can say is WOW! Now I am intimidated to start, since I know how it *should* be done, LOL!

    We will probably adopt your clipboard idea, and we will continue notebooking, but even I could not have done what your kids did...and my kids inherited my less-than-crafty-nowhere-near-artsy gene :-(

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful work! I do want to incorporate your menu idea for the feasts we have planned next year. We could post the menu with photos from the feasts.


    Molly in GA

  3. These are wonderful! I'm sure these notebooks will be treasured for a long time!

  4. I love the way you put all your work together. What a great keepsake and reference resource for your kids. Wonderfully presented.

  5. Okay....I'm sending this to all my TOG friends who say I'M an over-acheiver!

    Thanks for the inspiration! I can't wait to show this to my kids.

  6. Rebecca in East TNMay 20, 2008 at 10:35 AM

    Y'all did a great job. I am always impressed with what your family is doing. Now what were you up to back when your children were LG age??? Thanks for sharing!

  7. You should really go into a homeschool organization business or something. At the very least, write a book. =)

  8. Just started using TOG this year with my 5 yr old for 1st grade. I've been trying to heed the advice and go lightly and focus on the concrete things like occupations, clothing, geography, etc (We've only completed Egypt so far)...but I do know that the gold thing that you mentioned is called a "cartouche". We didn't make one (b/c he doesn't enjoy playdoh/clay work) but, we did print one out with my son's name in hieroglyphics which he LOVES to show everyone!

    I also enjoyed looking at the creation book pictures which is what we start this week...hopefully that won't be too much crafts for him.

    Ginger in TX

  9. Hi Ginger! Just find the craft type stuff he does enjoy and work things around that. He's a bit younger than my kids were when they started TOG (preteens). If he likes sticker books, do a sticker creation book. Also if the graduated pages are too much, just make a regular book. If he prefers color books, let him do a color book. Just let him have fun! When he gets older he might be up to trying other aspects of crafts! You want to leave enough stuff to be new for the D and R rotations!