I’ve had my mom binder almost as long as we’ve been homeschooling. For the last six or seven years, it’s stayed basically the same.
Until last week.
I use hardly any of the original categories anymore, so there was a lot of wasted space and I was ready for an overhaul. The first majorly important step was a pretty new binder:
Then it was time to update the categories with pretty, new, as-close-as-I-could-get-to-matching tabs:
I originally created my binder when I was writing my own unit studies and putting together a lot of my own curriculum. These days, with the majority of our curriculum being the self-contained, basically-planned-out-for-me variety, I didn’t really need tabs for each subject.
What I did need – and have been wanting to set up for awhile – was a prayer journal. I stored away this idea from Jamie from a while back until I could get up the initiative to put it together. I figured, since I didn’t need a lot of tabs for school, I might as well combine my prayer journal and my mom binder.
So, now I have:
Lesson plans (typed and printed from the Weekly Homeschool Planner) in a clear page protector right in the front. The binder sits on the half-wall in our dining room, open to that page for easy reference.
In the clear front pocket – love that it’s clear – I keep important homeschool-related papers, such as the field trip confirmation form that’s currently residing there.
Next, come the tabs:
You really can’t read the categories very well through the darker colored tabs, but that’s my only complaint about them. I love that both the tabs themselves and the dividers are plastic, instead of paper. Even better, the dividers are clean plastic, so I can easily read the first page of each section without turning the divider page.
The tabs are:
Month-at-a-Glance – These pages are also printed from the Weekly Homeschool Planner. I love that the boxes are big enough for plenty of detail. There are only squares for the weekdays, but that’s mostly what I need. Other, non-school-related dates go on my big dry erase calendar in the kitchen.
See how I can easily see my month-at-a-glance page through the clear binder, just by turning the clear page protector with my lesson plan page? It makes for great quick and easy reference.
School – This tab houses field trip planning forms (from Weekly Homeschool Planner), my school year calendar with our projected school days (printed from Donna Young.org) and our state-required attendance forms.
Blogging – I printed off a second set of the monthly planning forms from Weekly Homeschool Planner to use as my blog calendar. I’d been keeping that on the computer, but it’s really nice just to be able to jot things down as thoughts come to me.
I’ve also got some blank paper behind the monthly planning pages for jotting down ideas or to-do lists. Finally, I’ve been hole-punching review-related papers that I need to keep up with and storing them in this tab, as well.
The remaining tabs make up my prayer journal. They each contain several sheets of notebook paper for writing down my praises and prayers. The labels are:
- Prayers – Brian. These are prayers that I want to pray as far as personal needs that I know about. However, I also want to copy some of my favorite prayers from The Power of a Praying Wife so that I can pray them for Brian on a more regular basis.
- Prayers – Kids. Again, these are just personal things that I know about, but I want to spend some time over the next few weeks adding some of my favorite prayers from The Power of Praying Parent behind this tab for them, as well as Scripture verses that I like to pray. (I’ll add some of those for Brian, too.)
- Prayers – Myself
- Prayers – Others. This is for all those times when you tell someone, “I’ll be praying for you” and, despite your best intentions, you may not remember to do so as consistently as you’d like. (Please tell me that’s not just me.) Now, I can jot those all down here so that I can remember them when I have my quiet time.
And, finally, the back pocket is for blog-related things that don’t fit behind my blog tab.
I am loving my new, streamlined mom-binder/prayer journal. I would think it’s probably weird of me to get too excited about it, but I know I’m talking to a bunch of planner-happy homeschool moms, so I bet most of you aren’t thinking I’m too terribly strange.
So, what about you? Do you have a mom-binder or a personalized planner? What kind of goodies do you keep in yours?
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.