Why My Children and I Share Our Unschooling Evernote Notebooks

WhyMyChildrenandIShareOurEvernoteNotebooks28229-2

When I signed up for Evernote so did my children. Yes, we all have our own accounts. This allows us to share our notebooks. Why would we want to do that? That’s what I’m going to talk about today!

Whenever I create a new weekly homeschool records notebook, I invite my daughters Sophie and Gemma-Rose to share it. I give them the ability to not only view the notes but to edit them as well. And my girls do the same, sharing some of their notebooks with me.

Here are a few reasons why we choose to share our Evernote notebooks:

1. The girls have access to all the links in my notebooks. For example, whenever we watch an online video, I clip the link into my records book. If the girls want to watch it again, they can access my notebook and follow the link.

 2. I constantly add extra information on things we’ve been discussing to my notebooks. I might say, “You know how we were discussing wind farms? I found a great article that covers all the things we were talking about. I clipped it into this week’s notebook if you want to take a look.”
3. Sharing notebooks means my girls can add their own learning experiences to my notebooks. I can’t keep up with Sophie’s learning. I used to say, “What did you do today? I need to add some notes to the records book.” Now I ask her to add her own notes to my books which is a more efficient way of doing things. Sophie clips Youtube video links, photography and other articles, screenshots of her online coding course, blog posts, screenshots of her blog design work, photos, books, podcasts etc. into the appropriate weekly notebook.
 4. My girls can add information into the records book for my interest. The other day, Sophie watched a Youtube video on the latest Mercenne prime number. I couldn’t remember what differentiates a Mercenne prime from an ordinary one, so I asked Sophie if she could find a definition online and clip it into the notebook for me. (She enjoyed reading the article too.)
 5. My girls can share their own personal notebooks with me which helps with the record keeping. Sophie spends a lot of time researching photography online. She reads articles, watches Youtube videos, and recently she’s even started listening to podcasts. She has an Evernote notebook where she collects links to everything she has discovered. She keeps this notebook for her own interest, but I asked her if she’d share it with me for record keeping purposes. The notebook shows up in my side-bar amongst my own notebooks.

 

Sophie also shares her book notebook with me. She is keeping records of all the novels she reads for her own interest, but I can also use the notebook for record keeping.

 

I could ask Sophie to add everything directly into my record keeping notebooks (see point 3 above) but there are loads of links and other info. She’d flood my weekly notebooks with her photography discoveries. Sharing her whole photography notebook seems an easier way of doing things.

 

 I have a Premium Evernote account, but my girls only have free ones. Well, that’s not quite true. Sophie had a free account until a few days ago. Then on Monday she said, “Mum, I’ve reached my upload limit for the month. I’ll have to stop adding things to my notebooks until next month.” And I replied, “You can’t put learning on hold until then. I’ll upgrade your account.” So that’s what I did. Sophie now has a Plus account.

 

It might seem rather inconvenient that I now have to pay for Sophie’s Evernote account, but I look at it this way: She must be learning a lot. All those notes and links, photos and articles… I think she’s giving herself a wonderful education!So these are a few reasons why my girls and I share our Evernote notebooks. If you have any more ideas about sharing notebooks, please share!

 

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  1. Reply

    Such a lot going on! I have been meaning to ask you this question, did you follow an unschooling method for either Callum or Duncan? I know that boys learn differently and we have hit a really really challenging teen time with Benedict. I know the diabetes and general isolation doesn't help but all he wants to do is play online minecraft games. The problem is he often comes away from the screen time agitated and aggressive :-(. The rest of the time he barely speaks to Dave or myself. I am useless at strewing since I spend most of my time struggling with my own health, exhaustion and caring for the family. I feel like an epic fail not only as. Mum but as a teacher/ mentor. Sorry for offloading here xx

    1. Reply

      San,

      I'm so sorry you're having a hard time at the moment. It's quite okay to stop by and offload. I'm glad you did.

      I've heard kids learn a great deal from Minecraft, but it sounds like the problem is Benedict's reaction to the game and not the computer game itself. I have no experience with children who want to play computer games for long periods of time. When my boys were in their teens, we only had one computer and everyone had to share it. It was a bit frustrating at times! My girls have their own computers and do plays games but not every day or for hours at a time.

      Did I unschool my boys? That question made me think. We slipped into unschooling so gradually I can't recall exactly the moment I could have called ourselves unschoolers. Probably my boys experienced all styles of homeschooling though, regardless of method, I never planned anything. I always took each day as it came. And I did try and follow my kids' interests. But I was the person who was in charge of what we did each day.

      I can see you are worried about Benedict and want to help him. I've had times when I haven't known what to do either. (I'm thinking about my eldest daughter, in particular.) It does feel like we're failing when we can't seem to do anything to help them. I'm sorry I haven't anything useful to share with you, but I will keep you all in my prayers. Sending you much love and a big hug. xxx

    2. Reply

      Thanks Sue for your love and prayers xxx

    3. Reply

      San,

      I wish I could pop over to see you and give you that big hug in person. xxx

  2. Reply

    Sue,

    You have modelled such a useful system for your girls, it's lovely to see how they have embraced it for themselves! I'm a big Evernote fan, too.

    You seem to have a real talent for making the best of any circumstances, even if at first they don't seem helpful (like homeschool registration). I wonder if the strict NSW requirements mean that you are an even better example of how unschooling can work – both to homeschoolers who are also subject to requirements, and to people who worry that their children won't learn 'enough' by unschooling.

    I haven't been here for a while but I wanted to let you know that I've been very much enjoying all your posts and your podcasts. I admit to being quite excited when your long holiday finished and you began to get back into the swing of unschooling (I would worry that made me sound mean, but I know how much you enjoy unschooling so I won't!)

    I was saying on Hwee's blog the other day that you have been a real inspiration to me when it comes to sharing on my new blog. You have made such a contribution to my family over the years, and that wouldn't have been possible if you didn't share so freely and authentically. You've given me the confidence to share more personally, too – thank you! (And thank you so much, too, for reading my new blog and for commenting! I'm just finding my way with Laugh, Love, Learn – making lots of mistakes but learning lots too – so your support is very much appreciated.

    Finally, I loved your story about your letter from your biggest fan. What a great reminder to us all of the difference it can make letting other people know we appreciate them. 🙂

    Have a lovely weekend!

    1. Reply

      Lucinda,

      Making the best of any circumstances? Maybe I love the creative challenge! There's usually a way around most things if we think hard enough. I suppose I prefer being positive rather than getting upset by circunstances out of our control. And yes, when we can put together impressive records, it does show us that unschoolers are learning a great deal.

      Thank you so much for listening to my podcasts. It's so nice you missed me. You are not mean at all!

      I saw your comment on Hwee's blog. Thank you! I'm glad you felt inspired to create your new blog. You will connect with many people who will benefit from your honest sharing. I am very interested in reading your posts. Sometimes, even though our experiences are different, ideas can overlap and we can still learn from each other. For example, after commenting on your last post, I've been thinking more about sleeplessness, ideas and overstimulation.

      I'm glad we have been able to share so much over the past few years. Sharing in a very personal way wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the willingness of my children to let me tell their stories. I was chatting about this with Imogen yesterday. Sharing openly is only possible because I have the support of my family. Thank you, family!

      And thank you, Lucinda, for always being such an encouraging and loving friend. Your words always make a huge difference to my day. I appreciate them!

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