One of the best parts about being involved in a thriving Classical Christian homeschool community is working alongside other passionate, like-minded parents. Even better: technology allows me to connect with others from across the country, and even around the world.
I’ve seen several different versions of the Western Cultural History Notebook floating around, and I fell in love with the content and structure — teaching teenagers how to look at and consider Art, Music, and Cultural History demands a plan of attack. However, I knew the layout of most such notebooks would be far too cramped for my giant-handed student to work with. (I have utterly failed as a handwriting teacher. I admit it.)
Furthermore, as we dive into teaching 10th graders the concept of Beauty — and meaning no offense to previous notebooks — shouldn’t every resource be pretty? I am an admitted aesthete. Anything that can be beautiful should be. That said, my version of this Notebook is by no means a Vermeer. But I did try to include more room for taking notes, more white space to rest the eye, and just a bit more aesthetic appeal for those of us whose souls long for it.
It seems kind of silly to put time and effort into recreating a resource that already exists. But I am all kinds of obsessive and once I started, I couldn’t quit. I would have been nowhere, however, without the labor of our predecessors. To everyone who has created and shared a previous iteration of the Western Cultural History Notebook, THANK YOU for your efforts!
Please note that all resources on this page are © SageMint LLC, unless otherwise noted. They are shared for personal, non-commercial use only, and may not be distributed, altered or sold except as authorized below. Users may download and print copies for personal use, or within the classroom setting, not to exceed fourteen (14) copies per class per year.
What’s New for 2022-2023
Based on user feedback, I have added the schedule of Suggested Readings to the notebook. I have also re-ordered pages to better integrate Artists and Composers together. Everything should appear approximately in the order in which it is studied, to save some flipping back-and-forth between the Artists and Composer sections.
I don’t think I was as effective at savoring Great Composers and great music last year, so this year’s version of the WCH Notebook beefs up on the space devoted to the art of music. In addition to reformatting the Composer pages, I have added Listening Guides for the musical selections. (These were based on files from my Foundations tutoring days. I can’t seem to find any details on the original creator, but if they are yours and you’d like to be credited, let me know.) I also added content about classical music periods, and instrument families.
The following file options are available for download:
1. WCH Notebook 2022-2023 (14mb)
Use this file if you want to use the updated notebook in its entirety, without any fuss.
2. WCH Notebook 2022-2023 WITHOUT Page Numbers (14mb)
If you’d like to edit the content to suit your class, use this file. Since it has no pages numbers, you can re-order pages, delete some, add others, whatever you like.
3. Master Pages for WCH Notebook 2022-2023 (197kb)
Think of this file as the DIY option. A set of master pages gives you unlimited options for customizing the notebook. If you want to delete the pages of artwork so students must sketch the masterpieces for themselves, or add extra artists or composers, or use a different format for How Should We Then Live? notes, you’ll find some basic master pages ready to customize with your own text. A list of the fonts used in the notebook is on pg. 1, for your reference. (Please note that I’m not able to help design or format any of these customizations, but if you’d like to make a suggestion for future updates, just leave a comment below.)
I have also added a “Permission to Print” form letter to the files, just in case your local print shop workers tend to be sticklers.
To download the files, click on the product below. You will need to create an account (or sign-in) and complete the check out process in order to access the files. Printing recommendations are below.
I printed these at our favorite big-box office supply store, using the following specs:
- 28 lb. paper
- Two-sided printing
- Black-and-White ink for all pages EXCEPT…
- OPTIONAL Color printing for the pages of your choice (see table below)
Printing prices may vary, so do your research before you order printed copies. Using ODP with discounted pricing, the lowest base price I found (not including tax or shipping) for printing the entire 144-page document was $3.74 per copy (20 lb. paper, two-sided printing, BLACK ONLY, unbound). Adding options such as binding, color, etc. will increase the price, so I’ve researched some of the recommended options and put them into a table below so you can estimate your own printing costs.
|28 lb. paper||—||$2.16|
|Color Printing on Artwork pages only||1, 9, 19, 25, 35, 57, 67, 77, 83, 89, 99, 105||$2.57|
|Color Printing on Listening Guide pages only||16, 32, 42, 43, 64, 74, 96, 112, 116, 120||$2.14|
|Color Printing on Composer Portrait pages only||15, 31, 41, 63||$.86|
|Color Printing on Musical Period pages only||18, 34, 66, 114||$.86|
|Color Printing on Instrument Family pages only||76, 98||$.43|
|Spiral Binding (clear cover, black back)||—||$2.93|
* The pages numbers match the original PDF file when uploaded for printing. They will not match the numbers as printed on each page.
Please note that this pricing is just an estimate, based on what I found online (not including tax or shipping) and subject to change. Do your research before you order printed copies. Remember that uploading online via ODP will save you money versus going into the store!
If you’re trying to save money on printing, consider using the file without page numbers and removing pages you don’t think you’ll need, using color only on a few pages, or skipping printing the artworks all together (the Master Pages file has substitute pages that can be used for sketching instead).
I have my own spiral binding machine, so I will bind these at home with a clear PVC cover and a black back. If you add spiral binding and covers at the office store, it will raise the price by about $2-3 each. I bound these with 5-10 pages of sketch paper in the Museum Field Trip Section, so students already have a “sketch book” handy. Standard 8.5″ x 11″ sketch paper is hard to find, so I ordered this from Amazon.
Feel free to share your own money saving tips, or ideas for adapting the notebook for your class, in the comments below!
Have a great school year, fellow aesthetes!