Saturday, July 14, 2007


(reposted and updated)

This page explains how we stay organized and I stay sane : )

Each child has 3 large sturdy notebooks to hold seven years worth of work. We keep most all of our work, but we don't do any busy work so we have less paper. Everyone is expected to do their very best too, so the work is worth keeping and showing to others. Here are the notebooks:

1. Writing : (use the same notebook for grades K-6) 3 sections
Copywork- begin in Kg
Dictation/Spelling- begin in 3rd gd
Narrations (written)-begin in 3rd or 4th gd

2. Numbers: (use the same notebook for grades K-6)
Math notebk pages

3. Artwork: (use the same notebook for gradesK-6) 2 sections
Sketches and Paintings
Handicrafts (photos of finished projects with instruction sheets)

US History Notebook
Each child keeps a US history notebook that houses copywork selections and drawn narrations in chronological order from This Country of Ours using half-lined paper. There are six sections. We decorate a medium sturdy binder and write on the front 'My America':
(use the same notebook for grades 1-3)
Grade 1 The Explorers, The Colonies
Grade 2 The Colonies (continued), Revolutionary War
Grade 3 A New Nation, The Civil War, Growth of America

Recitation Binder
I keep memory work in small individual, sturdy binders because we use them almost daily. It has three tabs, one for each term. Memory work from previous years is kept at the back so that we can review them from time to time on group days.

Fine Art Album
Children keep 4x6 prints of the artists we have studied in their own large photo albums.Here are some other important organizational tools we use:

(use for three years- or 1st through 3rd grade)
Use 3x5cards with pics the child colors weekly and attach to string
At the end of third grade, we take it down and place cards in a notebook along with the following dividers:
Grade 1 Before the Flood, Ancient Empires (Creation -100BC)
Grade 2 Ancient Empires, Middle Ages, Exploration (100BC-AD1500)
Grade 3 Rulers and Wars (AD1500-1920)

Note: In 4th grade we study the 20th century and fill in a century chart rather than a wall timeline. (American and World history merge at this point.) We don't put US history on the wall timeline.

Personal Journal: lined (KG should be unlined) Written in weekly; uncorrected and the purpose is to collect memories.

Bible Journal: lined Sermon notes, verses and thoughts from Bible readings, prayer requests.

Nature Journal: (unlined) Pencil drawings of nature observed firsthand, labeled and colored. Poetry, facts, fancy writing, borders can be added as student matures. Color pencils and watercolor can be used.

Writing/Poetry Journal: Rough drafts, poetry, songs, story ideas collected here (They will most likely want to have a poetry journal as well)

Note: The children may want to start other notebooks according to their interests. My kids have kept notebooks about horses, coins, recipes. They've had paper doll and stamp collections, Lord of the Rings club notes and literary society newspapers.

Clear, plastic, stackable, flat containers of various sizes to hold children's collections (eg... pressed flowers, feathers, rocks, fossils, shells, sand, leaves, butterflies, coins, pictures, etc)

Magnifying glasses, binoculars, field guides, reference books, small pets, plastic human body model, contact paper for pressing leaves and flowers, watercolors, color pencils (good quality!) construction paper, drawing paper, lined paper, glue, markers, scissors, wall maps, globe, file, computer, printer and a hole punch.

one step at a time...


  1. Dear Linda,
    I love all your ideas.
    We love reading good books on all subjects and literature, so much so, that our math skills are lacking. Do you have any ideas?
    I haven't purchased anything yet for math this year, so if you know of any good math programs or lessons, etc...I appreciated your wisdom.

  2. Sharron15.7.07

    I never tire of reading your CM advice or anything else that you have to say!! Don't ever stop! :) And I love hearing about life in Turkey. You always remind me how spoiled I am.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and wisdom!


  3. Your blog is one of the most uplifting and thought provoking things I have, it is great. I love hearing about Turkey, which I was wondering yesterday while enjoying our Sabbath, what do you do living in a non-Christian enviroment?
    And I was also wondering what advantages do you think there is in grouping work together by subject rather than by year? I had just planned to have year binders, I had not even thought of another option. Thanks for making me stop and think! :)

  4. Linda,
    Thank you for sharing this organizational system! I am so grateful for the ideas I glean from you here.

  5. Danna,
    Just found your comment. DOn't know how it slipped by me.

    I used to do it by year, a long time ago, but didn't like it. My children and I like to see their progress as they grow in each subject. When it is in one book you can see the progression easier. Plus, it means less notebooks. But, that is just my preference.

    Living in this environment is interesting to say the least. Most are tolerant of C's but nothing more. Most do not understand what that word means. They equate it with people wearing crosses, like rock stars on TV (madonna), the Crusades and western decadence, even immorality. So some of their negative ideas are understandable.

  6. I know this is an older post so I don't know if you'll even get this but I had a couple of questions about your notebooks.
    What exactly do your "numbers" notebook? I plan on using Ray's arithmetic for year1 and I'm unsure as to why this category would be needed.
    Also what is "considering God's creation" is it a particular book that you use or your nature journal?
    And then lastly what are the reasons that you have created your own curriculum that is similar but different from Ambleside?
    I'm a newbie to CM as well as your blog so if you've covered these elsewhere just send me the links.
    Thank, and God Bless,

  7. Jessica,
    Our NUMBERS notebook hold anything we do in math. We don't use one curriculum and so a variety of pages are in here. Homemade Kindergarten monthly calendars, numbers from copwork practice, a few games, workbk pages from Scott Foresman, etc...

    Considering God's Creation is a science and nature workbook that the children cut up and color and paste making their own notebooks over a three year period of time. The author provides further detail about the nature we are studying hands on outside. We only do a little bit each week to keep it interesting. If you do a search online you can nlearn more about this.

    I like AO but I don't like beginning with English History. I save that for year 4 and 5. I also included some non western history for year five (adapted from Sonlight) I've added some of my own favorites and rearranged some literature that I found to be more appropriate for particular ages. (That's the very short and quick answer)