Well, today is Stargirl’s first day of 10th grade. While I’m busy teaching and getting her introduced to her new curriculum, I thought I’d leave you all with one of my new organizational bright ideas: a homeschool binder.
I’m sure many of you have heard of a household binder, which is used to organize things like menus, cleaning tasks, and finances. I decided to make a binder that would hold “my brain” during the school day. I wanted something that I could easily carry from room to room and that contains all the basic things I need to teach effectively.
I’m pretty impressed with my efforts. I hope you are too!
Homeschool Binder Supplies
If you are creating your own homeschool binder, your materials will vary based on your own needs. This is what I came up with as a homeschooling mom of a high schooler, a grade schooler, and a preschooler, who is homeschooling through a public charter school.
- Binder (mine is a 1.5 inch Studio C binder)
- Dividers (also Studio C, in a coordinating print)
- Pencil Pouch
- Folders (I got vinyl folders, as they hold up better than paper folders)
All of these supplies are available at Walmart. I spent less than $15 for everything but the labelmaker, which I already owned. And as you probably guessed, I just love the Studio C prints!
Putting Together a Homeschool Binder
Assembling a homeschool binder is a piece of cake, once you know what you’d like to include. I just used my labelmaker to label the divider tabs. Then I inserted the necessary papers into each section. I also placed the pencil pouch, containing pencils and pens (black and red) in the front of the binder.
Section 1: Curriculum Schedule
First and foremost, I knew I’d need easy access to my curriculum schedules. I need to know what exactly we are doing every week, so I can teach it!
I even have a curriculum “schedule” for my preschooler, which is really just a list of activities that I have available for her to do when she wants to “do school.” That way, if I’m in the middle of teaching my 10 year old and my 3 year old wants to join in the fun, I don’t have to think too hard to get her set up with something to do.
Behind my curriculum schedules, I included my reading lists for each child. Since my reading list shows which books I have requested at the library, it’s a handy reference for library day. It also shows me which books I’ll need to order before we get to them (at this point, there are very few).
In Bug’s section, I also have a list of good books for 5th graders. He has a hard time finding books he likes at the library, so on library day, I pull out the book list for him to reference.
Section 2: State Standards
Since we are homeschooling through a charter school, I need to make sure we meet state standards. The next two tabs contain the state standards for my high schooler and my 5th grader.
In the High School Standards tab, I actually only include standards for social studies, as my daughter is doing a state approved online curriculum for English, science, and math. We’re using our own curriculum for history, so she needs to make sure the projects she chooses and the papers she writes match what the state wants her to learn. Having the social studies standards at my fingertips makes the process a bit easier.
Similarly, I need to make sure Bug hits all the standards, too. When we meet with his Education Specialist each week, she will be asking us which standards we’ve covered. Putting the standards in my binder allows me to jot the date next to the day we cover each standard. When we meet with the ES, I’ll just pull out my binder to show her.
Section 3: Teacher Helps
The next two tabs contain information I need to teach my high schooler and my 5th grader. For instance, my high schooler will need to complete a portfolio each quarter for history. I have the portfolio requirements in my “teacher helps” section, so I can assist her when needed.
In the 5th grade “teacher helps” tab, I have the answer key to Bug’s writing course. It came in PDF form, but I didn’t want to have to open the computer every time I graded his work.
I’m sure I will add more information to these tabs as we move through the school year.
Section 4: Activities
My final tab is a place for me to collect information on all activities. I put all of our activities on my Cozi Calendar, but sometimes I need to keep more information on hand. The activities tab is where I keep flyers from our church youth group, AWANA information, soccer schedules, band schedules, and information on any other activity that comes my way.
If my son wants to know what team his soccer team is playing, the information is there. If my daughter wants to know when the money is due for a youth group activity, the information is there. When the activity is over, the papers get recycled.
Section 5: Work for the Educational Specialists
As part of the charter school, each child needs to meet with an Educational Specialist once a week. Part of the Educational Specialist’s job is making sure the kids are completing their work each week.
In this last section I placed two vinyl folders, one for each child. After they turn in their work and I correct it, I will place each child’s work in these folders, until their educational specialists have a chance to take a look at the work. It’s much easier than scrambling through books and binders to find everything the kids worked on the previous week.
brain homeschool binder in a nutshell. I really think it’s going to make my homeschool year a little easier.
If you’re really into the binder idea, my fellow Walmart Mom Liz Latham wrote a great post on creating a household binder. It seems we have similar taste in office supplies!
Have you ever made a homeschool binder? What did you include?