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
Here are a variety of cover options for you. The first one has a large assortment of covers that are specific to Layers of Learning.
Covers by Layers of Learning Year or Course
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. You’ll find spines included within the same file. We recommend printing on card stock, especially for the spine because it is easier to insert if it is on stiff paper. Besides the ones shown here, there are also lots of other options, all within this file. Just click on the covers and print only the ones you’d like to use for your family. There are some by year, some by subject, and also a mostly blank option to choose from.
For Year Four, choose between World History, American History, or Canadian History versions.
You’ll also find Course covers within this same set.
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.
Finally, put dividers inside the notebook and label each one. For example, if you will be using just one notebook for Year 1 of Layers of Learning, you would write in the course names for Year 1. If you are going to have specific course notebooks, you might add a divider for each of the nine units within each course. We recommend a separate notebook for Writer’s Workshop because it involves a lot more writing than the other courses. You’ll find instructions for setting up your Writer’s Notebook in the Writer’s Workshop Guidebook.
Covers By School 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. These are also applicable if you’re mixing and matching Layers of Learning with other curricula.
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!
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