Monday, December 28, 2015

A Tour of Our Family Binder

Here is a little organizational tip that has kept me sane--in case one of your new year's resolutions is to be more organized. Last year I started keeping a family binder. I wanted a central place to keep phone numbers, family plans, and notes about our family values and family council decisions. I love having so many things ready at my finger tips. Here is a tour of our binder and all of our forms.

In the front I keep a list of handy phone numbers--places like KidCare, the grocery store, or other places I don't call enough to put in my phone but that are still handy to have around. I keep a list of favorite menu items here. And this is also where I keep our chore lists for Saturday morning cleaning.
These are kept in plastic protectors. The front lists the things they are supposed to do (with blank spots for me to fill in as needed), and the back is a reminder of what they need to do to clean their rooms well.

Also in the very front I keep our SODAS form. SODAS is a teaching tool advocated by Nicholeen Peck. If a child doesn't respond appropriately in a given situation, we might assign them SODAS. It gives them an opportunity to think through the situation, their response options, the disadvantages and advantages of the responses they might choose, and the appropriate solution in such a situation. We love SODAS! If a child needs to write a SODAS I give them this sheet (so they can't claim they don't know how to spell situation or disadvantage) and some time to think and write. It's glorious.
The first tab in the binder is for our family values. (I briefly explain that in this post.) Our values are as follows:

January--forgiveness & repentance
February--love & loyalty
March--service & selflessness
April--faith in Jesus Christ & the Restoration
August--courage & integrity
September--knowledge & learning
October--obedience & responsibility
December--listening & understanding

Every month we celebrate one of these through lots of discussion, scripture memorization, family activities, and family night lessons. This tab is where I keep notes of things we could do in the future or things that have worked well in the past.
Our next tab is where we keep our family council notes. (More about our weekly family council here.) Every week we keep minutes of what we talk about and what decisions we reached. This is really helpful in weeks that follow when someone says, "We talked about that in family council!" Then we can refer back and figure out what really happened and what people just imagined happened. (That never happens at your house, right?)
Our next tab is for our learning achievement levels. (That's discussed in depth in this post.) Here I keep track of what skills are supposed to be learned in each level and what each child is still working on before they can move on to the next level. I also keep our little Avery labels for making the kids "merit badges" for each skill.
The next tab is my sanity tab--planning. Here I keep all of my homeschool lesson plans for the year so I have them ready for quick reference and I know what I need to be ready for each week. I also keep blank budget sheets and our monthly planning forms. Our monthly planning form has items on it that we like to plan ahead for each month--when each child will get their individual outing with a parent, where we would like to go for our dates for the month, when we can attend the temple together, and a five-facet review grid that helps us keep track of how each member of our family is doing physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially.

Our final tab is for interviews. On the first Sunday of each month one of us sits down and "interviews" each child. We talk about how they're doing, who their friends are, what they like or don't like about life, or any other topic that seems appropriate. We also plan their monthly outing with Mom or Dad--they can choose anything they want within reason, but often it's just a lunch date or ice cream outing where we can talk to them and give them individual attention.

Whew! That was a huge download. Having a big family requires a lot of work and organization. Our family binder holds a lot of information and keeps me sane!

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