About organization

Someone asked about a photo I posted on a previous post: Homeschool at the Beach. Specifically, the planner in the photo. So I thought I would post a little bit about my planner and how I stay organized. Plus, I’m quite proud of them because I told my wife what I wanted and she designed them for me!

I use a three ring binder and have a little packet for each week. This is the front page of each week:
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It has a place for me to put the quarter (though, in the future I think I will just call this the period since we do six 6 week periods) and week. At the end of the week I come back to this page and record notes about how the week went, think we need to change or improve on, places where we can go a little faster, etc.

The weekly grade is really just a comment on the effort put forth, not the quality of work. I don’t grade in a harsh way. I figure I get to keep him on a subject as long as he needs until he can master it, so the quality of work that gets excepted for grading should always be exceptional. I honestly assign a grade because he wants it. It keeps him motivated. He wants to see how he did each week and he strives for A’s. So it works for him. And he gets rewarded for cumulative grades at the end of every 6 week period. He’s in fourth grade and he used to get rewarded for report cards while he was in public school. When I told him he didn’t have to worry about report cards any more he flatly refused. He wanted the grades. He wanted the measuring stick. And he wanted the reward. So he gets it, just based on his effort now instead of results.

Why is this at the front of the packet instead of the end? So as I flip through I can see a quick overview of how the week went.

The next two pages are my weekly planning:

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I
 can put lesson plans for the entire week here in addition to a section for any notes about field trips, materials I will need, or anything else really. We work on art projects for other subjects so I can talk about them in that section. And then I keep a list of all the books we read each week here, which I then move over to a larger, complete year list.

The back is where I record the independent study assigned:

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It says homework because for all the years I was in school that is how I thought of it. My son, having been in public school for the past four years, is the same way. We are slowly transitioning to calling it Independent Study. Perhaps the form will be changed when our designation for it does.

That’s it for my sheets. Between each week I have one of these clear files, magazine size:

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We have a journal from the publisher for science and we have a separate notebook for history divided by continent (Mystery of History). The rest of his work (Latin, math, grammar, composition, literature) I collect for the week and keep in this folder. So each week I can look back and see exactly what we studied, what assignments were given, how the week went, and I have all of the work collected in a folder to look through should I need to. I keep the state attendance record in a pocket at the back. The cumulative reading list and grade sheet is in a pocket up front.

At the end of the year I’ll just start a new binder and put this one on my shelf (along with the science journal and the history work in a folder) as a record of his fourth grade work. I’m sure I’ll tweak it as time goes on but it is working pretty well right now. The best part it that I can tweak it. Since we made them from scratch, they can grow with us as we grow. And we aren’t trying to adapt someone else’s forms to suit our needs.

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2 thoughts on “About organization

  1. Good job! I am so impressed with your method and organization. Very few parents keep portfolios for their children, but I highly recommend them. It was so neat to see how you choose to organize your day. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you. While my obsessing over things has definite down sides, being able to stay organized is a positive. And I knew I wanted to keep records of what we were doing. I think it will be amazing to see how they progress through the years.

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