Sunday, February 24, 2013

Creating a Homeschool Notebook

Since we live in Florida, our unschooling has to have a bit of structure. The state requires that any homeschooling parent keep a record of the child's progress throughout the year. Although the records may never be checked, you have to be able to produce said records within a few days of being notified that the superintendent wants to see them.

I won't lie, I've been worried that the superintendent is going to pound on my door and say with a menacing voice "SHOW ME YOUR RECORDS!" 


So, instead of staying in a constant state of anxiety, I decided to create what I call a "Homeschooling Notebook."

I created the notebook based on the book that I'm reading which I will be reviewing shortly. It's called The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. It's a fantastic book with plenty of information on how to teach reading, grammar, spelling, math, etc. Also included are instructions on how to create a notebook for this type of curriculum.

The book recommends that you create several sections in the notebook that include:
  • Spelling
  • Reading
  • Grammar
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
I ordered Avery big tab dividers and created a section in Sam's notebook for each of the above subjects.

I used a large binder with three inch rings so there was plenty of room to add worksheets that Sam has yet to complete, finished worksheets and other notes.

My finished notebook looks like this:

My dividers

The writing section of Sam's notebook. I make notes about how well she read on page so that I can see if she's improving.

It didn't take very long to put the notebook together. Once it was finished, it felt awesome to have all of her homeschooling stuff organized.

The book also suggests resources for adding to your curriculum. I recently bought several workbooks for spelling and grammar based on the book's recommendations, and I'm so glad I did. These workbooks make it so much easier to teach these subjects because Sam is a visual learner, which is why we use so many worksheets.

The workbooks also have the added benefit of serving as a written record of all the work she's done for the year!

I also purchased the grammar workbook that was recommended. It's also written by the author of the book The Well-Trained Mind.

I'm quite happy to announce that all of Sam's homeschooling work is organized and ready for inspection. Of course, now the superintendent will probably never bother us. But that's just fine with me.


  1. That's really pretty and organized! :) I try to keep a binder for each of my kids too, even if I only write down what they have done so that they can realize how much they have accomplished. Here in CT, we don't have to present anything, but I have that "just in case" anxiety also!

  2. Thanks Amy!! It was actually quite fun to put together. It made me think a lot about Sam's curriculum and how she learns. Unfortunately, in Florida, we have to have this record, AND a yearly evaluation. Honestly, I think parents should be able to teach their kids the way they want to without being regulated, but I get why homeschooling is regulated.

    Ya that just in case anxiety drives me nuts. Even with the notebook I still have it. I wonder if I'm teaching her correctly, and teaching her what she's supposed to know when she's supposed to know it... I'm new to both homeschooling and parenting since Sam is my first and only, so I'm a bit paranoid I guess! lol