I meant this comment to be in response to one of our comments below, but I wrote too much so I'm placing it here. I hope it is useful to you.
The notebooks are an extremely valuable part of the PA method. In fact, I wouldn't hesitate to say they are at the very heart of what we do. Notebooking is not just something we have our boys do--we also use the method in our personal studies.
I used the method while working on my Master's degree at a local Christian University. Although the University is a Christian university and the faculty and administration honor God in what they do with their students, they are not unusual in the fact that they do not practice the Principle Approach. In the beginning of my program I received many amused comments when I walked in with my binder and hole puncher. I chuckled with them, and simply told them that I used these tools because of my own inadequacies. I do lose things if they are not attached in a binder. That's just how I am. The most amusing thing was to watch them watching me. As the course of study began, I would listen to the professor and read the course syllabus to determine how to set up my dividers. I would quietly go about setting up my notebook as I listened to the course introduction. Then my notebook was my tool throughout all my studies. I chose key words from the courses to define and research in key word studies--outside of the professor's assignments. I asked questions. Lots of questions. In fact, my advisor once told me that professors had been discussing me--warning one another about me. They would tell each other that I was really nice if they just gave me time--'she simply asks a lot of questions; don't be intimidated.' That really struck me as funny. If you know me personally, I'm really soft spoken and I love people. I never dreamed the word intimidating and Michelle Heidemann would be used in the same sentence!
What happened next was really interesting. I was very successful in my work at the University. In fact, my thesis was even published on a secular educational research engine even though it was about Biblical reasoning in learning. About halfway through my course of study people started to ask me if they could borrow my hole puncher. I noticed that they had binders of their own, and they weren't laughing anymore (they didn't bring hole punchers though. I think they knew they could use mine). [I was also a homeschool parent with an education background taking classes with Christian public school educators. They, in the beginning, felt I was a bit of a 'traitor'.]
I share that story because I took the method into a situation that wasn't set up for it and used it anyway--kind of like Daniel in Babylon (although this is a wonderful university and was very flexible in allowing my to tailor my degree toward my own needs, and I met some wonderfully Godly people and challenging professors). Doing this made all the difference in my success.
It is important to not be rigid in your selection of dividers. The 4 Rs (research, reason, relate, record)do need to be utilized for successful learning; however, it isn't necessary to call your dividers that unless it works well for you and/or your children (find what works best for your children; it may not be what works for you). I will give you our dividers for the year if you promise not to be rigid with them either. Just use them as an example.
History:1.Foundations2.Timeline3.Key Individuals4.Key Events5.Key Documents6.Research (includes notes)7.Quizzes
Literature:1.Foundations2.Bible as Reader (BAR)3.Poetry4.Shakespeare5.Quizzes(then a divider for each major work studied)
Mathematics1.His Story of Mathematics2.Foundations3.Principles (mathematical laws here)4.Notes5.Homework6.Tests
Science1.Foundations2.His story of Physical Science or Meteorology (the boys are taking different branches)3.Experiments4.Study questions5.Tests
Logic1.Foundations2.His Story of Reasoning3.Notes4.Essay5.Tests
Economics1.Foundations2.His Story of Economics3.Notes 4.Homework5.Tests
My teacher notebook:1.Calendar2.Gabe (place for records)3.Michael4.Lesson Plans5.Resources and bibliography...I will probably add more
I have a binder for this course as well:1.Reflections2.Word Studies3.Research4.Ideas for instruction (an application area to what I do with the boys)Then, since I also use if for a couple of other studies I have a couple more dividers in the back for those.
I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.