Building Independent Binders ~ Free Printable too!


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I have a binder for each kid that contains their independent work. These binders are a life saver when it comes time for the dishes to be done, or the diapers to be changed, or whatever takes me away from the school table. I can say, get out your Binders, and the kids love them. Last year was our first year using them, so this year I'm ready to amp them up a bit more.

First thing in the binder this year will be a calendar. I use Saxon math, and yes it has a very long and arduous meeting time that includes the calendar among other things, but I've decided to forgo that part of Saxon, and do our own thing. This year we will be studying Ancient history and many myths, so I decided to make a calendar for the kids to fill out that includes some history. Nothing too special, but it will give them the calendar to study and add a little history to it. Gideon will just fill in the month, year, days and dates. Eowyn will also add in events for her week (piano practice, etc.). They can both do that on their own, using our wall calendar if they run into trouble.

Copywork is also in our binders. Eowyn is working on Genesis 1 from the KJV. I'm having her copy in cursive, and everyday she'll start over the copywork. I've decided this will help her memorize the passage, and strengthen her hand for writing longer passages. I have printed off a copy of Genesis 1 for her, but I may begin having her copy from our KJV Bible. I'm not quite ready for Gideon to begin copywork; his letter formation is still a little shaky and not quite the habit that I want it to be before he begins copying. So he just needs to keep practicing his letters. This isn't independent work for him, because I need to be right next to him while he's practicing to ensure he forms his letters correctly. I'm hoping and expecting that this will change shortly, and he'll begin copywork before Christmas.
Onward! Geography, or map practice, is also a part of their independent binders. This year for CC we are studying world geography, so we'll do lots of blob maps, tracing, and identifying. Their Binders include CC's Geography table for Cycle 1 so that they can trace and copy. I'll put blank pages of printer paper in their binders for them to draw on. (I detest having markers in the house, so pencil and paper is the way to go for me.) Brandi at Half a Hundred Acre Wood has a great post about blob maps.

Eowyn has a drill kit for the multiplication tables to run through (I'm not sure where it came from, I think my Mom pulled it out of her stash), and they both have blank staff paper to copy the music of the hymns we study. They have a copy of whatever hymn we are working on in their binders to copy to the staff paper.

I think that's everything, at least for now! While the kids are doing their independent work, I'm going to turn on the Mystery of History audio books. They love listening to these stories, and it lines up nicely with our timeline. And these books have a Biblical worldview. (I tried Story of the World, but this is a better fit for us.)

Because I had to make these calendars for our home school, I decided to offer them to you too! If you'd like your own Ancient history calendar, you can download it from Google docs HERE. It's not much, just a small token of my gratitude for reading my ramblings.
What would you put in some independent binders?

7 comments

  1. I've actually been toying with the idea of building independent binders this year! Hoping it might help my dyslexic learner if pushed to stand on his own! Thanks for such an awesome guide! xo
    FOund you at "Hip Homeschool"!

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    1. Thanks Lorey! I've found it's important to give my kids things that they can take ownership of in their school assignments. It helps motivate them. They love these binders, and they also love their history notebooks. I like the pride they take in their work too!

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  2. What a great idea! I need to think of some independent things for my kinder girl - she's getting bored while I work with her older sister. What exactly are the kids doing with the calendars? Writing in the dates?

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    1. Hi Alison! Yep, that's why I started these, to give them something to do while I'm needed elsewhere. They do fill in the calendars, the month, year, days,and dates, usually on s daily basis. And then they can start counting down to events, looking at how the calendar works, understanding yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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  3. This brings back memories from my homeschooling days!

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  4. This is great! I love how you showed how you used the binders. When we made ours and used them year after year, the kids and I both loved them! I hope you have a wonderful school year :) Thanks for sharing your post at Together on Tuesdays.

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  5. Looks good! Neat idea, having the kids copy music. I wouldn't have thought of that!

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