What is in that teacher's binder of yours?

Friday, July 26, 2013

It's that time of year again! We've had a super fun summer, but it's time to get back to work. I have to put a warning on this post:

Non-Perfectionists Beware!

For those of you who love and use HOD I want you to know that my way is not the only way to organize your school. Please promise me you won't get overwhelmed. I aim to help, and not to hinder. Also, for perspective I bought our school books back in March, so I've been chipping away at all this slowly over the past 4 months. Some people like to have planning marathons. I'm not like that. When I bake I measure out all my ingredients, so I don't forget anything. I'm as messy a cook as anyone, but some things take a little pre-prep. Homeschooling is like that for me. I like to have all my ingredients ready. It has made our days and years go "smooth and easy" as Charlotte Mason would say. Heart of Dakota can be very open and go. I, however, am a planner in heart. I may make things complicated, but they work for me. Please don't feel like your materials need to look like mine, but if you love office supplies, I'm your girl! Ok, now that I have that out of the way....here goes :)

 Here's my new teacher binder. Isn't she pretty? I bought a new 1.5 inch Better Binder from Staples. Did you know you can recycle old binders, and get $2 back towards the purchase of a new one?

 Here is her profile :) Another thing I really love from Staples is their Better Dividers. I use the 8 tab pack for my teacher binder, and the 5 tab packs for my student binders. They are really pricey, but I think they're worth it. You can use them year after year without having to replace them. In fact, they discontinued the old style, and they're on clearance right now for dirt cheap. I just bought 10 of the five tab packs. You may be able to find some on the clearance rack, or you could buy them online and have them shipped free to the store.

This year I chose to take the binding off of my guides. We are using HOD Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory and Creation to Christ this year. I'm helping a friend put her Preparing Hearts stuff together this year as well. I will be sharing posts on how to organize all three guides in the next few weeks if all goes well.

 Here's a closer look at the tabs. This is how I divided each section:
  • HOD BLHFHG Daily Plans
  • HOD BLHFHG Poetry
  • Silas's Weekly Schedule
  • HOD CtC Daily Plans
  • HOD CtC Poetry
  • Aedan's Weekly Schedule
  • Beyond & Elemental Science Materials Lists
  • CtC Materials List
  • HOD Dictation
  • English from the Roots Up Weekly Plans
  • Attendance and Field Trip Logs
  • Beyond Health Plans
  • Narration Tips
  • Appendix
I keep one month of HOD daily plans in my teacher binder at a time.

Last year I spiral bound my teacher guide. That works really well if you are only running one guide. I'm running 2 this year, so it's nice being able to have everything in one place. If you do choose to spiral bind your teacher guide I would suggest taking it home and copying everything you need to copy out of it before binding it. It is so much easier to copy loose pages than those that are spiral bound.

 I will keep the poetry portion of Beyond in my teacher binder. I made a Beyond poetry book for Silas, so he has his own copy.

This year I chose to make detailed schedules for both boys. Last year my record keeping was lacking, so I want to have something to show someone if questions were ever asked about how school goes around here.

I will share more about our Beyond schedule when I do my organizational post for Beyond. I am going to attempt to do as much in 4 days as we can which is why you see a lighter Friday.

I plan to tack these each week to our cork board, so that the boys can check off each activity that is completed.

 The next section has a month of daily HOD CtC plans.

I will probably take out a week at a time to put in a separate binder for Aedan. Much of the plans for CtC are independent, so Aedan needs to be able to look at these. I will likely put the plans in page protectors (a week's worth.)

 Again, I removed the poetry section from the teacher binder. I also made Aedan this own CtC poetry book.

Here are Aedan's detailed weekly plans.

Aedan will be responsible to mark off what is completed each day.

I have to be honest, this was a LOT of work. I'm so glad I did it though. When Silas gets around to doing CtC it will already be done for me.

 The next 2 sections have the materials list or Beyond and CtC.

 I will also remove the current genre of DITHOR that we are working on. It is really nice not having to juggle all 3 guides.

 I copied level 2, 3 and 4 of HOD's dictation, and stapled each set. When it is time to do dictation each day, I take out each child's copy and have them study their passage.

This year we will do English from the Roots Up together. A mom shared her awesome plans, and notebooking pages for this program.

Here's another great thing another HOD homeschool mom made. This will be our attendance sheet for the year. This is the best one I've found. Of course I edited it to add more color :) I  need to print it again. I was running out of ink at the time. Imagine that?! There is also a field trip log behind the attendance sheet.

A mom on the Beyond facebook page shared these great health plans to do alongside of Beyond's science. I'm thankful for all that people share!

I copied and laminated the written and and oral narration tips from the appendix of the HOD guide.

The appendix section is for appendix-y type things. I have our cursive charts, and a few other odds and ends in there.

 And just in case I forget, I put this in the front of my binder. I love when my kids surprise me with sweet little love offerings like this one. I need reminders that my little guys love me just as much as I love them. That makes this all worth it, don't ya think?


  1. Pretty awesome! Most organized person I know! I love seeing it all together!

  2. If this is my friend Lisa, you have seen the pantry of doom, and know the truth about me :)

  3. Looks wonderful!!! No I didn't know about recycling the binders!! Thank you!

    Also your newest blog follower! Feel free to find me here: http://thearrowoodzoo.blogspot.com

  4. You have done it again! WoW!! I am in awe of your mad organizational skills!! Your site has been such a life saver to me in planning my first year.

  5. Kate,

    I'm so glad to be of help to anyone :) I feel like I have learned everything I know from so many other who have shared what they know. I hope you have a great year!

  6. Can I move in with you for a week and have you help me organize my school year? I would love to copy your hard work. :)

    I will be running 3 guides this year. I have a kiddo that will finish up Bigger in December with an older sibling. The older will move on to Preparing and the younger one will do something else for half a year while two younger siblings finish Little Hearts. Than three will move into Beyond. I am interested in hearing how your younger son does with going "back" in a guide. I also have a four year old that will do something else, but also "listen" to the older kids lessons. I am trying to get everything organized, but it is so much and can be overwhelming. Thanks for sharing what you do .... it is an inpiration!


  7. Could you leave links to the additional forms and lesson plans you mentioned in your post?

  8. Michelle, They are mostly in the HOD Yahoo group, or on the HOD Facebook page.

  9. Awww!! Such inspiration! I love seeing through the eyes of other moms.

    I am finishing up my Little Hands and Beyond Little Hearts and hope to share soon.

    Thank you for all your help!
    "Jane" @ WhisperedAbundance

  10. So awesome, thanks! Would you be willing to share your schedule for Silas? I'm starting Beyond with my 2nd grader and it's our first time doing HOD. Thanks!

  11. Awesome work!
    I found your blog a few months ago. I will be doing HOD for the first time, BHFHG. Your blog has help me get organized.
    Would you share how fit Life of Fred into your day? I have Apples through Farming and I want to incorporate them into my day.

  12. Awesome! I found your blog a few months back. I will be doing BHFHG this year. This is my first year with HOD. I have been inspired so much from your blog. I has help me get organized for this school-year.

    Will you share how you fit Life of Fred into your day?

  13. Hi! Thanks for sharing all of this with us! I was wondering, how do you unbind your HoD teacher's manuals? I've used HoD for a few years and hate trying to make copies out of the bound books, however, I don't want to ruin the pages either :) Thanks in advance!

  14. I take my guides to FedEx or Staples. Any office supply will do it. I think other places are cheaper than FedEx, but they've never messed mine up. I think I normally pay around 3-4 bucks. I've read of others having trouble. I hate making copies out of bound books as well!

  15. I'm going to give FedEx Office a try. Thanks!

  16. I have a question. Everytime I use excel it takes me forever! What do you use to make your kids detailed weekly plans, attendance sheets, and your daily schedule?

    Also, what binders and size do you find work well for your kids? 1.5" better binder? Do you find that the clasps get gaps and tear the pages? I used sonlight 2 years ago and hated the binder for that reason. Also, it was like 18 " long! BUT... you make binder schooling look so attractive!!

  17. I use 1.5 inch better binders :) They haven't ripped any pages yet, and I love that they have a lifetime guarantee. If one breaks or goes bad they will replace it.

    No matter what you use to plan your whole school year it takes fooooreeeever! I got some of templates of the HOD FB pages (attendance, and field trips form.) The other one is just a plain thing in Word. I can send you a blank one if you want :)

  18. That would be amazing!! Thank you for your blog! YOU have inspired me to DO MORE AND SET HIGHER GOALS! Good stuff! I also love reading HOD blogs. I'm thinking of blogging our school year!

  19. Hi! We're moving from MFW into HOD in the fall and and you're blog has been a Godsend. I'm following your instructions for the teacher binder since we'll be running 3 guides (CtC, BHFHG, and LHTH for the preschooler). I'm wondering if you'd mind sharing your attendance form and a template for your older son's schedule. I've combed yahoo and fb for such forms and haven't found them. Am I missing something?

  20. Welcome to my little blog! So glad to have been of any kind of help :) I would be happy to send you my attendance sheet. It's in excel form. I believe I got it on one of the HOD FB pages. I can't remember which. I edited it to suit our schedule last year. I can't share my schedule because of copywrite. It's something I put together just for our personal schedule that followed the HOD guide and anything we added. I'd be happy to send you the blank form I used if that would help? Send me an email to the address on the "about" page above, and I'll send you what I have.

  21. This looks so so good!!!
    I am wondering, where would we find the English from the Roots Up plans and notebooking pages that this wonderful mom shared?
    Thank you.

  22. I linked those worksheets in this post :)


  23. I love how organized you are and how easy you really make it! I was wondering if you still plan on posting how you organize Preparing. Our youngest is using Beyond this year and our oldest will be in Preparing. Thanks :)

    1. I don't think I'll get around until posting about Preparing until next year. I think I'll get a beter feel for how to organize it for myself when it comes time for us to use it. I do have most of it printed, but it's not done yet. Right now I'm working on organizing MFW ECC and HOD RtR :)

  24. Wow...this is inspiring! and fun to see how you've done it all too! thank you!

  25. Hello!! Thank you for all the amazing HOD stuff you post, you're awesome ;) I was wondering, how do you put the guides in binders? Is there a special loose leaf guide you order to do that, or do you take the guides apart? I have some that are spiral bound and some that are just the regular book binding (not sure what that's called?). My oldest is doing CTC this year, and I bought it used. It is not in perfect shape and some of the pages are starting to come out. I figure with me looking at it everyday, and her looking at it everyday, flipping back to the dictation and poems, etc etc, it's going to be VERY used by the end of the year and may not hold up. So if it's possible to put the pages in page protectors and put it all in a binder, that would be fantastic! That way we can keep the pages clean, too, which is really important to me with at least two more kids that will be using it. Can you tell me if this is possible? I see bloggers who have their HOD guides in binders all the time and I never know if they had to order a certain type of guide to do that? I just don't know! lol. God bless your school year <3

    1. Thanks so much for visiting <3 I probably should make a note on these posts that I did everything each year a little different. If you take a look at how I organized our Preparing guide, I took out about a quarter of the year's guide and put it in a smaller 1 inch binder in oage protectors. This binder was fine for this year, but once they started working in more independent guides I had a smaller binder for them to use. The guides to hold up this way. The guides come bound like yours is with a perfect binding. People either keep them as is, have them spiral bound or have them 3 hold punched for a binder.

      I take mine to Fed Ex/Kinkos and have them remove the spine. I usually 3 hole punch it at home myself. I've had them do it before and the holes are too big and can rip easily. For them to do this costs about 3 dollars or maybe 5 for spiral bound. Take a look at this Preparing post to see how I use a smaller binder :) http://www.monarchroom.com/2015/03/organization-for-heart-of-dakota.html?m=1

  26. Thank you so much for the ideas! I like the smaller binder with 1/4 guide in it idea :)


Thank you so much for visiting :) I adore hearing from you!

CopyRight 2016 © | Monarch Room