Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Works for Me: Weekly Binders

Honestly. This has been THE most scattered homeschool year I've had in my 11 years of homeschooling. I was foggy-brained last half of last schoolyear while we were going through the adoption of our newest child, our precious 9 year old son from Ethiopia. Then, this school year we traveled as a family to bring him home and have been transitioning him for the past 8 months... so that remains my excuse for being scattered, confused, and generally discombobulated.

BUT... this has worked for me this year, so I wanted to share it!

I have posted my different organizational systems over the years... I think I've done it all, but for some reason this year it blew apart. So, I've scraped it together into something else that works for me: weekly binders. My planning strategy remains the same... my trusty laptop and Excel spreadsheets, but putting the younger boys' work together for the week in binders has really helped us keep it all together.

I color code my kids, so when we adopted Minte I assigned him a color... the only one I had heard him say in English: "red." I found these fun "Zwipes" binders at the office store this year, and they enjoy writing and drawing on the front, and sometimes I'll write them a note of encouragement. This week the front of Minte's is simple: "Minte's School."

Here is his binder on his desk this morning, ready for the day's work.

Each day has a tab, and the dividers are heavy-duty plastic with pockets, because I cram it ALL into these binders...

Here is Minte's binder open to today. He's got a book for drawing insects, which he'll be reading about in his Science reader today, also in a heavy-duty plastic pocket behind the "Wednesday" tab. His pages for cutting out and sequencing his Bible story, and other work are all ready for today. You can see the owl he made yesterday when he read about owls. The paper sack and all the owl cut-outs were in a pocket page behind the Tuesday tab. Basically, every single thing he'll need for each day I try to find a way to put in that binder!

In the front of his binder is his weekly assignment sheet. (You can click on the photo to make it larger.) I thought this would be too complicated for him to see each week, but he saw that's what his older brother had (Kyle wanted the whole week instead of the daily assignment sheets I used to do) and wanted one, too. He loves marking off the assignments each day! On the right you can see that I obviously utilize DVD's and CD-roms for part of his school, and those are in 3-ring DVD pockets so I'm not chasing those down in other locations when it's time for school. We also use the BOB books, so those are in the pockets for each day as well. See? I cram it all in there, LOL.

Here is what Kyle's looked like this morning. His assignment sheet lives in the front as well, and there are his Teaching Textbooks CD and his BJU Science DVD ready for the week. In the front (on the right) is also a math "cheat sheet" I made him for now for some of his measurement conversions for math. I laminated that and it lives in the front of his binder all the time as well.

These have been handy because if we are heading out on some errands they can grab their binders and have most of their school with them. I spend time at the end of each week transferring their week's work into each of their large 4-inch binders divided by subject, where I'm storing their year's work.

I know everyone has their "systems", and weekly binders are certainly nothing new or particularly innovative, but these work for me!

For more tips, visit Kristen at We are That Family. Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Bridget said...

Wow...I am so, so impressed! This is our second year and I am still learning. Thanks!

Erin @ Closing Time said...

This is a great tip! I have just started the homeschooling journey, and I am looking out for ways to make it flow more smoothly!

Katie, Kevin and kids said...

Awesome organization! You really should submit your great post to
They do a weekly feature called "Management Monday" where they link to others who have tips/ideas for organizing homeschool classrooms.

momof4sweetsisters said...

Pretty neat! I don't know if I can do that, but I would like to stream line a bit. We end up with a cluttered closet to quickly.

Muthering Heights said...

What a great idea! My oldest is only two, but I'm starting her on some home preschool type of activities. Thank you for the tips! :)

Vickie said...

speaking of intimidation ....


Elaine said...

That is a great concept that I had not thought of before. I may "take a page out of your binder" for our next school year.

Elaine H.

Daisy said...

WOW! What a GREAT way to organize!!! Thanks for the tip!! I've been working on new assignment sheets for the kids (we just had our homeschool convention last week, which always inspires me to RE-ORGANIZE as if we're starting a new year in spring!!), BUT I like yours better! Thanks!

Dana said...

Thanks for sharing this - I think this could work well for us! I really like that it's so portable, because we're a pretty spontaneous bunch. I like the idea of all of it being in one place if we decide to move homeschooling to the park for the day!


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