This past week, I have been trying to re-organize my paperwork. I have searched my Pintrest posts and googled a lot in order to find ways to organize that work for me. I have started several of what I call “Binder Systems” because I like how pretty and organized they look Hopefully, as I complete my projects, I will do blog posts in order to show them to you!
As most of you know, I have been homeschooling Kendal for Kindergarten this past year. Actually we only did a half-year of Kindergarten because I started her on a 1st grade curriculum in January. Up to this week I had all of my records & planning materials in a folder with tabs. This worked well for only having one homeschool student but starting next school year I will also be officially homeschooling Audrey as well. So, I wanted to come up with a way to keep records & lesson plans for both of them in one place. This is what I came up with!
I started a 1 inch white binder with clear pockets on the outside. I cut pretty scrapbook paper to fit in the front, back, and side pockets. I used a mailing label on the front paper (not on the actual binder) and wrote “Teacher Records.” On the side paper (which will be visible when the binder is on the bookshelf), I wrote the same directly on the paper.
The front inner cover has Kendal’s Lesson Plan Book and the back inner cover has Audrey’s. I used mailing labels for their names. The labels should easily come off if I ever decide to change things around or use the binder for a completely different purpose.
LESSON PLANS: I get my Lesson Plan Books in the dollar section as you walk into Target. A few times a year, most of their dollar section is made up of teacher supplies including plan books, grade books, flash cards, work books, early readers, pencils, rewards, etc. When I started homeschooling, I grabbed one or two plan books when I saw them. I am grateful that I did this because now I do not live near a Target. But, I have a stack of plan books to hold me over for a couple of years.
Another note on lesson plans… I learned very early on that planning ahead usually does not work. Ahead of time, I would write down what I wanted Kendal to complete each day for each subject. Some families can do that and it works well for them. By day 3, I realized that did not work for our family at all! Kendal is unpredictable when it comes to school. Some days, it is like pulling teeth to get her to do anything. Other days, she far exceeds my expectations for the day. Sometimes, she will do school work at 10pm because she doesn’t want to go to bed. And other times she will do half of her work on one day and the other half on the next day (when she does this, I count it as one school day for attendance and in the lesson planner). Now, I just write down what we do, as we do it.
The dividers are labeled in order as follows: Kendal Attendance, Kendal Grades, Audrey Attendance, Audrey Grades, Reading Lists, State Registration, Template Copies, and Evaluation lists. Then there is a set of numbered divider tabs 1-12. Behind the divider tabs there are a few plastic sleeves with reward & completion certificates that I have printed and will give the girls in the future (such as Kindergarten graduation certificates). Finally, there is a folder to be used as a collect all for extra papers. Right now I have Kendal’s tests that she will need to complete on one side of the folder. The other side of the folder has flyers of upcoming events for church or community.
ATTENDANCE: I use this 2-Page Dated Attendance Form that I found at DonnaYoung.org. I print it back to back on one sheet of paper. I use the July to June forms because we school year round instead of following the local school schedule. We still must complete the 180 days of school but this allows us to be more flexible with appointments, vacations, sick days, or anything else that comes up. As you can see, we don’t always do school every day and I have no problem doing school on weekends. And in case you were wondering, November & December on this form are pretty sparse because we did not do much schooling while we were in the moving process.
GRADES: I have two sheets to record grades. First, to record K-12 grades, I use this Long Term Grade Record also found DonnaYoung.org. As of now, I do not know how many years that I will homeschool. For us, it will be a year to year decision based on prayer, where we are currently located (we are military), state homeschooling laws, and how the girls are doing with school. But, I want to be prepared for however long we do homeschool and have everything recorded in one place so that if the state requests to see records I will have them available.
Second, I also want to keep more a more detailed grade record for each school year. Currently, I am using the one that goes along with the curriculum we are using right now. I expect that each year I will have a different sheet depending on the curriculum we decide to use. And even though this particular form also has an attendance record, I do not use that part because I prefer the flexibility of the one mentioned above.
READING LISTS: I have a personal goal of reading to the girls 30 “new” books each month. My lists do not include books that we have read in the past. I have a huge personal library of books and many of them we read over and over. So, by “new,” I mean these lists are for books that we have never read before. Can you guess where I found this Reading List?
Having reading goals is important so that we can participate in certain community reading programs. For example, libraries often have summer reading programs that include goals and rewards. Also, we do the Pizza Hut Book-It program. Yes, it available for homeschool families! Sign up starts in May for the following school year and packets are sent to your home around September.
STATE REGISTRATION: This tab is for my state registration confirmation form. Record requirements for every state is different so be sure to find the information needed for where you live. I keep better records than what is required for New Mexico (as you can see from my binder) but I want to be in the habit of keeping good records in case we ever get stationed in a state that requires more of homeschooling families.
TEMPLATE COPIES: Every time I find a form online that I want to use, I print it and put it in this tab. Then when I go to use it, I just make a copy of it instead of having to find the form online again. I do not always use the forms right away so I don’t always remember where I found them if I don’t print it. Also, for me, forms have been a trial/error process. I think one will work and after using it for a little while, it ends up not being what I need. Having this tab gives me options and saves me time.
EVALUATION LISTS: Behind this tab, I have a set of divider tabs numbered 1-12. One of the most valuable resources that I have come across (thanks to my homeschooling friend Tonya!) is my “What Your Child Needs To Know When” book. When I started homeschooling, I was very concerned about being able to keep up with the public school and state standards. This book focuses on how to incorporate Bible learning and character traits into your homeschooling BUT it also has a whole section of state standard lists for each grade and subject. If you notice, you can keep track of up to 5 children on each page! So, I copied all of the kindergarten and first grade lists. Kindergarten lists go behind the “evaluation lists” tab and first grade lists go behind the #1 tab. When Kendal starts second grade, those lists will go behind the #2 tab and so on. This is a great resource for those who want to see how your child is doing!
SNEAK PEAK: Here is a sneak peek of my next Binder System post! Can you guess what is in the pink binders??? I bet the answer will surprise you!