Monday, January 24, 2011

My School Binder

My school binder is quite large (3"). I wanted to make sure I had enough room for everything I wanted to put in it.

The first thing in it is a pouch. The pouch contains highliters, dry erase markers, a few sharpies, and a Post-It pad.

Next is the 'School Info' section. This section holds basic stuff like the start date for the current year, the dates of planned holidays & breaks. If we did portfolios, this is where I'd keep my checklist. If we did Standardized testing, this is where I'd keep the test information. We don't do those, though, so it's pretty basic stuff in this section. This section is also where I keep the basic scope & sequence we use, and the requirements I have set for graduation.

Next comes a section for each child. Each child's section holds information specific to them. It is where I store information on the extra-curricular activities and outside classes they're involved in. It is then broken up into subsections - one for each subject. Each subject subsection contains whatever I need for that subject. The most important page in each subject section is the Class Plan. The Class Plan is similar to a syllabus, except less formal. A Class Plan lists the school year, child's name, grade the child is in, name of class, grade level of class (so I can keep track of the high school level classes they do), a description of the class, the goals of the class, assignments, how many lessons/chapters/units per day/week, and a list of materials for the class. For Subjects like History & Science I may also include a list of topics to be covered. The next page is a Curriculum Key, a page that lists each material we plan to use for the class & the abbreviation I use for each. Behind those pages are any other pages I need for the subject.

After the kids' sections is the 'Field Trip & Extra-Curricular' section. This is where I keep information about extras I'd like to sign them up for or want to look into. This is where I keep information about potential field trips. It is where I keep a list of museums, zoos, historical sites, etc, and the hours, admission prices, and free days.

Next is the 'Resources' section. This section has a complete inventory list of all of our school materials. I replace the list each year with a new, updated list. This is where I will store a list of educational DVDs when I finish the inventory for them. It also contains other resources, such as blank Venn Diagrams, blank maps, and lists of various things.

Then comes the 'Ideas' section. It is where I keep my ideas regarding school - schedules that may work, books I want to read (about homeschooling or education), books I'd like the kids to read, ways to make school more fun, etc.

The 'Future Planning' section holds concrete future plans. My final list of materials for the following year, the class plans for the following year, new updated inventory list, information on extras the kids will be involved in during the following year, all are things that will live in this section as I finalize plans for the upcoming year. I have another binder that I use for future planning, so this section is reserved for definites for the upcoming year. Longer-term & less definite planning goes in the other binder.

The 'Community Service' section holds information on community service work the kids can get involved in. It is where I keep track of what community service work they have done & when.

Last, but not least, is the 'General & Legal' section. This is where I keep a copy of my state laws. I print a new copy each year, just in case something changes. This section is also where I keep information on educational philosophies, educational psychology, and any other information pertaining to education or homeschooling in specific.

The kids each have their own school binder. Their binders are smaller and contain less than mine. They have a section for each subject. Each subject section has a copy of the Class Plan and any printed pages they need for the subject. I put new pages in as they start new topics, so the binders only contain what they need right now. The binders are also where the kids store their finished work until I put it away in the plastic file boxes that hold the current year's finished work. At the end of the school year, all the work from that year is collected and put into the rubbermaid totes that hold all their completed work.

No matter what schedule we use or when our year starts or ends, these binders work to keep us organized.

The kids also each have a canvas basket to store their schoolwork. The baskets hold their binders, all of the books they currently need, their pens, pencils, and the 16 disk CD case they each have that holds whatever CDs & DVDs they need for the week.

Of course, if they don't put things back in their baskets, they don't do much for organization. Right now, my daughter is searching the house, trying to find her Biology textbook. This, of course, wouldn't be needed if she had put it away the last time she used it. For the most part, though, the binders & baskets keep them pretty organized.