An entire post comparing Spiral Bound Notebooks to Binders might be a bit homeschool-geek-ish (at best) but, hey, it IS relevant.
If you are going to commit to Notebooking, the style of Notebooking you use will make a huge difference on your year and potentially even on the success of the Notebooking itself. Often times methods gone wrong can kill the overall philosophy. (You know what I mean?)
So, for those of you who have asked me what style of Notebooks I think is best – this post is for you. Well, actually, I don’t think I’ll answer which is best – I just plan to chat about the pros and cons of various options and our experience with each. Sound good?
And YES – there are other options for Notebooks. For instance, you could file everything away in a file folder, you could also use a hard cover, bound notebook… um, I’m sure there are other options. For ease, I’m comparing the two most widely used Notebooking Systems for this post. *smile*
If you have been following any of my Notebooking posts, you’ll know that this past year, we used pre-made Spiral Bound Notebooks in our homeschool. I made them myself by taking a stack of new 81/2 by 11 inch regular printer paper to Staples and having the paper spiral bound with a clear front and black back. Easy as that – $5 a piece and we were ready to go.
They looked like this:
Here are some of the PROS of Spiral Bound Notebooks:
Spiral Bound Notebooks appeal to the senses and make GREAT keepsakes.
AND – this is pretty much the biggest part of Notebooking – so this ‘pro’ weighs about a ton in the column of ‘pros’ for Spiral Bound Notebooks.
These Spiral Bound ones make them so much like a ‘real’ book. They sit so beautifully on the shelf and are lovely to flip through with double sided sheets and that lovely sound the pages make as they turn… yep, I’m a geek, I know.If you purchased more fancy, expensive ones from Michael’s or something – the ones with the hard backs or enforced book-binding, they would be even prettier!
They encourage the kids (and YOU!) to just let go and get creative.
The pages stay put.
You’ll want to fill them up.
So… here’s what I’ve found – when I have an open Notebook, filled with loads of lovely empty pages waiting to be filled for the year, I’m much more motivated to do Notebooking with the kids. We have this Notebook – it can’t be half-full or not used at all! So, this kind of Spiral Bound Notebook does motivate us to get to work on our Notebooking pages. And this is another HUGE one for me as I need that motivation, Mamas!
Here are some of the CONS of Spiral Bound Notebooks:
If you are working with an 8 1/2 by 11 Notebook, it just might drive you nutty.
There’s no ability to move things around once they’re in there.
There is little to no ability to ‘organize’ content.
You will be wasting paper if you are adding printed Notebooking Pages to the book.
It’s hard to know how many pages you will need at the beginning of the year.
So, after a year of using Spiral Bound Notebooks, I’m in love with Notebooking but a little iffy on how to move forward.
I’ve seen that Debra Reed often uses binders – so I figure they must have some major benefits. *wink*
Alright, so, “The Binder System” is just a really fancy way to say we’re going to put all our Notebooking Pages into a Binder. I know, it’s super advanced.
Our Binders would look like this:
We’ve used the Binder System for Notebooking in the past several times for Five in a Row studies and it always worked well. As I mentioned above, the binders never look as pretty as the Lapbooks or Spiral Bound Books but they are efficient. They do the job they are meant to do quite well.
For our Five in a Row Binders, we actually put every Notebooking Page in a clear page protector and stored them that way – it looks pretty at the end of the year but is pricey in page protectors!
They are super easy to acquire and can be cheap if you want them to be!
You can organize information quite efficiently and easily.
You can move pages around as much as you desire.
There is no pre-set number of pages to fill.
You can add other ‘subjects’ in the binder along with Notebooking pages to keep everything together in one place once the year is done.
Binders would natrually allow you to just plop all those additional lined-paper notebooks in with the Notebooking pages, thus, keeping everything neatly together and reducing the chances of losing anything!Mind you, my heart is telling me that we don’t NEED all those extra spiral bounds if we are just efficient with Notebooking and add everything in there! Hmmmm….
You can slide in page protectors for Lapbooks, Art Projects, etc.
Binders are just easier for ‘storage’ than Spiral Bound Notebooks. If you do a lot of art projects with paint or pastels that you want to save a binder will be an easier place to store them in page protectors. Also, if you add Lapbooks to your year, they can by stored in page protectors within the the binder as well. *sigh* I just love the idea of having somewhere to keep EVERYTHING together, which was a challenge this past year.
You could still potentially bind your work in a Spiral Bound Notebook at the end of the year.
If you really wanted to, you could store your Notebooking Pages in your binder in page protectors and then take them all out and bind them together along with special writing projects, etc. at the end of the year. I don’t think I will do this – but you could!
Here are some CONS of the Binder System:
They are kind of ugly, especially on a shelf as a ‘keepsake’.
You may not be as motivated to ‘fill up’ your Notebook.
As I mentioned in the ‘pros’, this is also a BIG point (especially for me!). I don’t know about you, but there is something about a blank book full of pages that motivates me to fill them up. Without the pages before me, I might not have quite as much motivation to really spend time doing lots of Notebooking Pages to fill up their Notebooks. I might fall into the trap of having them do more worksheets or busy work instead of utilizing Notebooking to its fullest…
The pages are most likely to rip/fall out.
They are binders. They are notorious for having pages tear or fall out over time. So, this could be a problem with a lot of use and/or over time.
When it comes to the ‘how’ of Notebooking – it really is up to you as a homeschooler. You decide what works best for your family and, hey, you can always switch it up if you don’t like it!
The most important thing is this – you are engaging with learning in a way that awakens the mind, heart, and soul and brings your family closer together.
Peace and Love!
Don’t forget to check out my other Notebooking Posts –
And also, my Notebooking/Lapbooking Board on Pinterest!
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