Keeping a Book Journal Instead of Book Reports

Reading is a huge thing for children. We need to teach them to love to read. So how do we do that while still knowing what they are reading? Take out the book reports and give them a book journal instead!

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Book reports suck the fun of reading out of the book. You need to spend the time paying attention so that you can write words on paper, be it the number of words or the number of pages you need to write. Kids start to not want to read because of having to write a book report after reading the book.

So, what do you do instead? How do you know your kids are reading the books they say they are? As I was reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, I found out about book journals. While this book is written for public school teachers, there is a wealth of information for homeschoolers as well!

Book Journals over Book Reports

I have modified the idea of the book journal from Donalyn Miller to make it work for us. However, I loved her idea of allowing a child to abandon a book that just doesn’t fit for the child. I know that I have found some books that just didn’t work for me to finish, so I agree with allowing our children to do the same.

That is why I have a section in my new book journal that not only allows us to track the books the kids have read, but also write down the books they have started and abandoned. Within this section, I have a notes column. Kids are able to write down notes about the books they have read, but they can also write down notes on the books they abandoned. Who knows, maybe they will come back to these books later.

How Do We Use the Book Journal

This is the fun part, you use it how you want! you can print the pages and just use it as it is. You can put it in a three-ring binder, bind it with a binding machine, or staple it and go. But you can also use it as a notebooking guide. You can take the pages and cut and glue them into a regular notebook. Make your child a whole notebook full of remembering the books they have journeyed through, and keep it for your records of what they have done.

Not only do you have the chance to list the books that have been read, but you also get the chance to write down the books your child wants to read. Let them take control over this. Let them find books they want to read and write them down.

I also take this further by giving space for your child’s favorite quotes from the books they read, their favorite parts of books they have read, their favorite characters from the books they have read, and a list of their favorite books. By having my kids write down these favorites, I know if they read the book or not.

I also have one page to allow children to track the different genres they are reading. This is something new for me. I hadn’t thought about making my kids read different genres, I was just happy to have them reading! This year we are making a few changes to our reading time. Not only do we have daily drop everything and read time, but we are also exploring different books and genres. I can’t wait to see what this will bring forth in my kids!

Grab Your Own Book Journal

I am in love with the book journal I have created. My kids love that I don’t pester them about the books they are reading when I can grab their journal and see for myself.  My kids love the fact that I trust them to pick books they will read. They get ideas and recommendations from me, but ultimately, I leave the choice up to them.

Give your child the freedom of their reading and allow them to love reading, by having them fill out a book journal instead of numerous book reports by grabbing your copy right here.


A Planner for the Home

I am so excited! After spending some time playing around with ideas, I finally did it! I made a basic planner for the house. Or a mom planner, or dad planner, whatever you want to call it!

This planner is simple. It is not for homeschool lessons, but you could make it work if you wanted. Or you wait while I brainstorm up a way to make a homeschool lesson planner

In my Home Planner, you will find un-dated monthly calendar pages. I left them un-dated, because I know this is way past the beginning of the year, so you can start whenever you want AND you can reuse this time and again.

I have included a Monthly View in this planner. This will allow you to plan out your month a little more in detail. List your Top 3 goals, must do things, important dates. This is the page for you to plan out your month.

Breaking it down more, I have included a weekly planner. List out what you need to do each day of the week and have it on hand for a quick glance to see what needs to be done. Also, I have added in a meal planner. Sometimes I menu plan, sometimes I wing it. But, I have had requests for a structured meal plan for each day, so I am using this to help me plan out the meals before I go shopping!

I love knowing what I need to do each day, so I have added in Today’s View. I can take the menu from my weekly plan and list them down for each day. I can focus on the important details, along with my quote for the day. This is something I am starting to help me keep my focus on the good things.

For those working on new habits, I have you covered with a habit tracker. I plan to add some new habits into my daily life. Not only for me but for the rest of the family. This sheet is just what I need.

Grab the Home Planner to get your home in order! ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Are you frustrated with your current curriculum? Are you looking for something fun that will help your kids learn at the same time? Instead of being frustrated and tied down, why not use some fun journaling, and why not make it pretty, or handsome, with the notebboking pages that are designed for them. The Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership at has everything you need for just this!

Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership

What Is It is a website that has a notebooking page for almost everything, with new ones being added. The different topics are A-Z, Bible/Character, Famous People, Fine Arts, Geography, History, Holidays, Language Arts and Science/Nature. Oh, and there is even a section call Any Study. This is where you can pick and choose what you need for your homeschool if it isn't already listed in any of the other sections!

Debra, the owner of, is a homeschool mom herself who wanted something better for her kids. When she wasn't able to find, she made it. And I am thankful that she did! This is our go to page for all things notebooking!


How We Used It

There is no right or wrong way to use this site, just so you know right now. You will decide how you want to use it, and that is what you will do. We have used this site for YEARS, and each time I find something new to use in a new and different way. Each one of my kids use the resources here in different ways and each one loves what they do.

Little Miss

Little Miss is busy learning her letters. I am able to hop on in and find the letter we are learning about in the A-Z section and we can use the pages to go with that letter. We love coloring the big letters and making the fun little books. We are able to draw a picture(s) of things that start with letter and practice writing words that start with that letter. She loves just having her own books to read to Baby Girl.

Ray Ray

Ray Ray is busy learning about birds and clouds this summer. We are finding out that the Charlotte Mason style homeschooing is best for him, and these notebooking pages help us to learn in a different way. I simply printed up some pages on the different birds in our area and let him find the information he wanted to learn about them. He is busy making his own bird book, and loves watching the birds with his book. We have also had fun simply staring at the clouds. The nature study section has a great collection of pages on clouds and we are able to write about what we see and find the difference in the clouds to the weather and how they both seem to change at the same time.

Moe Man

Moe Man is even busy with these pages. He has found a style he liked in the Any Study section and used this as a way to take notes for his government course. He takes one page per lesson and fills it full of what he is learning. There are some really neat little squares on some pages, and he is able to use those to draw what he has read about. This is a fun way of notetaking that you would not get from simple lined paper. I love seeing what he comes up with each day!

What We Thought

I love these pages. I love having that one site that has what I need to make a boring subject fun. That one site where I can replace the worksheets with fun sheets. I love that there are two different styles of lines with each unit and that I can pick and choose which one will work for us each day. The Lifetime Membership has been worth it to our family and we will continue to use these pages long into the future of our homeschooling days. If you have to pick one thing for your homeschool, pick this. This is essential in our homeschool and I think you will feel the same way about it in yours.

A Schoolhouse Crew Review (3)

Want to see how other families have put these pages to use? Head on over and read these other reviews with me. I can't wait to find new ideas to use in our homeschool!

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews


Stop by and show some social media love to Debra!

Twitter:  @NotebookingPgs


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*Affiliate links have been used in this post*




Super Teacher Worksheets ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

What do you do when your child does not understand something? What if you need something fun to practice what you are learning? Where do you go for that? I have fallen in love with the Individual Membership over at Super Teacher Worksheets for just these types of problems!

Super Teacher Worksheets

What It Is

This is a wonderful website that has worksheets and games for preschoolers and beyond. Most of the “grades” are up to the 5th grade, but I loved the practice that these were able to give to Moe Man in the 9th grade when it comes to some subjects!

This is not a full curriculum in any way, but can be used to supplement any curriculum that you may have. All major subjects are covered and within those subjects, all major categories are there. You are even able to make your own extra practice sheets when needed.

How We Used This

I love supplementing when I want my kids to practice something a little more. I don’t like looking all over and wasting my time trying to find just the right thing. That is where Super Teacher Worksheets came into play. I would look at our lesson plan, and look on the menu, find the matching worksheets, pick the one, or two, that I wanted and away we went.

Ray Ray has been asking me for some time to have a color by number like Little Miss had, when I found the scarecrow addition color by number, I was thrilled! Not only did he get what he wanted, mommy got what she wanted by having him practice his addition skills.

Super Teacher Worksheets

When Moe Man forgot about algebraic expressions (really who remembers that stuff anyway!), I was able to find some simple worksheets that refreshed his memory in a fun, non-threatening way. When his double digit multiplication was missing a step, I was able to find fun, colorful worksheets to help him practice. (These simple things are a MUST for him and his learning).

Super Teacher Worksheets

And when Little Miss wanted to be like her brothers, I was able to add some letter worksheets into her daily work! There is truly something for everyone here!

With all the supplementing, I was able to find something for everyone to do in different subjects, so we are using this website daily. Each worksheet is at least two pages, with the answers included. When printing, I would only print the student pages to help save on paper and ink. I could always go back and check the answers on the computer. The only time this did not work was when it was a build your own worksheet. That is where the File Cabinet comes in, just remember to save your worksheet to the file cabinet before you generate it…I forgot this step the first time!

What Did We Think

I love this website! While I was given an individual membership for this review, I have my own account that I set up and purchased before this review. I plan to continue my membership after this review as well. This is a site that I have found very useful in our homeschooling. It is a site that I do use on a daily basis. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

If you need more opinions, check out these other reviews from The Crew! If you do, or have had this membership, what is your favorite feature of it?

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

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FREE Our Lady of Guadalupe Printable Pack


I love learning more about saints. And I love helping my kids learn more about them too! This month, Angie at Real Life at Home has Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego printable pack available to her readers. The cost for family use is free and co-op, class or group use is a $2.50 minimum donation. For 20 pages of fun and learning, those prices sound great to me! Head on over and check this printable pack out for yourself!

15+ FREE Thanksgiving Printables and a Link Up

Thanksgiving is approaching us quickly…Are you learning about it in your homeschool? What are some things you are doing? I have gone around and found some fun printables that you can include in your homeschool learning for this month!

15+ Free Thanksgiving Printables for All Ages

HomeschoolShare, have you heard about them? They have a massive collection of free lapbooks and unit studies that you can use in your house. Some of those include:

Cranberry Thanksgiving Lapbook – We had a lot of fun when we did this last year, and this is a favorite book around our house now.


Amanda Bennett Thanksgiving Lapbook – Although you need the Unit Study from Amanda Bennett, this lapbook is free to use with the Unit Study.

Two of the Unit Studies available on HomeschoolShare are:

A Thanksgiving Wish and Goody O’Grumpity

Speaking of Unit Studies, here are some other free Unit Studies that I found,

Meet Penny has a fun study with links

Modest Mom has a Kindergarten Unit Study on the History of Thanksgiving

Blessed Beyond A Doubt has a wonderful list of Free Thanksgiving Unit Studies


And there is The Road to 31 and her list of Unit Studies to keep you busy!

Unit Studies and Lapbooks are not the only way to study the Thanksgiving holiday. These were great ideas for those older kids, but what about the pre-school/toddler group? They always want to be included in the school day too. Well, there is just as much out there for them as there is for everyone else! Check out some of these fun ideas! has Thanksgiving Picture and Word Tracing to help with those fine motor skills, and the Turkey Feathers Number Matching Game is a great way to introduce math skills!

Over the Big Moon has a Thanksgiving Pre-K Pack and Expansion Pack. Little Miss is loving the Pre-K Packs I have been finding here!

Do-A-Dots, have you heard of them? They are the most addicting thing for the littles in the house! Gift of Curiosity has a Thanksgiving Pack of Do-A-Dot Printables.


3 Dinosaurs has their free Thanksgiving Pack and an Update Pack with some harder work in it.

This Reading Mama has a fun Free Thanksgiving PreK Pack that she has updated and expanded.


And another option is over at Confessions of a Homeschooler with her Thanksgiving Preschool Printables.

And of course…free printables wouldn’t be complete without some printable coloring pages. It is funny how much kids now a days seem to miss out on the just plain coloring. We have been adding more and more of this when they get “bored” and I see a lot of positives in other areas since starting to focus on just plain coloring!

Nest of Posies has a fun collection of Thanksgiving Coloring and activity pages.


Money Saving Mom has a Thanksgiving Color by Number collection, which is something Ray Ray is really starting to enjoy more and more!

And I really love the Just Color Packs from 1+1+1=1. There are so many options here and the Thanksgiving one is full of fun things.

So there you have it, a bunch of fun ideas to keep you busy this month for a low cost to you! Do you have Thanksgiving Printables you want to share? I would love to share them! Just enter your link below and I will share them via social media for you!

20+ Free ABC Printables

20+ FREE ABC Printables


The best part about homeschooling the preschool age is that there isn’t much schooling, but a lot of fun and learning added into that fun. We did some fun things with Ray Ray when he was in preschool, and I am planning out Little Miss’s schedule since she is telling me she is ready for school.

The first thing that we focus on is our ABCs and 123s. You could go out and buy a curriculum, or like me, you can play on Pinterest and make your own “curriculum” or play schedule. I have taken those items and complied them here for you…book lists and free printables and activities for the ABCs this week…next week I will give you the same thing for the 123s.

The first thing…you can’t just hand your child a paper and think they are going to have fun, well some of them will, but for those who don’t, start and continue with fun books. Not only is reading with your children fun, but it helps their minds grow. Here are some fun ABC themed books to get them interested:

ABC Books for Fall

ABC Books for Winter

ABC Books for Spring

ABC Books for Summer

Top 10 Alphabet Books

Animal ABC Books

26 Alphabet Books

Alphabet Activities

ABC Handprints

Crafty ABCs

ABC Activities

Alphabet Weekly Themes

ABC Printables

Free Handwriting Worksheets for Preschool

Learn to Write the ABCs

Alphabet Mazes

Christmas Alphabet Book

Fall Q-Tip Painting Printables

Free Printable ABC Puzzles

Free ABC Handwriting Pages

(A Ton of) ABC Printables

ABC Printable Scripture Cards

Alphabet Do-A-Dot Printables


These are just a few of the many things I have found using Pinterest…I have my ABC Board that I keep adding to and love to have a variety of fun activities without being committed to one curriculum because I had to buy it. Little Miss loves doing different things each day, so if I keep it changing, she keeps having fun!

What do you do to learn the ABCs? Do you have a fun printable you want to share? Post it below in the comments…I would love to “Pin” it and add it to my board to use!

*At the time of posting these items were listed as free.*

10+ FREE Catholic Printables


Who loves free things?? I know I do! With that in mind, I have taken the time to look around other wonderful blogs to see what I could find to share with you. Do you know how much there is if you start looking on Pinterest for printables? Oh My! (At the time of this posting…all the links went to free items.)

To make it a little easier for all involved, I have decided to do a few different posts with a few different topics. This week I am going to share with you some of the Catholic printables I have found and either love or plan to use in the near future! If you want to see more of what I have found…check out my All Things Catholic Pinterest Board.

Have you heard of Real Life At Home? Angie is formerly of Many Little Blessings (where I first found her). She has always had some wonderful Catholic printables to help you learn and have fun with your religion and your family! Here are some of my favorites from Real Life at Home:

St. Francis of Assisi Printable and Worksheet Packet There are 14 pages of fun here. Mazes, copywork, word finds and coloring pages to name a few. Not only do I love St. Francis of Assisi, but I love watching my kids having fun while instilling the ideas and words into their minds and hearts.

The Lord’s Prayer/Our Father Word Search Working on memorizing and practicing the words of prayer are made even more fun when it comes to word searches. Ray Ray loves these! And I love giving him these!

Hail Mary Word Search Another one of those fun ways to work on prayers and have fun while doing it! I love these!

10 October Activities for Catholic Families This may be last years printable…but really, not much changes in a year. I love having these monthly, fun ideas.

The Catholic Toolbox has a lot of fun, free ideas to keep you and your family having fun and learning! If you haven’t checked them out yet, head over there! I love these ideas for the Sign of the Cross.

Coloring…there are lots of coloring books out there, but why would you want to do that when you could print some of these fun Catholic inspired ones? I love to add these in while reading the Bible or doing other things that I need the littles to be quiet for.

Days of Creation Coloring Book

Catholic Coloring Pages (over 480 of them!)

Saints, Holidays, Important People…Find them all here at the Herald Store Free Downloads Section

Miraculous Medal Coloring Page

St. Francis of Assisi Coloring Pages

The Sacraments and Grace

Free Catholic Coloring Pages

Immaculate Conception Coloring Sheet

The Rosary…a very important part of the Catholic faith. How do you teach your kids? Keep them interested? Help them understand? Check out these fun ways to do that!

Joyful Mysteries Cut and Paste Activity

Free Rosary Booklet

How to Make a Rosary With Kids

Rosary Resources for Catholic Classrooms

Oh there are so many more! I could go on all day…and night…and then some more! I will always be adding more to my Pinterest board so please make sure you check there often if you like what you see here!

Do you have Catholic Printables you want to share? Post them in the comments below. I love finding new ones whenever I can!