Homeschooling brings a whole load of extra stuff into your house. From teaching materials and workbooks to books to supplies to learning tools, everything needs a home. I’ll talk more about the STUFF on Thursday, but for me, the thing that I need to have organized the most is my lesson planning.
I use my binder to keep my plans organized throughout the year, and as a record and portfolio of the school year once it’s over. (Your records will depend on your state). All you really need to put one of these together is a binder and a 3-hole punch (and some section dividers if you’re feeling fancy). Here are the things I include:
A weekly and monthly checklist. These are the things I need to do each week and each month. This includes things like make copies of worksheets, figure out book lists, check craft supplies needed for lessons, and so on. These will depend on how you plan, but if you do any sort of planning throughout the school year, this will help keep you on track.
My plan for the week. (You can see this off to the left side in the picture above.) Each week I use a printable chart as my lesson plan. (You can get a free version of this in my upcoming book Pinterest Preschool – more information below!) I have the template saved on my computer, with all of the subject names included, so all I have to do is type in the specific plans for each day. I print it out double-sided, and put it in my binder.
My record of what actually happened. I use this free printable to write down what we actually accomplished, plus how long we spent on it. This is especially helpful if you have a certain number of days or hours required for your state. You could use the same printable for both the plan and the record, but I like to use two different ones so it’s easy to tell the difference.
Printed out yearly lesson plans and ideas lists. This is something I did last year that I probably won’t do again this year. I printed out my lesson plans for the year and stuck them in here (with fancy doodled section dividers!), with the idea that I would refer back to them. But I mostly just referred back to the electronic version on my computer. I also kept a list of activity ideas for Letter of the Week so that Matthew wasn’t doing the same 5 things over and over again. Variety is good.
If you’re a pen and paper person, having these printed out is a good idea. If not, don’t worry about it.
The portfolio section. Once the school year is over (or as the school year progresses if you’re more organized than I am), you can go back and decide what you want to save. I kept all of the boys’ work in a big bin in the school room. I went through it and chose some things to keep. Some of these I like because they’re cute, some show the progression of skills from the beginning to the end, and some just give a feel for the type of work we did. Each kid got a section, and the first page was the All About Me sheet they filled out on the first day of school. We do one of those every year, and they’re a hoot to read later on to see what’s changed.
Staying organized is a big piece of the homeschool puzzle for me. It helps me be able to use all of the resources I’ve gathered, include all of the fun things I want to include, and keep my kids learning what they need to while still having fun. But being organized can only happen if you have a plan TO organize. For more on how I used Pinterest to plan and teach my children preschool, check out Pinterest Preschool.