Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Notebooks
 Ho, Hum. Halloween is around the corner and as my children are getting more and more intuitive regarding the world around them, they are full of questions and I don't always have all the answers. Never will.
Part of the reason I love our days together as we're learning and growing...I get to do it too! {grin}
We've been doing some research on Halloween, its origination and what we believe we should do as a family. We've been talking about evil and its existence in our fallen world.
Awhile back I had to catch myself as I disciplined my children and used the "Don't let Satan tempt you in sin" phrase. Satan is not an omnipresent being, nor are his spirits. Sin however is all around us, in us, tempting us daily.
I've been trying to memorize Jude 22 to help with this...
"Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear - hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh."
  (Hate the sin, love the sinner.)
Anyway, back to Halloween. If you've never done research on how it began and why the majority of the world still celebrates the holiday, I would encourage you to do so. This has been one of the most important facets in educating our children. Taking away the grains of our American culture and encouraging our children to think for themselves. It's a hard box to climb out of as an adult!
One thing that we've been slacking on this year is notebooking. So, we made a Halloween notebook this past week as we discussed this largely celebrated holiday. We also love talking about a great alternative to Halloween, the celebration of Martin Luther and his 95 theses (which also occurred on October 31st). In our notebook, we included maps (Britain - where Samhain, Lord of the Dead was celebrated, Ireland - where trick-or-treating began with farmers, and Rome - where Pamona goddess of fruit trees was celebrated with a feast).

(click on above picture for a link to a great book that we love reading as a family)
What I love about notebooking is how one notebook leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to another. Our Halloween notebook has (of coarse) lead to another notebook on Martin Luther, whom we've studied before, but never in full detail and have not yet made a notebook about him. I'm excited! I also made a notebook on Halloween along with the kids and have decided that if I have time, I'll make others alongside them this year also (maybe a Marin Luther one).
The more I learn about how children learn and the more I learn about the learning process in general (just think about how YOU learn as an adult and kids are no different, just needing a little more assistance), the more we've been ditching workbooks and feeling guilty that we didn't do a LESSON. Oh, how detoxing from traditional schooling can be so difficult. Ha! (Guilty as charged.)

I love how every year is an experiment and how it's different from the previous year's learning. I love how diverse each child is and how the learning that we do is just as diverse, each of those diverse qualities from a living, awesome God.
I love this video on notebooking and how this mother of 10 shares her heart about what TRUE learning really is, how she made the plunge into notebooking and has never looked back. (Of coarse, anything introduced to your children needs to be modeled first, so don't be afraid to jump in and do one of your own moms and dads!) It's roughly 13 minutes long, but the good stuff is in the middle and end so keep on watching.
Here are some pictures of my personal notebook (I'm not finished with it, only half-way completed) to give you a few ideas. I'm sure most of you out there are craftier than I am! Anyway, I used to be envious of other homeschooling mamas out there who had one or two children that they homeschooled and at the end of the year had these glorious scrapbooks of all the things they did with their children throughout the year. I simply don't have the time, friends. However, I can make the kids do the work and learn along the way. Two birds with one stone. {wink, wink}

Narration is the telling back to prove comprehension of what was learned. Anyone can fill in the blanks to pass a test, but can they TELL you what they learned. I make this a requirement for my kids (HERE are some great narration ideas) in each book they've read, each biography they study, each project we do, each educational video we watch and each notebook they create. It's essential or why teach it? Charlotte Mason spoke heavily on this topic. HERE is also a great link to a cute bookmark which we love to laminate and use in many of our books. I even have some for myself. :)
If you've been notebooking or have been finding new, fun, alternative ways to celebrate October 31st, I'd love to hear them!

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