Our new interactive notebook system…

I have decided to kick our floppy binders to the curb this year, or at least to the bookshelf to be used for other things. In place of what I now consider our “homeschool blunder” I have decided to use notebooks (composition notebooks so the pages don’t get weak and fall out) and simple folders for loose work until it makes its’ way into the filing box. I am getting these all ready for the new year and hope that this will be a fun and easy addition to our homeschooling routine.

My goals for this new concept are to help Bug learn more by taking notes to help along side her homework, get rid of bulk, and develop fun note taking skills. This new concept (to me) is called interactive notebooks. It is basically taking the idea of lapbooking and mashing it up in the same notebook as homework in an organized way.

From what I have seen there are a few key elements to making this notebook flow and work as it should.

  • Table of Content Pages for keeping track of where certain topics are in the notebook. With the information for the note taking pages I will have Bug highlight them so she can quickly see which pages to refer back to for a quick reminder. The information that I have chosen to include here is the date, content, and notebook page number. I used the lines already marked on the pages instead of creating new sections. Frankly there is no point in making new sections unless you are adding more information.DSCN4330
  • Numbered Pages these go hand-in-hand with the Table of Contents so you can find what you are looking for quickly… We as adults know how this works but it may be a new concept for the kiddos. I saw a tip to number the pages in the top right corner because it is easier to see while flipping pages. I have gone through with a bright pen to number the pages so it is set apart from any information written on the page. I have done this for Bug so pages aren’t missed. If she was older and more organized/focused I would have her do this step herself.
  • Note Pages will be for when I am in teacher mode on the white board giving her specific information on the topic. This may include slim glue in foldouts, drawn diagrams, labels, vocab/definitions, and practice problems. Making it all colorful and fun with colored pencils.
  • Bookmarking System I have chosen to glue a ribbon in the back cover of the notebook that pulls over to mark the page last worked on. You can add a bit of personal flare for your kiddo. I have seen other options like cutting corners of the finished pages to flip easily to the next, but I feel this is extra work for me knowing that Bug likes to write to the edge of the page and may cut too large a piece off…It would be me doing this extra step. I will not be using this method at least for now.


I have seen some extra elements that could be useful. I may implement these at some point if necessary.

  • Tabs Using tabs to mark important pages may be a good idea, but then again they may just get in the way. So for now highlighting the notes pages in the Table of Contents will suffice.
  • Pockets to hold thin items for that subject. I may do this for her math notebook to keep a cardstock¬† ruler, clock, numberline, etc.
  • Glossary Just to keep an alphabetical record of that subject’s vocabulary. Not for the definition unless you really wanted to use that much space at the end of the notebook. I think of it more as an index of the vocabulary words: only using the word and notebook page number for quick reference. The example I saw was to section out enough pages at the back of the notebook into four equal parts and label them in ABC order to put that letter’s word in the box.
  • Fold Outs: Bits of information that can be folded out from the covers. I have incorporated one fold out for her math notebook (see picture…This is a quick reference numberline.)

I have color coordinated a folder to go along with the subject notebooks. If there is any loose worksheet that can obviously not be used as a Notes page add in then it will be a homework page in the folder. I plan to give a daily grade for the notes and a separate grade for the homework. In my assignment/grading binder I have created a section to indicate if something is is the notebook or if it can be found in the folder. (N/F on the grading page) This way I know where to look when grading. IF you are interested in my grading sheets, I created them with Open Office software. I used the grid making tools and shaped it out from there and did a light color difference to separate the entries. The sections I have included are:

  • Average % for semester (grade)
  • Semester choice boxes with dates (circle and go)
  • Date of assignment
  • N/F (Notebook or Folder location)
  • Subject
  • Grade Level
  • School year
  • Assignment details (middle section lines)
  • Portion Correct (example: 18/20)
  • % Score (Single assignment grade)
  • Total Page Points (adding up all of the % scores to get the average for all semester pages later)

DSCN4334This is only set up for one child. I did not need a book with 50 lines for students so I created my own grade book. I have pages set up in a binder divided by subject. I can print as many of these as I need throughout the year.

Simple Homeschool Planner

Featured image

An in depth look at my “simple” planner for homeschool.

(I know this will not work for everyone. This is a small simple planner that I use for one student.)

My goal this year is to simplify. I tried to go big this year and create a whole classroom. It did not go well!

The first pages I want to show you are the months.

DSCN4281I am sorry the picture isn’t very clear. I tried multiple times…. Anyway, in this planner there are 12 customizable calendars. I write in all the dates, the month, the year, and important days (in pencil!!!!!). The side is blank for notes. I have chosen this year to indicate repeated or special activities with stickers. I had many of the same type of stickers so I could mark those repeats easily.

  • For example:
  • A party day marked with a star or explosion sticker.
  • ¬†field trips have a backpack
  • checking homework has a check mark
  • important information has a pushpin
  • birthdays have a smiley face or something representing the person being celebrated
  • themed days with a sticker to match
  • here I have books and scissors to indicate our Story Art class, but have since changed them all to crayons

The next is a page of “Notes”.

  • DSCN4280The first Notes page I used for:
  • a list of the subjects to be covered,
  • what books I am using,list of what I need to buy (notebooks, folders,file box, hanging file folders,books, etc.), and
  • a WISH LIST of things I would like to get.

Again all written in pencil because plans change! I probably would have used a few pages for this instead of just one, but in this planner this is the only “Notes” page in the front section.

Next are the weekly 2 page layouts.

DSCN4243Weekly 2 page layout. Here is where I write the assignments. There is not a lot of room so I abbreviate the subject, add the book and page #, and topic. I try to fit this all on one line because we do 4 subjects per day. I also put an indication of what week we are on up in the top right corner of the page.

Example of one day’s assignments:


29 Monday

Sp: 3CC p.236 Contractions, print flash cards (spelling)

R.S: 4CC p.44-45 Sequence (Reading Skills)

M: Skill Builders p.43, Mixed #’s (Math)

Sci: Spectrum p.10-11, Scientific toolbox (Science)

Read: (Book Title, Ch2)


I use these abbreviations all the time so my daughter knows what they are. We both use this book. Me for planning and her for finding her assignments. She is very responsible and knows not to write in the book.

On to more “Notes” pages.

I have another set of “Notes” pages that I have finally put to good use. Last year I did not use my planner to its’ full potential and I fully intend to this next year.

Themes for my “Notes’ pages:

  • Extra Curricular Subjects and Activities (Anything that isn’t necessarily book work, that isn’t done on a weekly basis, and is still a learning experience. Art, Music, Foreign Language, Sign Language, Crafts, Sewing, Scheduled Physical Activities)
  • Special Books to look into for future assignments.
  • Lists of stories and page numbers in readers for the year.
  • Extended length reading materials: Long books, Audio Books,etc (still a work in progress)
  • Math Units to cover for the year
  • Geography Units to cover for the year
  • History Units to cover for the year
  • Field Trip Information (scheduled trips with groups, trips we want to take as a family)
  • And other subjects that I have yet to plan out…


Finally Address pages.

The last pages that I want to share are pretty important! The address pages! I didn’t think too much about them this year using my current planner (the pictures are my set up for the next school year). I did fill out one full page of the address section with contact information for our

  • homeschool group leader
  • Department of Education Homeschool office
  • website address for forms that I need to fill out for the school year
  • Superintendent’s office for our school district
  • my child’s Pediatrician contact info
  • local library
  • I may add contact info/addresses for field trip locations

I think that about sums it up! I am very excited to use this planner to its’ full potential this year. It is nice and neat. I plan to keep it that way. I hope you enjoyed this!!!! Happy homeschooling!!!!

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