Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's a Work Binder?

When we started our homeschool journey we were on the road a lot. Our oldest, then 5 and in Kindergarten, attended Montessori one day a week when Blue Spruce taught Russian at the preschool, and our daughter, then 3, attended 5 days a week. Little Balsam Fir was just crawling.

 Since preschool was only 2 1/2 hours long and the drive there was 30 minutes one way, it didn't make sense to drive home for a rushed hour. On warm weather days we played at a local park, and on not-so-great days we lounged at the library. I needed something I could pack easily for White Pine's homeschooling (especially since I was already juggling a diaper bag, snack bag and a wiggly baby). Work binders!

Using a 1" 3 ring binder, sometimes with a clear plastic sleeve on the front and sometimes not, I created a  portable, easy-to-tote curriculum binder that the kids pack into a backpack with a pencil case filled small scissors, 8 pack of colored pencils, small pencil sharpener, glue stick, 1-2 sharpened pencils, and Vis-A-Vis wet erase markers. It's really been quite helpful for school-on-the-road!

Here's Balsam Fir's 1st grade work binder:

Several readers, Path Quest visual perception activity book,
and a fill-in month sheet (slipped inside a sheet protector)
from 1+1+1=1

Shape words practice from 1+1+1=1 and Make-the-Date with
money from Mama Jenn

Days of the week word/order practice and sight word practice
from 1+1+1=1

Color words and weather chart from 1+1+1=1

100s chart for counting, odds/evens, skip
counting, and patterning from 1+1+1=1

Skip counting (several other sheets
underneath) from Homeschool Creations

Number of school days place value sheet from Mama Jenn

I also include about 2 weeks worth of Grammar and Writing worksheets and Saxon Math lessons, 5-10 sheets of blank lined notebook paper, and a laminated 8x11 United States/World map in the back of the binder. And occasionally we clip a pack of flash cards (Math? Sight Words? Memory Game?) onto a binder ring by hole punching the corners and putting them onto a loose-leaf ring.

Be sure to slip the pages inside sheet protectors and use Vis-A-Vis or another brand of wet erase markers if you decide to create a work binder or calendar time notebook. Sheet protectors allow the sheets to be used over and over, and the wet erase markers don't smudge as much as dry erase ones.

How do you make things easier for school-on-the-road?


  1. This is a great idea, even if you aren't on the road much. What a great way to keep organized.

  2. Oh, I should've added that my youngest uses this daily. He pulls out his binder and How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and he's ready to go. Sometimes we add a lapbook and Astronomy in there too.

  3. I love this idea. You have put it together so well. I was wondering how we could set something up like this because I never know when my son will need to grab his school work for us to go somewhere. I hate to say that we have just taken a day off, or only completed one or two subjects from not having a system in place. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. So organized! We "car school" on Monday mornings while my boys take turns at horse lessons. You have me motivated to work on a more organized method.

  5. Wow! Great idea to get organized. I could definitely use some helpful ideas in that area. ;)

  6. This is a great idea! I will post it on my BP fb page linking back here so they can see it if that is alright with you! I try to keep the nook loaded with some books fo the current holiday and general info/learning books. Also, notecards and spelling words seem to be a good one that can fit into my purse but these look GREAT and i will need to do something like this soon as our hours at the ice rink increase. thanks for sharing such a great idea!

  7. I love your binder! And chances are I'll be borrowing some it to use here. :)

    I have a big purple bag that goes with us when we have to run around. That's where I'll put things to schlep. Not organized AT.ALL. Which is why I think the binder will work SO much better!


  8. I keep a work binder for those days that will be spent in a doctor's waiting room and it carries well from department to department. Not only does it keep the flow of learning but it also passes the time much faster and is a great behavior keeper.

  9. Wow- you are so organized! I imagine it would be hard to school on the road. Next fall we are doing an extended vacation & doing some schooling on the road - I'll be checking back here for ideas =-) THanks for linking up to TGIF! Looking forward to seeing you next week
    Beth =-)

  10. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.


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