September 1, 2006

Binder Method

Last winter, I decided to change our organizational method for tracking and planning our homeschooling. I would say that as a new home schooler the most difficult aspect of the whole process is planning, organizing and then tracking each child's progress. In our case, we have only one child home schooled, so it is not quite as complicated a process as trying to coordinate several children in multiple grades.

House of Education Year 7

Prior to our change in methodology, I was using Excel and planning our year in a spreadsheet format. This actually worked really well for us and gave us a weekly chart to follow. I had each day planned out with lessons and we simply checked them off as we completed them. The main problem I ran into with this system was that if for some reason we got off the schedule, say due to illness, then I would have to update the rest of the year to reflect each change. This became a real chore and so I went searching for a more flexible method to use.

A couple of mom's on my home school list (for Ambleside) shared that they used a binder system and instead of tracking weekly assignments, they simply read or completed the task, and then checked it off. This allowed more freedom in the schedule and there was a hard and fast date that each assignment needed to be completed. I liked this idea so I printed their emails and created a binder based off of them.

Tabs for each subject

This is my binder and I use it to store everything we need for the entire year. My son had a binder too and I placed all his papers in it but after a short while, it got too full. We are using instead a plastic storage bin with hanging files. I file all his papers into tabbed hanging files after I have checked them.

This system worked so well for us that we decided to continue to use it this year for 7th grade. I am comfortable with the freedom it provides and DS really likes to be able to complete his subjects on his own time frame. He is very independent and studious so that he is able to work on his own. I am really proud of my son. He has transitioned to being home schooled so well and is an excellent student.

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