Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Commonplace Books

Upon doing some research, I found that Commomplace Books were common in the Middle Ages and up to the 19th century.

People like Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson kept these treasures and in the 1600's, compiling Commonplace Books was formally taught to college students at Oxford.

I guess commonplacing is the same as journaling, scrapbooking or blogging. Perhaps some would view this practice as "old-fashioned". No matter, the idea appeals to me and will easily be incorporated into our homeschool.

Inspired by Harmony Art Mom and her use of Commomplace Books, I went out and purchased the supplies for each of my children to start their own.

When I started telling my children about them, my oldest said that she knew what they were. She said they are mentioned frequently in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Go figure!

The part that intrigues me the most is the organization of information that is kept in these books. Although I think it will be challenging, we will work on keeping an index for their books so they can easily find past entries.

Here is how we are starting:

  • We each have a small 3-ring binder (7 X 9 inches).
  • I cut 8.5 X 11 inch paper in half and punched holes in it.

What will we put in them? Poetry, quotes, narrations, picture studies, newspaper clippings, nature sketches, etc.

The book should be personal so there is no right or wrong way to put them together.

My research on this project will continue.

In the meantime, I had the kids each decorate the covers of their books however they wanted and I have the paper that goes inside ready to go.

I like this idea so much that I made a Commonplace Book for myself.

These two were eager to get their first entries into their books.


Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Fantastic! I am so glad I could help you get started. I have been thinking that we might keep ours in binders as well and then tab the different topics or books. You are so right that there is no right or wrong answer....I love the feel of yours like a scrapbook of learning.

Great start! Thanks for sharing with me.

Mominpa said...

where is the "like" button? lol

I REALLY like this idea!!!

Dana Wilson said...

This is a wonderful past time as well as an active learning tool! One of my children has filled up several books already and still continues the practice - she is 21 now and in college! Thank you for a great post. I'm glad I found your blog!

Epi Kardia Home Education

Christine said...

I love the idea of commonplace books! Thank you so much for sharing!