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    The Simple Binder

    August 15, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    I am using a binder again this year, and I still love the system. It is simple; it keeps us organized and on task; it gives me momentum when I have none…It really works for me. The best part is that it doubles as my record-keeping mechanism. So, except for work samples that I will be putting into folders as we go along {in preparation for our end-of-the-year open house with friends and family}, we are ready to go.

    So…What’s in the binder?

    The binder contains only three tab dividers. But before the dividers, the first thing I see when I open it is my Average Day Chart. If I change this during the year, I still keep the old one because I like to refer to them as I plan for the next year. I have been keeping Average Day Charts for many years now, well before we began really homeschooling. In general, this charting system works for me.

    The first divider is for attendance. Technically, I could just write attendance into my other sections as I go, but I like to have it all in one place. I use an attendance chart that I printed for free from ChartJungle. Right now, I only have one student that, legally, needs me to keep an attendance record. But as the years go by, I will keep adding to the list and printing off more pages. Instead of checking boxes, I actually write the date in a box each day and keep a running tally on the side. California private schools observe 175 days of school per year, and that is what we shoot for, though sometimes we go over by a few days.

    The second divider contains my plans for Circle Time. The third divider contains my plans for Ambleside Time. The only difference between my plans for Ambleside Time and the Ambleside Weekly Reading Schedule that is available online is that I have made a few adjustments {adding in what we skipped from Trial and Triumph last year, cutting out Shakespeare, etc.} and also broken the weeks up into individual days.

    My binder also has inside pockets. Here, I stuff odds and ends that I might need, everything from a printout of folk song lyrics, to a note telling me that the baby took his first steps, or a recipe for dinner. When they are adequately stuffed, I go through and organize the contents, throwing or filing slips of paper as appropriate.

    I wish I could remember who gave me the binder idea. I know I didn’t think of it myself, and I feel like I owe someone a thank you card.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Kansas Mom August 15, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I have a binder, too, though right now it’s just for our opening session. I hadn’t thought to put our average day chart in there, but I think it’s a great idea. Thanks!

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