31 Days of Organizing Homeschool Stuff: Circle Time Binders

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Organizing Homeschool Stuff

Having an organized homeschool means knowing where you should put things away, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to put things away again. Sad, but true. Here are the little ways I’ve made putting things away easier at my home, and I hope they will inspire you to find unique solutions in your own home!

Our Circle Time Binders

containing homeschool clutter

Simply Charlotte Mason’s Scripture memory system is a popular resource for a reason. It’s a great way to organize your memory work not only to learn it by repetition, but also to retain it by repetition. It’s so easy for previously learned work to fall by the wayside because it isn’t reviewed. And, as John Milton Gregory writes in The Seven Laws of Teaching, “No time is wasted, which is spent in review.”

Rather than use index cards and boxes, I made up a binder with a similar set up for our Circle Time. Well, I made up 4 binders. One for me, and one for each reader (or, soon-to-be reader who wants to follow along).

Is putting the words we are memorizing in front of the readers “cheating”? It is accessing a different sort of memory than having to learn strictly through oral repetition, but I’m ok with that.

containing homeschool clutter

My readers are not getting the skill of careful listening and duplicating nor of precise rote memorization. But they are gaining skills in inflected, well-articulated reading and in fluent hearing, reading, and understanding long paragraphs of good, strong English (without it being broken up by phrase or sentence). Every day or once a week, we hear the same Psalms over and over, and the phrases flow over us, softening and shaping. Every day or once a week, we say aloud the same New Testament paragraphs, not separating the application verses from the doctrine or doxology verses, but letting the whole connected thought pound its way in day after day.

What a great way to start a school day.

organizing homeschool stufforganizing homeschool stuff


For a detailed tutorial on setting up a memory work binder, check out my older posts on the topic: Memory Work Binder Tutorial and Circle Time Binders Updated for 2012-2013.

organizing homeschool stuff

I like this set up because

  • It has reduced friction and battle-of-wills between my sons and I.
  • It makes it easier and smoother to work on entire chapters of Scripture at a time.
  • It helps the flow of Circle Time continue even if I am distracted by or absent because of babies or toddlers.
  • I believe it is helping my readers’ spelling naturally and visually, as they both say and see hundreds of words daily. We don’t do spelling as a separate subject, and they have few misspelled words when they write.
  • I love hearing the 3-year-old use phrases from Psalms or the catechism and tunes from hymns in his playing.
  • I think slowly reading through a large chunk of Scripture, or a poem, or a beautifully written catechism answer (the Heidelberg is beautiful while also being succinct; I love it) is a great way to meditate on things that are lovely. Circle Time is for myself as well as the children. Even if I end up missing my own personal devotions in the morning, we spend an hour together praying, singing, reading together 2 Psalms, a chapter of Ephesians, and 2-3 other shorter paragraphs of Scripture, as well as reading grounding, comforting catechism answers.

organizing homeschool stuff

Each family’s Circle Time is going to reflect its own personality and culture. Don’t worry about following anyone else’s plan to a T, but take what is helpful and useful for your family and just set aside the time to sing and memorize and read together, whether it is little bits or a full hour or more.

To learn more about Circle Time, check out Cindy’s 31 Days Series: 31 Days of Morning Time

My Other Circle Time Posts:

Digital Home Organizer and Planner

Also, check out my eBook Paperless Home Organization, which lays out step-by-step instructions for creating a home management organizer & planner digitally. Make that smartphone, tablet, or iPod touch a useful tool of your trade!

During the month of October, you can use the discount code organizing for $1.50 off the $3.99 retail price (pdf only).

Moms have a lot of details to keep track of. Here’s how to make your technology work for you, using only your mail program and 2 free apps.

[category: practical | tags: organizing]

  1. ginger
    | Reply

    Love it…The 7 laws is one of my favorite books that I have read, I need to read it again.
    We are learning the Westminster Shorter Catechism, in the original English. It always makes me laugh because sometimes my children will speak in thus and thee in the regular speech.
    Thank you for all your time spent. I have enjoyed your posts and they have helped me to tidy up my own teaching….If you know what I mean.

    Blessings on your Monday,

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