“You’re a Star” Reusable Workbook {cultivate}

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I finally sat down yesterday and set our overall schedule for our homeschool year: what weeks our school will be in session and which days will be off for holidays and the like. We’ll be running from August to mid-May, but if something happens during the year (i.e., ill health, unexpected trips, we just need a short break), there are still a couple weeks of May left to be what I’m calling flex time. I’d like to be done as early as possible before the unbearable heat kicks in here, which is why I wanted to finish in May rather than June. But it’s nice to have that little bit of cushion for the unexpected. I have no idea if I’m doing this homeschool thing right, but it sounds good to me! At least, right now it does.

After I finished with the schedule, I decided to tackle something that’s been on my “To Do for School” project list for awhile. I already had my materials and I just needed to sit down and do it. So last night, I did. Have you seen any of these on Pinterest or in your web browsing?

Top row: iCandy Handmade, My Three Bittles

Bottom row: The Creative Homemaker, I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar

I am sure there are dozens more out there, but those are just a few samples that caught my eye. I’ve seen them called quiet books, fun folders, homework folders…all sorts of things. I tried to come up with a cutesy name for mine last night with no luck, so for now I’m calling it the reusable workbook. I wanted something my daughter could work through independently without having to print out tons of printables all the time or buying workbook after workbook. When I saw these ideas, I knew I’d found my answer.

First, gather your materials. You’ll need a binder (I chose the 1-inch one), clear sheet protectors (I think I started out with the 25 pack, but I’m sure I’ll get more), decorative papers/stickers, adhesive (depends on how you’re decorating the covers) and worksheets. For the worksheets, I just searched various sites and printed out a bunch of ABC writing pages, number pages, mazes, connect-the-dots, things of that nature. If you don’t have or want to use a printer, you can buy a couple of inexpensive workbooks from Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store, tear out the pages and place them in the binder. I might do that just to mix things up a bit and add some color into the book.

binder, clear sheet covers, paper and stickers…ready to go!

Next, I started laying out my decorative papers in various ways, trying to figure out how I wanted the cover to look. While I loved the look of the one above with the child’s name, for now I wanted my book to be used by either my son or daughter, so I wanted the colors to appeal to both. This part took the longest for me, because I’m so indecisive. 🙂 Then I used my scrapbooking tools to cut out the papers, sprayed on some spray adhesive and went to town. The other part that took me forever was trying to figure out what title to put on in place of a name. Like I said, I wanted a cutesy name for the book. Finally I decided to cut my losses and just go with “You are a STAR!” I’m digging it. 🙂

The binder’s front cover (sorry for the glare; that’s what happens when you work late at night and need to take pictures) 🙂

View of the back cover and spine with the front

While my spray adhesive was drying (those are the final pictures above; I waited about an hour for the adhesive to fully dry before I placed the paper in the binder covers), I searched and printed out some pages for the inside. There are so many places online and they’re just an easy Google search away, but some of the ones I used were Making Learning Fun, 1+1+1=1 and Kindergarten Worksheets. I slipped two pages, back-to-back, in each clear pocket to maximize space. I haven’t finished the inside yet, as it was pretty late and I was tired, but I’ve got plenty of room to add on.

Inside pages include mazes and color-by-number 

inside pages include math/number and letter worksheets

And that’s it! Just add dry erase markers or dry erase crayons, and your child is ready to go! I showed the binder to my daughter this morning, and she loved it. She’s one of those kids who does like to just sit and do worksheets, so I knew this would go over pretty well with her. I’ll be interested to see whether my 3-year-old will find any interest in it.

I’m starting to feel some momentum with my planning and preparation for homeschooling (good thing, right, since we’re starting *next month!*). Next on my agenda is to plan potential field trips and special unit studies for the year. I haven’t decided if that’s something I want to do every week or not yet. I don’t want to overwhelm either my daughter or myself. But I seem to be really drawn to the concept of unit studies, even though the curriculum we bought didn’t really include them. I guess it’s another thing we’ll have to wait and see how it goes when the time is here.

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