Homeschool Binder

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool2

5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Links to the rest of the series: 5 Days Of Organizing Your Homeschool

Day 4: Planning My Year

Finding your families natural rhythm. Schooling year round. Planning the year, breaks and all.  Scheduling planning time. And more…

Finding Your Families Natural Rhythm

It took us a long time to find a rhythm for our family. We do our formal studies Monday to Wednesday. On Thursdays and Fridays, we watch educational videos and do other educational activities.

This works for our family because some of our kids help at a community dinner on Thursdays (so they are gone all day) and every other Friday we have our OT and support teacher visiting us (so we can’t plan anything regular).

Schooling Year Round

We have been schooling year round since the beginning. This last year, was the first year, we actually took a summer break and it messed us up. The year just didn’t feel right.

  • Do you school year round?
  • Do you take your breaks when dad is home or the weather is too hot?
This is our plan for 2012-2013:
Summer Break: June 16 – July 2
1st Semester:  July 2 – November 16
Winter Break: November 17 – January 6
2nd Semester: January 7 – March 15
Spring Break: March 16 – March 31
3rd Semester: April 1 –  June 14
Every year around November portfolio, we all crash. The weather changes. We just need change. So, we are changing things up this year. We are moving our long break (from summer time) to the Christmas holidays. This will give us time to bake, be crafty, and just relax with family.

Planning The Year

This is my curriculum planning page for 2012-2013.

Every year, I start by gathering links to EVERYTHING that I WANT. Then as I get farther in my planning and fleshing out the year, some of those things get moved to the following year’s list, and others get dumped completely. I have not ordered yet. I am not too worried though, we have enough materials in the house to keep us going until we get our supplies.

Jimmie shares how she does her semester planning for her homeschool.

I love the ideas that Maureen, from Spell Outloud, shares about homeschool planning.

Scheduling Planning Time

When you live in a big family, life is crazy busy just about all the time, even when you try to keep things relaxed and low key.

I have to tell you, that I have never completely planned out my whole year because our life is much too unpredictable and we need a certain level of flexibility. I am realizing though, as I head into my 7th year of homeschooling, that I can do a certain amount of goal setting and planning and still leave room for flexibility.

I love what Amy at Raising Arrows has to say about Making Plans and A Daily Schedule Or Routine in these two posts. I love the piece about herding cats – that is so true. Don’t know what I am talking about, read those posts.

Homeschool Planning Notebook

Jimmie from Jimmie’s Collage shares about her Homeschool Planning Notebook and how she uses it.

I need to create a new Homeschool Planning Notebook based on my goals for how I want this year to run. I will be looking at planners or creating one to suit our needs in the very near future.

Check out my very long list of planners (free and paid) in this post about Planning Your Homeschool Day.

Where I Am At In My Planning

  1. I know what I want to order and use for just about all of my subjects. Yippee.
  2. I still need to figure out something for Elisha to read.
  3. I need to figure out preschool materials for the twins.
  4. I need to decide where I am going to order all of my materials from.
  5. I need to actually order.
  6. I need to create a rough plan for the year (by weeks) based on our yearly schedule outlined above.
  7. I still need to decide how we are going to incorporate technology and fun into our homeschool this year.

Guess what? We are covering #7 tomorrow. You will have to come back and read all about it.

This post is part of 5 Days Of Mothering And Homemaking brought to you by

mothering and homemaking

Disclosure: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They probably should be, but they aren’t yet. I just love sharing excellent resources.

Creating A Mom Binder

This post was originally published on March 18th, 2010:

We are taking our spring break right now and for me that means a little bit of free time.

Haha. Free time. What is that? I am a homeschool mama with 5 kids.

Spring break means that I get to plan my next term of school. It also means that I am already thinking about what we will be doing next year (we start our ordering in MAY).

On top of those things, my mind is preoccupied by getting organized, decluttering, spring cleaning, cleaning the yard, and gardening,  etc.

When I think about getting organized, I think about the “Mom Binder” that I wanted to create last December and start using in January. I started doing the research, but never came back to it. My sister had her baby, my nana went into a nursing home, and life happened (doesn’t it always?).

So here I am again, at a time when life does not just whirl. I am at a time when I can breathe and reflect. And… it just so happens that I was going through my draft posts today and thinking about what to post today when I found all these links with excellent printables…

I started visiting the links and thinking about recent discussions with my husband. We have been discussing areas in our family and home that we want to work on. It seems the perfect time to revisit the Mom Binder concept.

My homeschool binder has been working out pretty good. I have all of the kids’ school work organized in there and it was easy to pull out for our homeschool portfolio (which is over and done now and wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be).

I have a great idea notebook (kind of like a journal) where I keep track of all the crazy download ideas and wacky business ideas that flood my brain when I am trying to sleep. I am up most nights nursing the twins and then when I rest  my head on my pillow to sleep, ideas swarm in and flutter about to keep my mind occupied. I try to remember to write everything down. Let me know if you need any ideas…

I think I need a mom binder. I need a home management binder. I plan on building mine during our spring break. Here are some links with really nice home management binders, for inspiration.

Do you have a Mom Binder? What do you have in it? I would love to hear how it is working for you.

My Homeschool Binder


I promised that I would share photos of my homeschool binder…

I discussed my homeschooling binder in a previous post – My Homeschool Binder – and I finally took some pictures. These pictures were taken a few weeks ago – before the big bedroom move around – and the photos were just on the camera waiting to be downloaded onto my computer.

You might also be interested in this post – When School Is Going Well – as I talk more about My Homeschool Binder and our new system.

The homeschool binder is working for us and making everything that much simpler. I need one binder for the whole family, every subject is in there.

Here is a picture tour of My Homeschool Binder:

Here is the binder. It is fun lime green colored one that I picked up for 50 cents at the Salvation Army in the summer of 2009. It has a matching blue binder buddy that has become my new idea notebook. I outgrew the other one because I have too many ideas. Does anyone want any ideas? I’d be happy to share.

When I started using the binder, I had the pencil case inside, but now the binder is very full and it doesn’t fit anymore. I still keep it handy though and loaded with everything we need – pencils, pens, a mini ruler, a sharpener, scissors, etc.

I cut one of our Saxon Math hundred number charts up the sides so that it would slip into the front flap of the binder. We were pulling the chart out for activities quite often and it just made sense to have it handy.

I have the tabs all labeled according to the order of our day (the ideal day, of course). Bible, Language Arts, Math, History, Science, Art, and Read Alouds.

Each section has a chart for Term 2 (because that is the term we are in). I guess I will have to make another chart for Term 3 when we get closer.

This is the first page of our Term 2 chart for Bible. It has been great to be able to pull out the binder and see what we need to read. We finished Genesis early and then moved on to reading James and now we are reading Acts. It has been refreshing to read the New Testament with the kids after spending so much time in the Old Testament.

This is the first page (of two pages) of Malachi’s Language Arts. We are taking Language Arts slow because he needs more time to practice.  It’s not clicking yet, but I expect it will very soon (no worries here).

This is the first page (of two pages) of Moses’ Language Arts. Readers, workbooks, writing topics, etc. It’s all listed here.

This is the first page (of two pages) of Elisha’s Language Arts. Readers, workbooks, writing topics, etc. but also Grammar Ace and English From The Roots Up.

I cut up a file folder to make two dividers (see one in the picture above). This worked great so everyone now has their own Language Arts section. I did the Language Arts sections and the Math sections by order of age (it was just easier that way).

I repeated the process for Math (only with a different color).

We usually do Math before Language Arts, but I have not changed the order in my binder yet. The boys all seem to be able to focus better on Language Arts if we have done Math first.

Here is our Sonlight History Core 1 with Story of the World 1 added in. We do History and Core readings at lunch time.

Here is our Sonlight Science 1. We do Science readings at lunch time too. We are considering alternating the weeks – History one week and then Science the next. I think it might be easier to focus. We’ll see.

One thing that I really like about this system is that I can pull out some paper and work on anything that needs working on right there. Moses needed to review his 3+ one day because he had misplaced them in his memory.

For Malachi, I was able to whip out a sheet of paper and review his numbers. He put stickers over the numbers as he identified them. Here, he could not identify 12, 13, 14, 15. I am happy to say that he can now count to twenty, despite being unable to remember the number thirteen most of the time.

Malachi has been worked really hard to learn his alphabet, but still has a few letters that he can’t remember consistently. On this sheet (above) he was to put a sticker on the letter that I called out. He only missed a few letters.

We printed out many of his lessons as we went through them. The visual aid really helps him (so do manipulatives).

A few things that I love about My Homeschool Binder:

  • I have more one on one time with the children.
  • The school work is in one Teacher’s Manual.
  • School is always ready to go.
  • The completed work is all in one spot and ready for portfolio time.
  • I only plan once a term and photocopy once a week (although, I tweak as needed).
  • My oldest can look at his sections and know what he needs to do.
  • My husband can look at the Bible, History, Science, and Read Alouds, and know what to read.
  • We can school anywhere as long as I have my binder and any related books we need (listed in said binder).

One thing that I will change when I am typing out Term 3 (which is way too quickly approaching) is to type out the page numbers “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” rather than “1-5” because then we can circle or somehow mark each page as we complete it.

Whew! I didn’t mean to make this post so long. I wanted to give everyone a really good visual of how I use my binder.

If anyone has any comments or questions, I would love to hear them.

Scroll to Top