Keeping your homeschool organized will save you time and a lot of grief! There are lots of ways to keep your homeschool organized; some of our favorite tools are our Layers of Learning Notebooks. These are student notebooks for each child. Students will keep much of the work they complete while using Layers of Learning units in their Notebook behind dividers for each subject.
At the beginning of each year, prepare a binder for each child. It should be 2 inches and have four dividers, one each for history, geography, science, and art. Label each divider with this year’s courses.
Layers of Learning Notebook Covers
Inside the front of your Layers of Learning Notebook, you can slide a cover and also insert a spine. Download the Layers of Learning Notebook covers then print the ones you need for this year. We recommend printing on card stock, especially for the spine because it is easier to insert if it is on stiff paper.
For Year Four, choose between World History, American History, or Canadian History versions.
Or, if you’re mixing and matching units, choose the plain Layers of Learning Cover.
On the first day of school, give your students a Notebook cover and a spine. Let them draw a picture or decorate the cover any way they like.
Finally, put four dividers inside the Notebook and write in the course names you will be studying this year.
Covers By Subject
Alternately, you can use four notebooks – one for each subject. If you prefer four notebooks, you can use this coordinating set of notebook covers instead. They can also be used as divider pages within your year notebooks by adding a stick-on divider tab to each one.
Writer’s Workshop Covers
You also need a separate Writer’s Notebook. We recommend a 1.5″ binder and five dividers.
Label the dividers:
- Word Work
- Writing Helps
For more about how to set up the Writer’s Notebook and how to use each section see the Writer’s Workshop Guidebook.
You can slip this Writer’s Notebook cover into the front of your binder after your kids decorate it in their own style.
Filling Our Notebooks
We fill our student notebooks with narrations, maps, printables from our unit, and lots of illustrated note sheets. Even in a project-based curriculum, there should be plenty of writing happening. Our writing helps us solidify the knowledge we’ve gained during our units. It also helps us learn to be articulate and explain the things we have learned, read about, and discussed. As my kids get older I also ask them to come to many of their own conclusions and contribute their own ideas back in the form of writing. A notebook is a perfect place to store all of that. We also keep notebooking pages, maps, homemade brochures, and all sorts of other fun things we make in our notebooks.
Using Student Notebooks
Our notebooks are more than just a place to store papers. We utilize our notebooks a lot for review as we go throughout our school year. When it’s time for history, we often take a walk down memory lane through our notebooks. We look over our pages just like we would thumb through a picture book. I ask the kids spontaneous questions…
“Do you remember who the rulers of the Byzantine Empire were?”
“What was the name of the capital of Brazil?”
“Who can remember what state has butter carving competitions?”
“What was your very favorite thing we learned about Native Americans?”
We look over our assignments, ooh and aah a little, and remember all we’ve learned this year.
Our notebooks also just keep things tidy and organized. If we’re in the middle of a project or we didn’t quite finish a map or notebooking page yet, we know where to find it.
At the end of the school year, you can use your notebooks to create school portfolios for your kids too. It’s really fast and easy to do when you’ve kept everything tidy and where it’s supposed to be throughout the year. You can see our portfolios right here.
Start Your Learning Adventure
To find out more about Layers of Learning and how it can change the way you homeschool, visit the Curriculum Guide. We can’t wait for you to join us on a learning adventure!
Try family-style homeschooling now with free samples of four Layers of Learning units when you subscribe. You'll get to try family-style history, geography, science, and arts with your children.
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