Using Blank Books, How Many?

in 1GRD, 2GRD, 3GRD, 4GRD, 5GRD, KGRD, Manual Analysis, Organization

Thank you for visiting Little Schoolhouse in the Suburbs. Please subscribe and you'll get great homeschool tips sent to your inbox for free!


In each of the lesson plans for K-5GRD grade, there is a recommendation to use blank books for various subjects to make a permanent record of the child’s work for him to enjoy in later years. I have eshewed this in past years in favor of pro-click notebooks or even binders, but I have found that the children treat them as “just another worksheet” rather than with the careful attention paid to something hard bound, that will be kept forever. You just get better work out of them if it goes into a “real book”. And, the “real book-ness” of it is ruined if a child only uses a 1/4 of the pages available. That, and if you bought them fresh every year, you’d have 14 books per kid! So what to do?

Poetry KGRD-6GRD

The blank books from Emmanuel Books or come with a choice of 28 or 92 pages, or 13 and 45 full spreads, respectively. (Also available are optional line guides and plastic covers, YES). That means, if you use a FULL PAGE to write the poem and a FULL PAGE to illustrate it, you will only use HALF of the smallest blank book for each of K-2nd grade poetry. For 3rd-5th, the poems get longer and the child’s ability to copy them himself increases, which means it will take up more and more pages for each poem (note the asterisks above) so that’s harder to estimate.
Here are the exact links at Barebooks of what I buy:

My current solution: I have created numbering instructions for the 92-page book that fits in everything K-5. Numbering instructions for older kids that will be copying. Numbering instructions (2) you are going to print out the poems rather than have the kid write (less space) 2GRD-6GRD. (EDIT 2016: For kid #4, I’m doing an experiment. I’m getting the 6×8 version with 60 pages and we’re just going to go Volume 1, 2, 3, as she ages. I think the smaller trim size might help. 

The Bible Books

BIBLE BOOK K: There are 36 Bible retellings/illustrations in the Kindergarten Bible Book, if you also include the 10 Commandments page and the wandering’s map. If you used a page for each, the 28 page book won’t be sufficient. However, if you use the 92 page book, using one page for retelling and the facing page for illustration, you will have only seven page spreads left in the whole book. My kids are never full page drawers, though, and the retellings are usually only a sentence.
BIBLE BOOK 3-4: This book is meant to be filled over two years in order. 4th continues where 3rd left off and finishes the OT. There are 17 retellings in 3rd and 15 retellings in 4th. That’s 32 total. Again, the smaller book will not be sufficient, but the larger book will be TOO BIG, even if you use a full spread for each. You will have at least 12 spreads left over. (If you can get that much out of them, you could use the big book for this and put the Ten Commandments book in here too. Again, my kids don’t usually require a full page spread except on the “double story” retellings. (May do the same here.
10 COMMANDMENTS 3rd: You only need 10 pages or 10 spreads, depending on how big you make each commandment. If you use a FULL spread, the smaller book will have 8 pages left over. There is no point in fooling with the larger book, unless you intend to use it for the Bible retellings as well.
My current solution: Since my kids don’t need a whole spread for each story, I use the 92-pager for K-5th Bible. BIG K-5 OT book plan (EDIT 2016: Again, for this kid, I’m using the 6×8. I think that in between size and 60 pages may solve some of our issues.)

The Other Books

SAINTS 1-2GRD: In 1st there are 13 saints retellings. If you use a whole page spread each, it fits nicely in the smaller book. If you use a single page, it fills about half. In 2nd grade, there are only 8 retellings, so there is no need for it to have it’s own book. My plan for the next child through is use the smaller book, making each of the retellings in 1st grade a single page and those in 2nd grade a full spread (minus one perhaps since that would use 29 total pages and there’s only 28. Who am I kidding, we’ll end up missing at least one retelling entirely.)
AESOPS 1GRD: Use the smaller book, 1 page for parent written retelling, 1 for illustration and you should fill the book. There’s exactly 14 assigned.
MAP/TREE 2GRD: There are only 9 assignments, so even if you use a WHOLE SPREAD each, you will have 8-10 pages left over. If I was really going to go for it, I might be inclined to paste in maps from google or pictures of the actual rooms or something, or not make this a book at all. Maybe use one of the blank board books? I don’t know. (EDIT 6/2015 We put a family tree on the inner cover of the big timeline book below. With 5 kids, there are TOO MANY blank books already and the maps have yet to be anything “savable” yet. If one were really cute, I would paste it in the other inner cover.)
SCIENCE 2GRD: It is recommended that the child keep records of his 18 science experiments during the year and make notes about nature. One of the SMALL books should suffice. Using 1 page per experiment leaves about 8 pages for nature observations or overflow from complicated experiments onto more pages. Using a spiral or half-sized blank book seems best for toting around. (We never do this. Maybe 4th kid’s the charm!)
STATE BIRDS 4GRD: I don’t see that the syllabus requires a blank book for this, but we always do it. And since there are 25, it would fit nicely in the smaller of the blank books. Start numbering 1-2 on the first page spread. Bird Book Table of Contents

The Timeline

TIMELINES 4-5: The timeline recommendations are for 25 or 50 pages, but I find the 92-page blank book works best since otherwise the whole timeline for 4th grade history would be on a single page, or spread. Here is a post with the timeline figures, dates, placement, and instructions.
TIMELINES 6-7: These are the only officially scheduled timeline years. See this post for Ancient Egypt figures and placement. See this one for Ancient Greece/Rome.

Our Blank Book Shopping by Grade


1: poetry book from last year

  • (1) 28p book for saints
  • (1) 28p book for Aesop
  • (1) miniature picture album for mass book?

2: poetry book from last year, saints book from last year

  • (1) ??? book for the maps and family tree, even the 28 pager is too big
  • (1) half-sized spiral notebook or blank book for science

3: poetry book from last year, Bible book from KGRD
4: poetry book from last year, Bible book from last year

  • (1) 92p book for timeline (if you start it this year, MUST HAVE in 6GRD)
  • (1) 28p book for state birds

5: poetry book from last year, timeline from last year
6: poetry book from last year, timeline from last year

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shannon Crouch July 20, 2017

is the paper in these any good for water coloring? I think we’ll end up getting these for the KG child. My 4th gr. needs the bird book- he may want to water color so I thought I would check to see what you thought and then maybe ask him what he thinks of the book idea. (I think he will love it, but he really loves water color so it would be a bonus)


2 Annie July 12, 2015

First of all, let me just thank you for all the help your website has given me in dealing with MODG. I thank God for you! I’m trying to order the blank books from and I’m totally confused as to which ones I should order. Can you provide more specific info or links? Also, what is the deal with Emmanuel books these days? Are they still selling MODG stuff or no? Thank you so much!


3 admin July 13, 2015

Emmanuel Books is developing their own thing. MODG is opening a bookstore, but there’s a gap right now for those buying for this year. Here are the links from barebooks:


4 Lauren June 18, 2014

I’m new to the blank book system, and just received some today that I ordered, and a couple of questions came to mind. If you use a book with a totally white cover, what are some ideas for what you put on the outside? I cringe a bit at the thought of letting the child scribble whatever she feels like on the outside, especially if she’ll use it several years. But I don’t feel like it needs to be completely sterile. Ideas?

Also, what have you found is the best kind of glue for pasting things onto the pages, if you need to do that? Thanks!



5 admin June 26, 2014

I just use glue stick. Anything liquid makes the pages curl.

I leave the covers blank until they are old enough to decorate in a reasonable fashion (~10yrs old). I would think you could slide favorite illustrations in the plastic cover (if you got those.) Could also use one of those stretchy book covers from walmart for text books for a few years. It would help protect it.


6 Kristin August 17, 2014

Although it is very stinky, rubber cement is awesome too for pasting paper very smooothly.


7 admin August 20, 2014

Dunno about you, but I always kind of liked the smell…


8 admin January 23, 2014

Okay, that didn’t take long. She suggests a photo album. My second grader would have been embarrassed to carry a board book into mass. I would probably use this one:

It’s 6×8, has an appropriate cover, and would have 13 page spreads. I would do all of the writing in it and have him illustrate it.


9 admin January 23, 2014

Poo. I forgot about that one. I’ll have to go look, but my first instinct is to say that I would use one of the alternate book styles at, like the chunk board books. But, let me go look at the assignments themselves and come back an say something more intelligent.


10 Lynda January 23, 2014

Thank for posting, this is great help!!
What would you use for the Mass Book the children have to make in Grade 1?


11 MaryF December 12, 2013

This is an awesome description. Thank you for posting. I’m marking this in my email list so I can get back to it.


12 Susie December 12, 2013

You ROCK!~


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: