Category Archives: Scripture Study

Composition Notebooks: Narrating, Organizing Papers, and Record Keeping at the Same Time

When I first started homeschooling, I used 3-ring notebook pages for my girls to record their school assignments on. It didn’t take long to decide that was a mess – the notebooks were huge and took up so much space on the table, they wore out quickly,  they took up a ton of space on the book shelf, and worst of all, the papers would tear out and be messy.

On the suggestion of a friend on the SCM forum, I decided to try using composition notebooks instead. They cost less than a $1, they are compact, they are small, they do not weigh a lot, and little hands can easily maneuver them about. I also made the executive decision that there were not going to be as many notebooks, so I combined history, geography, and science in one book since often it is hard to separate them. My younger girls officially started “real” school in 2014-2015, and I made them their own notebooks. We filled in the last pages of them last month, and what an unexpected treasure they were.

These are the actual notebooks. They span from August 2014 to March 2017. School years are separated by sticky tabs.

These are a couple of the science entries:

Some History entries:


I finally started dividing pages for multiple entries as well:

We also have separate notebooks for their Bible Studies:

As I was filing them away in their portfolios, my husband and I spent some time looking through them. It was particularly gratifying to me as we did because my youngest daughter kept looking over our shoulders, explaining what each page and drawing meant. I learned several things that night:

  • We are doing work and progressing, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the day-to-day trenches.
  • That knowledge was a very great blessing to me as I have struggled with my health at the beginning of this school year. (I am doing much better now. Still have issues, but I can function again!)
  • Narration works. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t always have to be “pretty” and “perfect.” Drawing, writing, speaking, acting: it all adds up and makes incredible differences in the ability to remember things.
  • The kids love to see and think about the things that they know. What a great refresher course for them, too!

In Answer to a Reader’s Question…

I had a reader ask me a question that I thought I would answer in a post. She asked Continue reading

During Trials of Faith

I recently read the March issue of the Ensign and really appreciated the article titled “When Doubts and Questions Arise” by Adam Kotter. There were some excellent suggestions in it, and this particular quote caught my eye:

“…Elder Neil L. Anderson…asked:

“How do you remain ‘steadfast and immovable’ during a trial of faith? You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, and you serve others.

“When faced with a trial of faith—whatever you do, don’t step away from the Church! Distancing yourself from the kingdom of God during a trial of faith is like leaving the safety of a secure storm cellar just as the tornado comes into view.”

Elder Andersen also taught that “faith … is a decision.” The Lord will not force your intellect or your obedience. You must choose faith intentionally! That choice does not violate your intellectual honesty; it is evidence of eternal and divine respect for your agency.”

To read the complete article, click here.

The Smile of God’s Approval

Courage Not Compromise

“We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully but also as the determination to live decently. As we move forward, striving to live as we should, we will surely receive help from the Lord and can find comfort in His words.”

~ President Thomas S. Monson

from Be Strong and of a Good Courage, Ensign, May 2014

Bearing Fruit

Gospel Principles

“The gospel principles never change. They are the same in all ages. And in general the needs of people are the same in all ages. There are no problems which have befallen us except those which have been the common lot of men from the beginning. And so it is not difficult to take the principles of the everlasting word and apply them to our specific needs. The abstract truth must live in the lives of men if they are to bear fruit.”

~ Teaching, No Greater Call, pg. 9-10

The Power of the Word

Understanding Scripture

“Let us not treat lightly the great things we have received from the hand of the Lord! His word is one of the most valuable gifts He has given us. I urge you to recommit yourselves to a study of the scriptures. Immerse yourselves in them daily so you will have the power of the Spirit to attend you in your callings. Read them in your families and teach your children to love and treasure them.”

~President Ezra Taft Benson

 from The Power of the WordEnsign, May 1986, 82

Parents’ Teaching Partnership

I have been slowly reading through Teaching, No Greater Call. I am to the part where it is specifically talking about intentional teaching in our homes. There were two chapters dedicated to parents – one as a father and one as a mother. I also enjoyed the chapter on parents having a teaching partnership. There were some great ideas in there for intentional parenting as well as ways to build a marriage up. Take a look:

“In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve explain that fathers and mothers “are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). This partnership is especially necessary in parents’ sacred responsibility to teach their children.

In a general conference address, President Boyd K. Packer read Doctrine and Covenants 27:15, 17: “Lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, … taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” After reading this passage, President Packer explained the importance of mothers and fathers working together to help their children take the “shield of faith”:

“That shield of faith is not produced in a factory but at home in a cottage industry. …

“… Our Father’s plan requires that, like the generation of life itself, the shield of faith is to be made and fitted in the family. No two can be exactly alike. Each must be handcrafted to individual specifications.

“The plan designed by the Father contemplates that man and woman, husband and wife, working together, fit each child individually with a shield of faith made to buckle on so firmly that it can neither be pulled off nor penetrated by those fiery darts.

“It takes the steady strength of a father to hammer out the metal of it and the tender hands of a mother to polish and fit it on. Sometimes one parent is left to do it alone. It is difficult, but it can be done.

“In the Church we can teach about the materials from which a shield of faith is made: reverence, courage, chastity, repentance, forgiveness, compassion. In church we can learn how to assemble and fit them together. But the actual making of and fitting on of the shield of faith belongs in the family circle. Otherwise it may loosen and come off in a crisis” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 8; or Ensign, May 1995, 8).

The following suggestions can help parents develop a more effective teaching partnership.

Taking Time to Plan Together

As parents, you should set aside specific times to discuss your children’s needs and plan how to meet those needs. One busy couple discovered that holding weekly planning sessions together became one of the most valuable things they did as parents. They said:

“Although it took us almost a year to make our weekly planning session a habit, we now wonder how we ever got along without it. It helps us have more interest in what the other is doing. It helps us realize how important we are to each other and to our children. It gives us time to look at ourselves and at the children and decide on a course of action to meet our problems. We also plan our dates, special times with the children, details for family home evenings, and Sunday activities. It usually takes about 30 minutes, occasionally longer if big events or unusual problems need more talking over.”

As you plan ways to teach your children, prayerfully consider the following questions:

  • What should happen in the lives of our children as a result of our teaching?
  • Which specific gospel principles should we teach in order to accomplish this?
  • How should we teach these principles?

Suggestions for using these questions are found in “Preparing Lessons,” pages 98–99, and “Creating Lessons from Conference Talks and Other Resources,” pages 100–101.”

As usual, I can see the benefits of this not only for our intentional parenting and gospel teaching, but also in tweaking it for our homeschool situation. =)