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Independent binders

independent binder

Even before school started, I knew my biggest challenge this year was going to be figuring out how to keep two (and sometimes three) people busy with schoolwork, not with busy work, while I either worked with another child or completed some other daily-mommy/homemaker duty. I have been forever putting this same schedule on a spreadsheet (can’t get enough of Excel), but finally moved the idea to a school sheet that the children could use and follow themselves. Voila! The Independent binder.

There is nothing more to say (but I will anyway) other than it has been a success with the children and a burden/stress reliever for me. I have set up River and Lily using the independent binders with River having a little bit more independent work included in his binder because of his ability to complete more work alone . As the year progresses, I expect to be able to add a few more subjects to Lily’s binder.

independent binder

How I use the binder is I plan the material to be covered each week in all of their subjects. Some of the subjects included in the binders are also ones I cover with them, but there is other work in these subjects they can complete on their own, and that is what goes into the binder. Using the daily listings as a guide, I put together all of the material that will be used in the binder for the week. Although I do this, I still fill the binders everyday for each subject. Right now, our work is too daily specific where working ahead does not work well for us.

folders for an independent binder

I found these really cool plastic folders at an office supply store. Each folder has three pockets of only two we use for now.

independent binders

They also easily pop out of the binders without me having to open the binder rings and pull out the folder. I can slip in a new subject folder at anytime or easily remove one we don’t need for the day or the week. For now, I just leave it empty if there is no work for them in that subject for the day.

Once they finish the work, they return the assignment to the folder and check off that it is completed. Sometime throughout the day, I go through and check everything that they have completed. Any work that needs correction is placed back in their binders in the front flap pocket of the binder for them to correct the same day or they know to check it first the following day. They check that flap everyday before starting their independent work for the new day.

Our days have been running more smoothly. River and Lily often start their independent binders before our school day officially starts. At the beginning of each week (usually Sunday night), I go over anything that they might have questions about (ex: I cover River’s vocabulary words with him).

The remainder of their work that they complete with me is put into a separate binder (which I may share about later). I give them access to both binders, but only one is for them to work independently. Since they can see the work in both binders, this has eliminated the continuous questioning from them of how much more work needs to be done before “I’m FINISHED!”

So far, this is working well for us. Along with them feeling a sense of accomplishment when they finish their binders, it also warms my “home school heart” when I see them sitting quietly doing their work without any prompting. One for mommy!

Check out all the great bloggers in the Crew blog hop!

And be sure to visit a few of my blog friends:
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
Crystal @ Tidbits of Experience
Rebecca @ Raventhreads
Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Monique @ Living Life and Learning
Erin @ For Him and My Family
Lisa @ A Rup Life
Beth @ Weavings


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