When we started homeschooling, I used pre-made lesson plan books, but over the years my system has evolved to simplify the record-keeping process for me. Homeschooling is more challenging in some ways with my kids’ grade levels spaced widely apart, but easier in that my oldest has become more independent. Since my oldest is transitioning to high school work, I have made some changes in the way I keep track of everything, and I keep a main notebook for my youngest two while my oldest has a planner of his own.
Here’s how my notebook is set up…
I use an Avery Protect & Store Binder with a storage pocket attached inside the front cover. This binder is sturdy enough to reuse, and mine has lasted for three years so far without breaking. I keep CDs, phonics games, and flash cards inside this pocket so everything is in one place = easy to find.
I have a CD of my boys’ “school” portraits attached to the first page of the binder in a self-adhesive CD storage sleeve. When everything is filed for the year, I know where to find it.
The monthly calendar section is next, where I note all our activities and special events like music lessons, field trips, sports practices, birthdays, appointments, etc. I use the Well-Planned Day planner for this, and since it is three-hole punched, I can store it in my binder and pull it out to take on the go. (Click here to read more about the Well-Planned Day planner.) There is also room on the side of each monthly page to write down notes or journal things I want to remember about our month.
My lesson plan section includes five tabbed dividers for each student, one for each subject. Behind those are copies of schedule pages or tables of contents from their school books. I just check each thing off as it is completed, but dates could be added in here as well. I also insert completed activity sheets in the appropriate sections.
Next, I have a section for our book list pages. I write down all of our read-alouds here and the date each one was completed. Each of my boys keeps a separate notebook with a book list for books read independently. I make copies of these at the end of the school year and include them in my file with the rest of my planner pages.
After the book list section, I have a section for storing essays and other papers the boys complete. I save pretty much every essay or story, etc. Next, I have sections for field trips and activities such as music recitals. I use page protectors to save items in these sections–programs from recitals, brochures, etc.
Having everything in one place and keeping it really simple works best for me. I can flip to a section to find out what page or lesson we are on, and checking things off as they are completed not only shows us how far we have to go but also how far we’ve been. I also keep the boys’ report cards in a divider pocket. I remove pages at the end of each grading period, and at the end of the year, I sort everything out and file what I want to keep for safekeeping.
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