I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Organizing Your Homeschool Year: Using Work Binders & Task Cards

Task Cards in school bins

Written by Krista Smith.

You’ve stuck with me for three out of the four parts in this series on organization, and we’re finally in the home stretch. In Part 1, I showed you the ugly underbelly of my early homeschooling years and how that difficult time was the impetus for a big change in the way I plan and organize everything from the macro (yearly) level down to the nitty gritty micro (daily) level.

In Part 2, I made the case that like every other homeschooling mama I've talked to over the last decade, you're probably craving more free time and less stress. I launched into the 4-step overlapping method I’ve been teaching moms for years now and went over the first of those 4 steps: use a planner to plan out your whole year during the summer months!

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In Part 3, I introduced STEP 2 of this method which breaks down how to plan and organize all of the necessary items, information, videos, and worksheets that make up a homeschool month. This step alone has been the piece most mamas tell me made the most difference in the stress level in their homes.

Organizing Your Homeschool Year: Using Work Binders & Task Cards

In this, the 4th and final Part of the series, I want to share STEP 3 (weekly planning) and STEP 4 (daily planning) of the 4-step overlapping method with you. You’ve done the fiddly bits in STEPS 1 and 2. Now comes the fun part! To reinforce just how doable these 4 steps are, I have included the approximate completion times of each. 


Plan weekly, storing a week’s worth of copies and lessons in a 3-ring binder with a handy pocket folder (Approximate time it takes: 4 min./week)

daily work binders for homeschool

Once you have your monthly planning done, each Friday night after school is done, prep for the following week by sticking five day's worth (or four if you’re on a four-day schedule) of your child’s everyday worksheets into a simple pocket-style folder with holes made to fit into a three-ring binder. Using a pocket folder is an amazing way to set your kids up for success in the coming week. All of their assignments will be at their fingertips (except for your group lessons or other more mom-intensive lessons), and they will no longer have to nag you for their math sheet or their history coloring page! 

zippable 3-ring binder for homeschool

Recently, I found this zippable three-ring binder that has accordion-style files in it! Needless to say, I bought one for each of my three kids! Not only does each binder have tons of storage and make Step 3 a snap, but they also make it easy to take all of our school stuff on the road in a tidy self-contained case. Now, instead of lumping all five days' worth of lessons into one folder, I can label the accordion pockets Mon.-Fri., grouping lessons by day and making it even more effortless for my kids to grab just the right lessons for that day! (To be fair, they did just fine for years and years with the simple binder pocket too.)

On Monday morning, instruct your children to only take out what is needed for that day and keep the rest in their folders for the next days of the week.

At our house, this binder also doubles as the record keeper of the children’s daily work throughout the year. I make labeled tabs with each school subject and once a child completes a math assignment or essay, I grade it and file it behind the appropriate tab in this “Daily work” three-ring binder.


Plan daily using the Task Card System (Approximate time it takes: 2 min./day)

Using a Task Card System, you can help your children gain independence during the school day and accountability for their assignments and tasks.

Task Card System for homeschooling

Every evening, check your planner to see what subjects your children will be studying the following day, and take off the corresponding task tags from their Base Charts. Affix the tags to each child's individual Task Card.

Then, place the filled Task Cards into the pocket folders in each child’s 3-ring binder.

In the morning, instruct your kids to accomplish all of the tasks on their cards for the day, and watch as they gain independence and accountability for large parts of their own school day! The tags will act as a visual reminder to show them what they have done and what still needs to be accomplished. As they complete a subject or activity, they remove the tag from their card and return it to the Base Chart. Then, they move on to the next tag all on their own. Beautiful!

A Final Word

So that’s it! The 4-Step-Overlapping Method of planning to bring back the fun and the sanity to your homeschool and family. To reiterate everything in a tidy nutshell, in organizing your homeschool year using this method, you:
  • plan your year out little by little in the summer months (5-6 hours/summer)
  • pick out one night every month when you will get together everything you need (for just the next 30 days) to teach those amazing little hearts, minds, bodies, and souls you’ve been privileged to steward for the King (30-60 min./month)
  • get your kids ready for the upcoming week by setting their Everyday Work Binder with everything they need to accomplish in their week (4 min./week)
  • make sure that they have a fun and tactile way to see what they need to do each and every day by using the Task Card System. (2 min./day)

4-steps to homeschool organization

If you're anything like me, people probably ask you, "Do you like homeschooling your kids?" quite often. After implementing this 4-step system, I hope you'll be able to honestly say, “I love it.” 

Homeschooling my three amazing kiddos has been the best job I’ve ever had. But to be honest, I don’t know that I could say that back when I was juggling all the balls and hadn't quite figured out how to set things on autopilot. Before I organized my homeschool, my days were simply unmanageable. My heart was deflated and my kids were scattered and frustrated.

Praise Jesus that He is strong even when I am weak (2 Cor 12:9). And because He loved me so much, He let me struggle which forced me to seek out the wisdom I have shared with you in this series. 

So, here’s to making this the best homeschool year yet! Just remember, the plans that you make while attempting to get organized (and really any plans in life) will fall flat without Jesus. He will make all the difference. 
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) 
Lean on Him, friend. His shoulders can carry you and your homeschool.


Krista Smith is blessed to be the mother of three beautiful children and is privileged to homeschool them using an eclectic variety of methods. She has a deep and abiding love for tan-colored coffee, spending time with her family, and seeing children find their forever homes through adoption. But above all of these things, Krista is, first and foremost, a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. So, may the Lord and His Gospel get every ounce of honor, glory, and credit for anything she writes, says, or does.

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