Sunday, July 14, 2013

The homeschool teacher Binder

     Every year around June/July I start organizing for our coming school year.  I am not one of those lucky few who has a head so naturally organized that I can just "keep it all up there".  My brain is a fairly chaotic place, like a computer with too many browser windows open.  I need to get everything out and onto paper in order for things to run smoothly. But I had trouble finding an already prepared planner that had everything I wanted.  So I created a mish-mash, eclectic planner that had everything I needed from free printables online.
     Why do this?  When I take the time to plan and organize carefully, I have noticed that our homeschool doesn't seem to hit as many rough patches.  I have a chronic illness that flares up randomly.  Taking the time to plan means that school can still run smoothly even if I am not feeling well.  That is very reassuring to me.  The very first thing I created this year was my homeschool teacher binder.
I chose a binder I had around the house.  Picked up some of pocket tabs, some sheet protectors (well, actually a whole lot of sheet protectors), and post it notes.  This binder is not where I do my lesson planning.  But it is where I organize my thinking for our homeschool year.
The first page in my planner is my Daily Rhythm - The Grown up version, in a sheet protector.  It was inspired by Waldorf, and a blog post I read last year.  Having the daily rhythm offers me flexibility.  Nothing has to be timed perfectly, I can follow this regardless of when we start.
The second page in my planner is a Daily Rhythm - Kids Version in a sheet protector.  I keep a copy in my planner so I can keep everyone on task.  Each child also has a copy in their student binders (which I will share in a later post).

     My first tab in my planner is labeled "curriculum". 

I have three pages printed out, one for each child.  I listed each subject, and beside it is the curriculum I plan to use.   As I gathered the curriculum I needed at various used book sales I was able to check them off, and I highlighted what I still need to look for.  I used the printable I found  here.  I also printed out a page of all the books on each child's booklist for this year.

     The second tab in my binder is labeled "goals".
 This might be my favorite section.  I love that it has both character goals and academic goals divided by four quarters.  I printed out two pages for each child.  The first one I filled out with my goals for each of my children.  The second copy I had each child fill out their goals for themselves.  I placed their copy in their student binders.  I like the self evaluation this inspires.  I downloaded this page here.

     The third tab in my binder is labeled "yearly plans".

I have this all in one sheet that I printed out here.  I also have a yearly calendar I printed out from here.  and our local school districts calendar.  (We are home school snobs who avoid public places on school holidays).

    The third tab in my binder is "weekly/daily plans"
I made this daily schedule with post it notes and a sheet protector.  I worked out how I could schedule the kids morning so that I could work individually with each for Math and Language arts, without having the others standing around with nothing to do.
Then I added in a worksheet where I worked out what a typical week would look like for our classes, co ops, and park dates.
After that I printed out the weekly schedule worksheet from the same website I downloaded the curriculum planner from.  I used sticky notes to plan out which classes we would do on which days.  I highly recommend the sticky notes.  If things don't work out the way they are planned, you can easily adjust and move them around!
I also put this sheet in there that can be filled out each week, I downloaded it here.

     My last tab is labeled "unit studies".  I am doing KONOS with my youngest, and I needed a way to plan out those unit studies. 

I used the long range plans printout from here and sticky notes to plan out which units we would do in which month.  Of course, I used the sticky notes because the "best laid plans often go awry.."  Then from the same site I printed out a unit study planner for each month.  It allowed me to plan out all our activities, movies, books, and field trips for each unit study!

Overall, I feel very prepared for the year!  I will also be sharing my behavior management system, grade keeping,  student binders and morning meeting set up over the next few weeks!