Binder Systems: Teacher Record Book

This past week, I have been trying to re-organize my paperwork. I have searched my Pintrest posts and googled a lot in order to find ways to organize that work for me. I have started several of what I call “Binder Systems” because I like how pretty and organized they look 🙂 Hopefully, as I complete my projects, I will do blog posts in order to show them to you!

As most of you know, I have been homeschooling Kendal for Kindergarten this past year. Actually we only did a half-year of Kindergarten because I started her on a 1st grade curriculum in January. Up to this week I had all of my records & planning materials in a folder with tabs. This worked well for only having one homeschool student but starting next school year I will also be officially homeschooling Audrey as well. So, I wanted to come up with a way to keep records & lesson plans for both of them in one place. This is what I came up with!

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I started a 1 inch white binder with clear pockets on the outside. I cut pretty  scrapbook paper to fit in the front, back, and side pockets. I used a mailing label on the front paper (not on the actual binder) and wrote “Teacher Records.” On the side paper (which will be visible when the binder is on the bookshelf), I wrote the same directly on the paper.

Blog 14The front inner cover has Kendal’s Lesson Plan Book and the back inner cover has Audrey’s. I used mailing labels for their names. The labels should easily come off if I ever decide to change things around or use the binder for a completely different purpose.

Blog 3LESSON PLANS: I get my Lesson Plan Books in the dollar section as you walk into Target. A few times a year, most of their dollar section is made up of teacher supplies including plan books, grade books, flash cards, work books, early readers, pencils, rewards, etc. When I started homeschooling, I grabbed one or two plan books when I saw them. I am grateful that I did this because now I do not live near a Target. But, I have a stack of plan books to hold me over for a couple of years.

Another note on lesson plans… I learned very early on that planning ahead usually does not work. Ahead of time, I would write down what I wanted Kendal to complete each day for each subject. Some families can do that and it works well for them. By day 3, I realized that did not work for our family at all! Kendal is unpredictable when it comes to school. Some days, it is like pulling teeth to get her to do anything. Other days, she far exceeds my expectations for the day. Sometimes, she will do school work at 10pm because she doesn’t want to go to bed. And other times she will do half of her work on one day and the other half on the next day (when she does this, I count it as one school day for attendance and in the lesson planner). Now, I just write down what we do, as we do it.

Blog 9The dividers are labeled in order as follows: Kendal Attendance, Kendal Grades, Audrey Attendance, Audrey Grades, Reading Lists, State Registration, Template Copies, and Evaluation lists. Then there is a set of numbered divider tabs 1-12. Behind the divider tabs there are a few plastic sleeves with reward & completion certificates that I have printed and will give the girls in the future (such as Kindergarten graduation certificates). Finally, there is a folder to be used as a collect all for extra papers. Right now I have Kendal’s tests that she will need to complete on one side of the folder. The other side of the folder has flyers of upcoming events for church or community.

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ATTENDANCE: I use this 2-Page Dated Attendance Form that I found at I print it back to back on one sheet of paper. I use the July to June forms because we school year round instead of following the local school schedule. We still must complete the 180 days of school but this allows us to be more flexible with appointments, vacations, sick days, or anything else that comes up. As you can see, we don’t always do school every day and I have no problem doing school on weekends. And in case you were wondering, November & December on this form are pretty sparse because we did not do much schooling while we were in the moving process.

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GRADES: I have two sheets to record grades. First, to record K-12 grades, I use this Long Term Grade Record also found As of now, I do not know how many years that I will homeschool. For us, it will be a year to year decision based on prayer, where we are currently located (we are military), state homeschooling laws, and how the girls are doing with school. But, I want to be prepared for however long we do homeschool and have everything recorded in one place so that if the state requests to see records I will have them available.

Second, I also want to keep more a more detailed grade record for each school year. Currently, I am using the one that goes along with the curriculum we are using right now. I expect that each year I will have a different sheet depending on the curriculum we decide to use. And even though this particular form also has an attendance record, I do not use that part because I prefer the flexibility of the one mentioned above.

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READING LISTS: I have a personal goal of reading to the girls 30 “new” books each month. My lists do not include books that we have read in the past. I have a huge personal library of books and many of them we read over and over. So, by “new,” I mean these lists are for books that we have never read before. Can you guess where I found this Reading List?

Having reading goals is important so that we can participate in certain community reading programs. For example, libraries often have summer reading programs that include goals and rewards. Also, we do the Pizza Hut Book-It program. Yes, it available for homeschool families! Sign up starts in May for the following school year and packets are sent to your home around September.

STATE REGISTRATION: This tab is for my state registration confirmation form. Record requirements for every state is different so be sure to find the information needed for where you live. I keep better records than what is required for New Mexico (as you can see from my binder) but I want to be in the habit of keeping good records in case we ever get stationed in a state that requires more of homeschooling families.

TEMPLATE COPIES: Every time I find a form online that I want to use, I print it and put it in this tab. Then when I go to use it, I just make a copy of it instead of having to find the form online again. I do not always use the forms right away so I don’t always remember where I found them if I don’t print it. Also, for me, forms have been a trial/error process. I think one will work and after using it for a little while, it ends up not being what I need. Having this tab gives me options and saves me time.

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EVALUATION LISTS: Behind this tab, I have a set of divider tabs numbered 1-12. One of the most valuable resources that I have come across (thanks to my homeschooling friend Tonya!) is my “What Your Child Needs To Know When” book. When I started homeschooling, I was very concerned about being able to keep up with the public school and state standards. This book focuses on how to incorporate Bible learning and character traits into your homeschooling BUT it also has a whole section of state standard lists for each grade and subject. If you notice, you can keep track of up to 5 children on each page! So, I copied all of the kindergarten and first grade lists. Kindergarten lists go behind the “evaluation lists” tab and first grade lists go behind the #1 tab. When Kendal starts second grade, those lists will go behind the #2 tab and so on. This is a great resource for those who want to see how your child is doing!

So there you have it! My new Teacher Record Book binder system! If you have any questions, please let me know!

Please share how you keep your records in the comments. I love hearing new ideas!

Confessions Of A Messy Person

Want to know a secret? I am a messy person when it comes to my home. There is clutter everywhere and I hate to clean. The problem is that I WANT my house to be neat, organized, & clean! I always joke that I am OCD about unimportant things like alphabetizing my DVDs and organizing my closet by rainbow color order. When I was a kid, I helped my mom clean houses and when I was in high school I worked as a housekeeper at an inn for a summer. So, I do know how to clean and organize. I have lots of ideas on how to get into a cleaning routine or get something organized but I almost never have the motivation to follow through.

I have several theories on why I am messy…

1) I am a perfectionist and I get overwhelmed. If it’s a big mess, I just don’t know where to start. If I do know where to start, then I know that it will take me a long time to clean it properly. In either case, the mess usually ends up staying where it is until it is unbearable not to clean it.

2) I take after my dad. He collects everything on the planet and probably could be considered a hoarder (although the last time I was at his house, the main rooms were somewhat livable). I remember when my dad wanted us to clean our messy bedroom, he would sweep everything into a pile in the center of the room and then have us clean it. My husband hates it but that is how I now usually deal with clutter. I go through the entire house and sweep everything on the floor into one room. Then I sort through everything and put everything in its proper place. For me, it is more overwhelming to have messes scattered everywhere than it is to have one big pile.

3) I am lazy and a procrastinator. Instead of cleaning, I would rather curl up on the couch and read a good book or watch a movie. When my house gets too messy, I invite a group of people over for dinner or a gathering of some sort. Why? Because, I don’t want people to see my messy house. So, I clean, organize, and/or hide my messes the day before the guests are due to arrive. I often am cleaning right up to the time they knock on the door. (If you have seen my house in a complete disaster state, you know you are a very close friend lol).

Why is all this coming up now? Before the Thanksgiving & Christmas holidays, my husband was away for four months. Since he wasn’t at home, I kind of let things get out WAY of hand. He is the neat person so he usually keeps me in check when things start to get too messy. When he is home he also helps with the housework. So, clutter piled up and messes were left un-cleaned. It doesn’t help that I have a 3 & 5 year old who love to make messes. Like the time that they got into the game closet and completely dumped several large puzzles and games on their bedroom floor:

My husband was home for the holidays and then we all left for a month-long vacation. In our rush to get out the door in time for vacation, the house was left in disarray, three Christmas trees were left up, and nothing got cleaned. The girls and I came home and my husband went away for 6 months of more military training. You can imagine the overwhelmed feeling that came over me when I walked in the door.

My goal is to have the house in a lot better shape by the time my husband returns home in July. I want to get into some sort of routine that has me cleaning something each day so it doesn’t build up. I want my house to be somewhat presentable at anytime so that if guests come over it’s not a major whole house clean before I am willing to let them in the door. I want to be a good example for my girls so that they can be proud of the home they live in.

I have been doing a little at a time; baby steps in the right direction.

The first thing I did when I returned home was my refrigerator. This was a good place to start because it was almost empty due to us being on vacation. If something spills in my refrigerator, it generally does not get cleaned up right away. Which means, when I do get around to cleaning it up, it gets hard and sticky and takes twice as long to clean. This time, I lined my refrigerator shelves and drawers with Glad Press & Seal plastic. This was an amazing idea I found on Pintrest. If a mess happens, I can just remove the plastic and replace it instead of spending a ton of time cleaning the refrigerator!

The next thing I did was my bathroom sink. This is a good example of an organization baby step. The sink is a small surface that, once organized, is easy to maintain. First, I cleared off everything on my counter and cleaned the counter, sink, and mirrors really well. Then, I decided what I wanted to be on the counter and found a basket and an office organizer to use to hold those items. I need the things I use regularly (toothbrush, hairbrush, makeup, deodorant, etc.) to be visible or else I will forget to use them. Yes, I have walked out the door forgetting to brush my teeth or put on deodorant. I blame Mommy Brain lol! Finally, I have made it a habit to put everything on the counter away and wipe down the counter and sink with a Clorox wipe EVERY night before going to bed.

Another thing that I did was made a daily chore list for myself. I wrote it out on a dry erase board so that I can easily change it if I find something isn’t working for a certain day. I have not started the routine yet BUT I am planning to start it this week. I have dishes and laundry listed daily. We all know that it does not take long for these chores get backed up if they are not done regularly. I hate doing dishes but I am determined to get at least one dishwasher load running each day. I am good at washing and drying the laundry but horrible at getting it folded and put away. I am determined to wash, dry, fold, and put away at least one load a day. Also, I listed a couple of rooms to do each day. I didn’t list individual things like vacuuming, dusting, making beds, etc. because I already know what needs to be done in each room. My goal is to spend at least a half hour in each room. Besides the general cleaning, there is always something to be organized (drawers, cabinets, closets, etc.). I plan to do the cleaning first then if there is time work on the organizing. Whatever is left over gets carried over to the following week.

Of course, there is room for flexibility. Some days I may just have 15 minutes to run through the room and clean up the clutter. Some days, I may have all day to completely organize all of my kitchen cabinets or bedroom closets. But no matter how much time I have, my goal is to do SOMETHING each day.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and what you do to maintain a clean and organized house! Please share any ideas you have in the comments!