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Notebooking Using P.A.P.E.R. Method with Life of Fred

Notebooking with Life of Fred math books

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Busy Boys Brigade has been using a new method in our approach to learning with our Life of Fred books-notebooking! We continue to do lesson extensions to extend our adventures with Fred. Notebooking has added an extra touch of organization and independent learning that has taken my older boys to the next level.

All of my boys enjoy our lesson extensions for their Life of Fred math, language arts, and reading. The hands-on, creative activities provide their variety of learning styles with opportunities to solidify topics covered in each chapter. Crafts, snacks, and games get my boys involved, engaged, and excited about our homeschool!

I began to notice, however, that my two older boys, Captain and Professor, were going to need a bit more. Captain (7th grade), in particular, required more structure and opportunity to practice higher level writing skills. I wanted to make sure that he had the ability to take notes and process lessons-written or oral.

I feel that it is vitally important for kids to learn how to take notes. The skill of taking effective, efficient notes can carry a student far in both their academic and everyday lives.  I was fortunate to have an 8th grade teacher who dedicated a large portion of our school year to helping my class take notes that reflected the topic of chapter or lecture (and not just doodles!)  When we began homeschooling, I knew that I wanted to pass this gift down to my boys.


What is Notebooking?

Notebooking is a educational tool that allows students the opportunity to process and express their thoughts related to a subject. Jimmie Lanley at The Notebooking Fairy provides a wealth of information and resources (like free printables!) on notebooking. You can find more of Jimmie’s awesome notebooking resources at her other site, Jimmie’s Collage.

Life of Fred books are excellent for notebooking. As I have stated before, Life of Fred chapters present just enough information for learning a concept. Readers are given “teasers” that intrigue further research. Also, readers are encouraged to think through a problem, as well as process associated concepts.

As Captain and Professor began to work through Life of Fred Intermediate Math Kidneys (first book in that series), I recognized that the occasion for notebooking had arrived! I could see where they needed more when answering their Bridge questions (at the end of each chapter for assessment of understanding). Both boys needed more time and space to really dig deeper into the presented concepts.notebooking Life of Fred

Reasons Why We Use Notebooking With Life of Fred

  • organization of thoughts and Bridge questions
  • flexibility of how concepts will be presented in notes
  • development of recognition of important facts, figures, and formulas
  • learn important study skills
  • opportunity to express self in variety of ways
  • lengthens amount of time processing chapter topics
  • area to note concepts that need further study or practice
  • extra practice of important facts, figures, and formulas
  • creation of educational keepsake
  • increased self-confidence with independent work

Each boy selected their own notebook and got to work. Initially, I did not have any rules or guidelines. I wanted to see where their notebooking led them and watch the process evolve. As I observed their notebooking with Life of Fred Kidneys, I started a list of reminders and suggestions.

notebooking Life of Fred

I wanted a way for my boys to remember my expectations for their notebooks. I created 2 reminders for their use-and I’m so excited to share them both here!

The first method uses the acronym P.A.P.E.R.

P=Prepare materials

A=Attend to your reading; pay attention to details

P=Pause (take time to think about what was presented)

E=Extract (take these thoughts and put into your own words)

R=Record (take notes, draw pictures, etc. of your ideas on the concepts)

To get your free printable P.A.P.E.R. Method Approach to Notebooking, click on image below!


notebooking Life of Fred


The second method is a checklist for {Life of Fred} Notebooking.  The boys glued this checklist to the inside cover of their notebook to refer to prior to and during notebooking.

 To get your free printable Life of Fred Notebooking Checklist, simply click on image below.


Notebooking is a new educational tool for our homeschool. My older boys have already gained so much from this hands-on, visual approach. I plan on sharing future ideas that incorporate this inclusive method of learning for different ages and subjects.

[bctt tweet=”Notebooking {with Life of Fred} Using P.A.P.E.R. Method-Includes printable bookmarks & checklist!”]

If you have any questions about P.A.P.E.R. approach to notebooking, Life of Fred books, or homeschooling, please email me or leave a comment below.


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  1. I’d love to use the paper method and the printable you created. Unfortunately, the link is dead. Can you send it to me?

  2. I love the idea of notebooking with Life of Fred. Both of the links are broken. I would love to see the checklist in particular.

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