Idea: Family Commonplace Book

We’ve started a new project recently that the kids and I are really enjoying: a Family Commonplace Book. Do you know what Commonplace Books are? They were a bit of a craze in Early Modern Europe, with the famous and unfamous like filling them with quotes, doodles, reflections and what not.

Commonplace Book Primer: First, skim through the Wikipedia entry. Then go and read Ryan Holliday’s How And Why To Keep a Commonplace Book or Start a Commonplace Book of Self-made Scholar. Actually, you know what? Skip all that. Do this instead: get a blank notebook. Put it someplace central in your house. And start writing in it and encouraging your kinder to contribute to it daily.

Ours is beside the kitchen table. I write in it in the morning when I get my coffee, and sometimes add to it mid-day or in the evening. Ender scribbles in it every time he sees it open. Flora contributes doodles and poems. Cinder’s only contribution so far is a “No.” Don’t force it. Set an example. That’s all.

And don’t stress about making it look pretty or consistent or anything like that. It’s just… doodles, notes, ideas. Play x’s and o’s in it. It’s YOURS. It can be whatever you like. Serve whatever purpose you like.

Here are a few pages from ours:

Nothing By The Book these days is a little sappy. I’m not sure what’s up with me. Still. If you wish to be moved:

A love letter to my flood plain (June 11, 2014)

A “lost year”: on standing still, moving forward, stepping back (June 18, 2014)


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