Do you remember that June 2009 post?  Meh. Probably not.  But it was the year I left behind all of my former best laid plans and moved to file boxes and folders to organize the children.  (Of which there are now 10.  It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.) 😉

Well, recently on The Well Trained Mind forums, I came across someone’s post outlining how she plans.  She mentioned she puts together spiral bound books of their work.  Genius!

Please, imagine for me if you will, a Monday where no mother has to hunt for workbooks, search for papers, frantically make photocopies, and then get everyone seated around the table (again) because Mama had to run off and do these things so they scattered to the far reaches of the house.   That’s right!  Plop down on one book and you are ready for Table Time.  Table Time is when the entire family (current baby included) sits at the table and works quietly.  It’s something to aim for, train for, achieve.  It’s not easy, but it’s worthwhile!

Without further ado, this is what I had yesterday morning:

Before photo planning_zpsb97641db.jpg

It was as simple as:

1. Make a resource list. List every subject you do and every resource you use for that subject.
2. From that list, make a list of everything that gets copied or comes in a workbook form.
3. This is now your list of what to include.
4. Now, pull out anything that needs photocopied and make detailed notes on a Post It. This should include how many copies, who it is for, and whether they are single or double sided. (Divide single side and double side into two piles.)
5. Design a cover page and dividers.
6. Are there additional resources you want pulled in?
Ideas might be: IEW checklists, math tables or charts, a reading log, assignment sheets, etc. We have a chart in there for All About Reading for consistency in the little kids’ books.

You’ll then have this:

 photo pile_zps6f293f5c.jpg

– Head off to the printer’s.
7. Decide the order in which they go.
8. Make copies.
9. Divide them up and put them together.
10. Drill and add spiral.

Finally!  You’ll end up with this:

 photo binders2_zps4f26003f.jpg

So far I have been asked the following questions and I’ll include them here for convenience sake.

Q. Is it all mixed up or in subject order? How do you find the exact page you want?

A. They are divided by simple pages that just have WEEK 1, WEEK 2, etc on them. I’m going to add labeled tabs so we can “quick turn” to each.

I didn’t go in daily work because there are days we don’t get everything done and then I get snippy and perfectionistic. I’m not setting myself up for that. So they are divided by weeks and by subjects for the little folk – 5yo, 6yo, and 8yo.

For the 9yo and the 11yo I am dividing by weeks, but dividing the subjects up into daily chunks within the weeks. I wanted to do it this way with the littles but I had been at the printer for HOURS at that point and wanted to be done. Now I can’t decide which I’d prefer for them but I know I want it like this for the girls mostly because they are more independent and can work through a day’s worth of work with minimal guidance from me. “Do the next thing” philosophy is kicking in on those workbook-y things that they can do themselves.


Love it!

Did you include your math and CLE sheets in there?

A.  Yes on the CLE sheets but no on the math.  When I make the switch to Math Mammoth (when it goes on sale next month at HBC) I will include them as well.  I wouldn’t recommend the CLE though – it did NOT play nicely!  The sheets are thin and not quite the right size so it took some effort to get them lined up.


Where did you get this idea? It looks fantastic!


The idea was in a planning thread from a few years ago where I caught that someone else had just put everything into one big book.


Those came out great!

One thing I also do is have my dd sign her book so I have a record of her signature.

My comment: Great idea!


Can I ask how you ordered the sheets?  By day’s worth of subjects, or by chunks of subjects?


I went to the UPS store yesterday thinking it would take an hour.  It took four.  So, by the end, I just grouped it by subject per week in the books for my littles – they are 5yo, 6yo, and 8yo.  So, for example there is a big blank sheet that says:  WEEK 1, followed by the WWE sheets (redone in StartWrite to have italics copywork), then all my CLE sheets, SOTW activity sheets, ETC, BibleScribe, Christian Kids Biology, etc in chunks.  I don’t like it and I’ll change it, but frankly I was exhausted.

I can still change it though – the spirals come out easy peasy so if I get motivated today while I do NOTHING but sit, lol, I can organize it better.

However, I have my 9yo and 11yo still to bind and that’s going in DAILY order, still divided by the weekly separation sheets.  They have the addition of weekly assignment checklists and a planner area that they record exactly WHAT they did that day.  It’s my goal of training them towards good record keeping.  My oldest DD tracks everything in Homeschool Tracker (she’s my Type A girl) and it’s just so much easier to have them be accountable for this.


Very nice! I am interested in more details too!  Did you take it somewhere to have it done or did you do it all on your own at home?


I did some of it at home.  I burned a CD of my downloads and went through them and found out what pages I wanted printed of each.

Some things, like Christian Kids Bio and SOTW, I needed everything printed of Units/Chapters 1-8 for Liz and for Rebecca, but I needed 4 extra copies of coloring pages for Tim, Abbie, Sarah, and Ella.  My post it notes made it SO much easier when I got to the copier.  Make notes of things like single sided and double sided and separate things that are both.  For example, in WWE 4, you have some pages that are double sided.  Those should be pre-pulled and marked double sided.  It’s a LOT easier to do before you get there. I took over one table and one copier.  You might call around and find out if anywhere in your area gives an education discount and ask for homeschoolers.  A very kind homeschooling mama told me about our local UPS store (one does honor homeschoolers and one does not) that does single side copies for three and half cents.  I was thrilled.   The girl behind the counter did my binding.  *But* apparently you can “drill” the holes all for free and the spirals are re-useable and cheap.  So, don’t let that be inhibitive.

Comment and Q.

The two threads I’ve seen about this are:



This would also work well with the infamous Filing System — I’m thinking of printing and filing by subject, and then making 2-6 weeks worth of booklets at a time, incase things don’t go according to schedule.

My Response:

I think my blog was one of the first to switch from WorkBoxes to Filing.


That was 2009.  It still gets a fair amount of hits, lol.  Maybe I should update? ;)

If you look at the first picture in this post, you’ll see I still have a couple of the file boxes, lol!

I was proud of myself for getting on this early, but apparently I always have.  That was June 30th. :D

Here’s my problem with the filing system – it’s too much for me.  It became too much bulk, too many folders, too much loose paper.  Now, granted, if you have 1-3 children, it might still work, ESPECIALLY if you want to file everything – three hole punch it and put it in binders a la TWTM book.   For me, a lot of those cute file boxes got used as step stools.  FYI, they don’t hold up great this way.  So, last year, in an effort to revamp, I went down to TWO file boxes with color coded quarterly folders and labeled them Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc.  It was okay.  It was nothing spectacular.  I still had a lot of loose paper.

So, something that’s relevant here:  I’m a clutter-phobe.  I have a serious issue with clutter.  This is really bad as a mom of ten kids, btw.  I think it makes me twitch to see “stuff” all over the place.  Not at other people’s houses, mind you.  I actually LIKE knick-knacks and pretty things at OTHER people’s houses.  Just not at mine.  I literally just packed away about 50% of the books I own so I don’t have to look at them this school year.  I’m thinking it wasn’t enough.  I have some nekkid bookshelves right now and I’m loving it.   It’s an illness, lol.  These books?  They’re my happy pill.