June 29, 2016

NotebookingPages.com: The Homeschool Product I Didn't Know I Needed {Product Review}

Every year that I have been on the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I have been blessed to discover a product that I didn't know I needed. You know, the "where have you been all my life?" kind of things. The first year, it was a math curriculum. Last year, it was a spelling program. Well, I think that I have discovered THIS year's product in the fabulousness known as NotebookingPages.com and their LIFETIME Membership, which we have been reviewing for the last several weeks.
NotebookingPages.com ~ Product Review
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Product Information

What is NotebookingPages.com? This is a website devoted to providing the homeschool family pages and pages of templates for notebooking. What is notebooking? Notebooking is a process of recording what you have learned onto a page using illustrations, photos, drawings, paragraphs, sentences, and more. These can then be kept in binders for easy storage, and easy review. Designed to work for all ages of students, they are a way to enhance what you are already doing, and FREE yourself from endless boring assignments. In a binder and at a glance, you can SEE what your child knows from what you are learning! Think of it as a school scrapbook!

The Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership grants you access to the entire NotebookingPages.com website--the tutorials, the ENTIRE 11,000+ pages for EVERY subject INCLUDING hundreds of BLANK templates that can be customized to fit YOUR needs. Whether you need regular lines or primary lines, there is a template for you. Whether you are studying astronomy, zoology, medieval history, Daniel & the Lions Den, Literature, or music...there is a notebooking page for you. This membership also includes, not only the current material, but any FUTURE material that is created, tutorials, tips, and videos! 

A Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership is just $97 which can be paid in full, or as a four month payment plan--with your first month at just $10. 

We have been using the Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership for the last several weeks in our homeschool.

How Did We Use It?

It was so easy to get started. Once you set up your log-in...you just GO! You will also get some GREAT tutorials right in your email about how to get started incorporating the notebooking. I knew that above all, I needed to get familiar with the program, so I just started poking around on the different tabs. My mind was BLOWN by all the incredible things I saw. Shortly after we received a membership, we were doing our astronomy review...and I thought--I wonder if there is a notebooking page that would go with any of these constellations we are studying...

Cygnus Notebooking Page
Then we needed to write letters to the grandparents--are there any blank letter writing friendly templates? I searched the catalog of "blank templates" and discovered that there were well over 100 blank templates perfect for writing letters. I discovered I could also print out a catalog of all of them for easy reference--so I did and then let the boys scan it and pick what they wanted--oh and there were PLENTY with primary lines for Baby Britches.


As the week went on, we began a literature unit on Mr. Popper's Penguins. So i nosed around and yep, you guessed it.

Keeping tabs of the characters

Illustrating a favorite scene from the book
Baby Britches log of characters

Writing out his character definitions 
It was when we were doing history that I found a nice surprise. Little Britches was studying the mound building Native Americans in our area, so I thought I'd just see if there was a nice Native American themed template. Yep, there was...there was also a mound builder Native American template! And then--we visited Serpents Mound in Peebles, OH...and low and behold, there were notebooking pages specifically FOR the Serpents Mound! 

Are you kidding me?
Just LOOK at how much writing he did! He HATES writing!
I decided to explore their science a bit more, as we were interested in getting back into nature study. Guess what? There was a nature study template section! And it is VERY VERY large. We have bird feeders, so I looked and there was an entire zip folder containing North American Birds notebooking pages--coloring pages, writing pages, and my jackpot find--species research pages! IN primary AND regular lines so BOTH boys can use them. We have been using these pages every single week at least 2 per week since then and have documented at least 12 different species of birds!
Common name, scientific name, details, and blank lines
We have been using at least two sets of notebooking pages every week since we began this review and have dabbled in science, history, social studies, literature, copywork, and bible pages.

What Are Our Thoughts?

Little Britches: 
I really like these. They are easy to fill out and I like that I can draw and color them. My favorite are the science pages because we get to spend a lot of time learning about different animals to fill them out.
We spent 45 minutes of this research...it was FABULOUS!
Baby Britches: 
I like the bird pages, because I like coloring the birds.

Where do I start? Have you picked up on the fact that I think this is the best thing since sliced bread? You see what this year has revealed to me is that we do best with unit study style stuff. And these pages do just that! They are a perfect match to the unit study style! It's no wonder everything works so well for us.

What do I like the most?

1. You can find a notebooking page that will go with ANYTHING--and if you can't, there are hundreds of blank ones for you to use!
Seriously. I have YET to find something that there wasn't at least a generic template for. I wanted one for Nero and the Roman Gladiators and poof--both there! I didn't find one for something else I was doing...can't remember what now--but there were great blank templates to pick from that worked just fine.

2. The table of contents for every zip file can be printed, AND you can print a catalog of the entire zip file. 
This is soooo fabulous. I printed off these for each zip file I downloaded so I can have them in a binder for quick reference instead of having to open the zip file or go online to see. I plan on having these printed for every zip file available because I know it will save me so much time later.
A fabulous topics list so I don't have to guess
3. Everything is available in primary lines AND regular lines.
This is so awesome for those of us teaching multiple grades at once. Now each boy can use the version that works best for them. In fact, in the bird files for example--if I want the American Robin, BOTH sets of lines will be in the same download! No hunting around! Everything that is available in regular lines is pretty much available in primary lines. AND when I open the files on Adobe Reader, the Adobe table of contents has them sectioned out for easy clicking!
Sample from the blank template catalog file
4. A wide range of options for notebooking.
I love that the pages come in a variety of template styles. There are cutesy, graphic, plain, colored. There are some for lots of writing, some for lots of illustrations, some for a bit of both. There are even some for making little 3D minibooks that can be glued on! Whether you need one for research paper styles or a simple sentence. There is one that will work.
3D Matchbooks for the characters in our story
5. Search option!
What's not to love about a search option on a website? NotebookingPages.com has one that will take you to just the notebooking pages you need. Forget searching through all the files! Click the search tab, and it opens up a search bar. Type in your topic and it pulls up all the files that match!

6. LIFETIME membership
Seriously. Can we just not take a moment to talk about how awesome a LIFETIME membership is? No renewal. No frantic downloading. No being bummed about missing out on new stuff. I will have access to EVERYTHING....FOREVER! Take a moment to let that sink in. Doesn't that make the cost of $97 seem piddly in the grand scheme of things?

Okay. So maybe you need to "try before you buy". Well, Notebooking Pages doesn't short you there. If you want to try before you buy, you can have a FREE 600+ page sampler. YES-- 600+ pages...for FREE! Seriously...do it. This will give you an incredible chance to see how this concept of notebooking will work for you!

After all of that...is there anything I don't like?

1. You have to download all the pdfs before opening them.
Yeah. This annoys me. Every file on the website is set to an automatic download, NOT one that opens in a separate tab that you can print from. This annoys me...because if it's not something I want to keep for use later, I have to go back through and delete them from my hard drive. I had a computer savvy person double check and she says that it's the way the files are set up. I can't even do an "open in a new window" option. It bypasses all my settings and goes straight to my hard drive.

2. Primary lines don't always print properly.
For some reason, when I open the file to print, the dotted lines in the primary lines won't print. FORTUNATELY, I discovered thanks to another crew member that if I open the files in Adobe Reader this won't happen...and it's true. NO more problems when I use Adobe to read and print. 

And...that's it! Just two things, one of which I already fixed. 

Will we continue to use this product?
LOL. Um. YES!!! In fact, I plan on using it for nearly every subject next year. I am shaking things up and getting back to what works for us (Unit Studies) and these are going to be the icing on my cake of making things so much easier! 

Would I Recommend This Product?

Let me share a little something. I have seen this product for a long time. I have a friend who kept talking about how awesome it was. I even saw the 600+ page free sampler. I love freebies, but I didn't do anything about it. I mean--I didn't think I wasn't a notebooker (WRONG!) so it had no place in my homeschool. But then I kept wanting to take our stuff further to document what we were learning and I was having to search all over to find what I wanted--I didn't realize that it was already done for me! But that $97 pricetag kept blinking at me. $97 seemed like so much to spend on something like this.

But let me tell you--I WAS WRONG! 
This could have been the best $97 I had ever spent on homeschool stuff if I had just given it a chance. 

Are you looking for a way to record what your child is learning in a way that will allow their individual creativity to shine? Are you looking for a way to record all the information you find on your rabbit trails? What about keeping a record of your nature study? Or book reports? Or biographies? What about narration and dictation with your children? Literature units? Are you looking for a way to provide ONE thing that is grade appropriate for all your students? Please consider this awesome product! 

Who won't like it? Um. Traditional schoolers? I really can't think of anyone else who might not like it. I think that it would work for ANY style of teaching because of the vastness of what is included on the website.

So let me put it simply--if you homeschool...you really need to check NotebookingPages.com out. It might help you simplify what you are already doing--and take it to the next level at the same time!

Want to Know More?

We had the pleasure of reviewing the Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership from NotebookingPages.com. We CLEARLY enjoyed it, but only scratched the surface of the vastness of what this website offers. I encourage you to check out what some of the other crew members did with THEIR membership!
Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
Stay up to date with the latest sales and newest products by following NotebookingPages.com on these social media sites!

Now that my eyes have been opened to NotebookingPages.com, I can't imagine ever not having it at my disposal! I am going to be using it like crazy and planning future lessons around pages in it. This truly is our product I didn't know I needed for 2016!
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