Getting Organized for the Upcoming Year

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

Many of us are starting a new school year this September even though we aren’t catching the bus to do so.

Our family homeschools year round. For an excellent article on different ways to structure your school year I recommend Toni’s post Creating a Homeschool Schedule.

For record keeping purposes I start our school year the beginning of September and wrap it up at the end of the following August. So for these past couple weeks I have been putting together our family learning portfolio for the 2010-2011 year and getting ready for the 2011-2012 school year.

Today I want to share with you how I organized the planning and record keeping for this upcoming school year. Instead of trying to write it all out and take photos to illustrate I decided to do a video, my first here at Simple Homeschool.

In the video I show the planning sheets I use for keeping track of our weekly learning as well as other general plans and ideas. Many of these I make myself in a simple spreadsheet. (If the video isn’t showing up you can access it here.)

I also print out and use a few of the pages from the List PlanIt Home Education ePlanner.

The calendars I show came from Organizing Life As MOM. Jessica is a fellow contributor here at Simple Homeschool and has a complete Organizing Life As Mom homeschool pack available.

Those are two resources to check out if you are looking for ready made planning sheets.

How do you get organized for the school year?

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About Renee

Renee is a creative homemaker and homeschooling mama of three. She loves to write, take pretty photos, and be in nature with her family. Her mission is to nourish, encourage, and teach; build relationship and create beauty. FIMBY is where she tells that story. Drawing from her years of experience and training, Renee also offers individual and personalized Homeschool Coaching.


  1. Renee, I love the video! I always enjoy your posts. Thanks.

  2. This is a great resource! I like the weekly sheets that you keep track of what the kids are learning. I am definitely going to steal this idea 🙂
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  3. thanks for the great tips…you did a great job!

    off to buy some binders and get a bit more organized for this year!

    ~ lisa
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  4. I really like the video format for this post. Much better than reading it all. Thanks Renee.

  5. So neat to hear your voice Renee. 🙂 I have a similar way of notebooking, but I have two binders. I like how yours is condensed into one. I have a seperate record keeping binder, but I think I might combined it into my main lesson planner.
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  6. Thank you! As we start our first official year it is reassuring to see that keeping track of learning doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Right now I’m just using a weekly planner and filling each day afterwards with what happens. I like the idea of the binders for keeping the work in, I was trying to figure that part out (currently we have a cardboard box but the cats seem to think it’s their bed).
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  7. Thank you for this video! I have a preschooler and I’m new to all this (although I was homeschooled myself…you think I’d know what I’m doing!). This was inspiring and I love the personal nature of a video! So, again, thanks!
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  8. I love seeing YOU! Totally puts a different perspective on your personality. 🙂 Wish Nova Scotia and San Diego weren’t about as far away on the continent as you could get! LOL
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  9. I’ve put together binders for my girls, but never thought to put one together for me. It makes total sense and I feel like a dunce for not thinking of it. Now I’ll have a place for all those book lists and ideas : )
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  10. This is so helpful (and yes, I enjoy hearing your voice – I watched your homeschooling presentation a few years ago when I first found FIMBY and it’s nice to have your voice to go along with your words. nicely done!) – this past year I used your system of keeping family learning notes, which helped immensely, and I think this system of collecting samples etc as we go (instead of during the 2 weeks before our evaluation!) will be good. A question – do you have a large bookcase full of binders (!!) or do you file the contents and reuse the binder for the coming year? Just wondering if old binders get looked at down the road (ours probably would).
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  11. Another thank you for providing this by video, rather than text! Your blog is an inspiration to me as I begin my first “official” year of school with our 5 year-old.

  12. LOL I just bought binders a couple of days ago! My girls are pre-k so I figure I won’t do a binder per year, but rather have this one show pre-k through 1st and then maybe do one binder per year or maybe two years. Like you I only keep the progress monitoring things (a beginning and ending sample). I do think I will put in some memory things as well (such as pictures of them in their gymnastics class for their phys ed and their summer reading list they did at the library this summer). What I didn’t think about was a binder for me! Great idea for lesson planning!

  13. Love the video and the idea of having everything stored and saved. I am going to have each of my kids do this also because it seems like so much fun to look back at what they have done! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Love the video 🙂 and the ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Renee,
    I have a ten month old daughter, and have been on an alternative educational methods quest since she was born that started with Montessori, then Waldorf, then classical homeschooling, through Charlotte Mason, and now I have landed, in many ways, on the FIMBY method. : ) I hope that you are still doing homeschooling coaching in a few years when my daughter is a little older because I can’t wait to schedule an hour to talk things through with you. For now, your writing and videos will have to do – and they are a fantastic resource. I agree with the others, it is great to hear your voice, and I love your dress! Anyway, thank you so much for all of the work that you put into providing resources for others. I am so thankful!

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