Written by Kara Fleck
Clucky, worn out, coming apart at the seams. I use my homeschool binder almost every day and it is in sad shape. It is heavy and crammed full, to the point where using it can be perilous thanks to a bent prong. I live in fear of it popping open and raining out papers all over.
It is a three inch binder with papers in the pockets, loose in different sections. Thanks to that bent prong I mentioned earlier, I cannot turn pages smoothly.
This isn’t working! Time for a homeschool binder makeover!
What to take out
I had articles and even ebooks that I had printed out because they were helpful. But do I really need them in my homeschool binder?
Would a digital system, like pinning the link to the article on a Pinterest board or a tear sheet filing system for hard copies be a better solution?
They don’t need to live in my binder.
What does need to be included in my binder are the papers that we use on a daily or weekly basis.
Everything else needs a different home.
More things I took out of my binder:
- old curriculum schedules
- articles I don’t refer to often
- my kindergartener’s preK assessments (these can be filed away)
- a morning routine we don’t follow anymore
- monthly divider tabs for months that have passed (filed away until next school year)
- a schedule for an extracurricular activity we no longer participate in
- reader guide, curriculum for a book we finished last year
- Books to Buy list, this needs to live in my purse so I have it with me when I’m shopping
- several pages of the kids’ drawings and artwork (cute, but there is a better place for these)
What to leave in
I tried to leave in the binder only the things that we truly use and need to have access to on a regular basis.
I’m thinking “simple,” “useful” and “essential” as I make decisions about what to keep.
What I left in my binder:
- our state’s homeschool requirements, our homeschool I.D. number
- our attendance record (mine came from Mama’s Learning Corner)
- current booklists for each kid
- the Tell Me About Your Book activity list (I cut and pasted and printed this from Elizabeth Foss’s Real Learning years ago)
- The Charlotte Mason List of Attainments (printed from Ambleside Online)
- current week by week schedules for each kid (printed from our curriculum)
- the Harry Potter discussion guide we are using right now
- each child’s transcripts
- extra blank lab reports
- extra five paragraph essay writing templates
What to add
Now that I’ve slimmed down and streamlined, I didn’t want to add a lot to my binder. However, a few things that I feel will be truly useful have been added.
What I added to my homeschool binder:
- some blank notebook pages to use as I’m planning for next year
- I’d like to come up with a homeschool mission statement
By the time all was said and done, I was actually able to downsize into a smaller binder that I think will be more manageable. Here’s to less frustration when dealing with homeschool paperwork!
Do you keep a homeschool binder? What do you have in it? Is it time to give your binder a makeover and simplify your system? I’d love to hear how you keep the papers you need on a daily basis organized in your homeschool!