What is a commonplace book and how does one use it?

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  • cherylramirez

    Eagerly awaiting answers!Smile


    Short on time, so short answer. 🙂

    My commonplace book/book of mottoes is where I keep quotes/notes/poems/scripture that stand out to me while reading. My kids don’t start these until middle school/high school when they’d like to keep one. We just utilize these on an interest driven basis, not a mandatory requirement.

    Others may share the way they use them in their homes. Recent discussion in the archives will give you links to places to find pretty journals to purchase.

    You might like this link on decorating composition books with scrapbook paper.






    That’s a post about commonplace books.

    I do a reading journal. I buy a blank book and divide it into three sections.   In one section, I write the date I finish a book and the title and author. In the next section I keep quotes and whatnot.  I know the “real” commonplace books you don’t take notes into, but I sometimes do – it’s my book!!! 🙂  And then the third section I keep a list of the books I want to read.

    It’s close to a commonplace book, and it serves my needs/ wants.  I am surprised at how I can remember what was going on in my life and what things I was praying about by the quotes I was writing in my reading journal.  I have filled two books and am on my third now and I don’t ever intend to stop keeping a reading journal.

    I prefer spiral bound, so that I can fold it back when I write.  (I do most all my writing in my reading journal at night, in bed – which is when I do most of my reading).  Others prefer those moleskin? books.  I’ve never sprung for those – too pricey 🙂

    Hope that helps.


    We use composition books. My 9yos copies passages from literature, poetry, and Bible verses from his language arts program. He’s young enough that he just uses the passages from the book.

    My older boys, though, are expected to choose passages from their reading at least twice a week. They enjoy getting to choose passages that speak to them rather than copying passages that spoke to someone else. To me, the commonplace book is copywork, kicked up a notch for the older kids.


    I had a similar question about a month ago:


    I read in Hearing and Reading…book, http://simplycharlottemason.com/store/hearing-and-reading-telling-and-writing-a-charlotte-mason-language-arts-handbook/

    that they are to do most of their learning by reading for instruction starting at grade 4 and to keep a commonplace book or diary of reading. I have decided to ease my ds9 into the commonplace book by first requiring him to keep a spiral notebook diary of book titles/authors/dates of books he reads for school and to select one quote to copy into it from each book. Then next year I will encourage him to find quotes more often that are meaningful to him.

    I have also started my own Book of Mottoes to set an example for him. I have kept journals in the past which contain some quotes from books, but mostly my own thoughts and what’s going on in my life, which is more like a written narration and I think helps me to understand and implement the concepts I learn in the non-fiction books I read on parenting and marriage.


    Thank you for your responses.  I have a much clearer idea of what to do now!

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