Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Organizing our school Part II - The Child's Binder

This morning I finished up J1's binder. It was very exciting to be done with all that organizing, especially knowing from last year how much this will help us as the year progresses!

So, once I've created the Master Binder, I move on to the Child's Binder. Here are the supplies I needed for this project: a 2" 3 ring binder, 10 pocket tabs, my scissors, my printer, and some sheet protectors.

For J1, I took the 10 pocket tabs, labeled them with the subjects I want to maintain in the binder (this year that is: Religion, Math, Latin, Grammar, Spelling, Handwriting, Geography/Map Skills, Science, Art, and Reading), and put them inside a 2" 3 ring binder, like so:

Next, I used my word processing program to create a nice cover page for our school this year, printed it out, and slipped it in the front cover of the binder:

Then, I went out to one of my favorite websites, www.donnayoung.org, and downloaded some of her homeschool forms. Because, in addition to his weekly work, I also want J1 to be able to find most of the information he'll need in this binder. For instance, in the back of the binder I put a yearly calendar in a sheet protector:

I can write in any field trips, or any other school-related events here, and J1 can begin to keep track of his time this way.

Next I used my word processor to print out several prayers that I feel would be useful for J1 to learn this year. I stuck these in sheet protectors behind the calendar:

Next I turned to the front of the binder, where I put the schedules. For J1, I use a "general weekly schedule", where I simply list the day of the week and the subject, and then I write a general idea of what I expect him to do in that subject on that day.

As you can see, I have Wednesday planned as a very "light" day. We will use Wednesdays for Art, Piano lessons, Nature Study, and catch-up time.

In the very front of the binder, I put a detailed weekly schedule in a sheet protector. This is our weekly plan. I discovered last year that planning by the week (with a general overview in mind for the year, of coruse) works best for us. I don't have the work of planning every day, but I don't get so far ahead that if we get off-track my whole plan is rouined! So, here in the detailed schedule I list all that I hope to get done during that week, for each subject.

J1 is in this very interesting place where he needs both the freedom to choose what he wants to do in the order in which he wants to do it, but without a little extra guidance he tends to get overwhelmed - thus the "general weekly schedule" and the "detailed weekly schedule". These two together allow J1 to work fairly independently, which makes us both very happpy!

So, now that everything is set up, it's time to add the sheets for this week from the Master Binder. The work to be completed goes in the front pocket for that subject, like this:

When J1 completes the work, he will put it in the pocket on the backside of the tab, and when I find it there I will know it needs to be corrected and discussed.

Also, behind the tab for each subject, I might put in the 3-hole punch area any reference materials related to that subject, like this:

After working through all the subject tabs, adding this week's work and any appropriate reference materials, I close it all up, put a slip of paper into the spine with J1's name and the school year, to make his binder easy to identify.

Here is the finished product!

Horray! A job well done! :-) Now, all I have to do each week is take out the completed, corrected papers from the back of the tabs and move them back to the Master Binder - an instant, painless record of our year's work! Then, I just move the sheets from the Master Binder for the upcoming week's assignments into the binder in the appropriate front pockets, update J1's detailed schedule for the new week, and put the binder on the shelf. J1 knows on Monday morning to pull out his binder, take a look at his detailed schedule and maybe his general schedule, turn to the tab of the subject he wants to start with, and get to work!

Once the initial work is done by me, it simply makes the rest of the year go so smoothly for us. I hope you have enjoyed these posts on our binders, and gained some good ideas for your own school, too!

Later tonight I'll tell you how our first day went! :-)

No comments: