Confession: I am a school supply junkie. I always have been. I think my addiction began in my early elementary years when I collected the perfectly spiraled pencil shavings in my desk. Now, it has turned into a member card to the closest office supply and strict instructions on sticking to my budget. I troll the clearance isles and get excited when I have coupons and gift cards.
My favorite addition to our school this year has been my School Mom Command Center (aka my homeschool mom binder). I found a cute half size binder (5×8.5 inches), cut down dividers to fit inside (you can purchase these, but since I had some in my stash already, I didnt want to pay the crazy price!) adjusted my hole puncher to the right settings and designed myself a place where I could keep everything I needed to see daily.
In the front pocket, I keep a list of each of the kids’ subjects and a basic weekly schedule. This simple sheet says what subjects they need to cover each day. The back pocket has pre- and mid- year assessments of reading passages. I also stashed the end of the year reading assessment so I wouldn’t have to dig far to find it when the time comes.
The very first page of my homeschool mom binder is my year-at-a-glance attendance sheet. I cross off the weekends, holidays, any days we are traveling, then I check off the days we are in school.
Then I have 6 dividers- one that is used every morning and then 5 others labeled for each day of the week. Our morning meeting consists of what is behind my daily divider and the corresponding day of the week divider. We “do” whatever is there- which usually include a song or two that we sing together, a short daily reading, and any memory work I have them working on. Our morning meetings take seven or eight minutes, then we are launched into our academics for the day.
In the future, I will add a 7th divider as a grade book. My children only have tests in math at this point, but that will be changing soon.
My kids have command center notebooks too, which are almost identical. They have the same 6 dividers and I change out our songs, daily readings, memory work as I see fit. However, their first page is a personalized week-at-a-glance assignment sheet we began using a few months ago. On this page, they can see all that they need to do for each day and check it off as they go. My goal is to begin stepping them into the direction of more independent learning over the next few months. I also use these sheets as record of how far along we are in the academic year and to track their learning.
Side note: I have seen some homeschool mom binders that include everything from monthly meal plans, grocery lists, chore charts, emergency contact information, budgets and other important facts.Personally, I knew the meal planning and grocery lists would be a distraction for me while I was teaching and the chore charts would make me rush through school to get on with my other tasks. The great thing about a personalized command center is that it is personalized. Put whatever information you want in it.
Now, my next challenge is to find uses for all of the OTHER school supplies I have purchased with my teacher discount at the office supply store! Washi tape anyone? How about cute binder clips? I know I’m not the only school supply junkie out there!
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.