Monday, August 11, 2014

our Essentials Student Notebook

It's hard to believe that we will be starting our school routine in just a few short weeks! {Where did the summer go?!}

For our family this will mean gathering back together with our Classical Conversations community. While my kiddos are enjoying the last lazy days of summer, I've been busy finalizing our routines and putting together our homeschool binders. One binder that has really helped my oldest is our Essentials Student Notebook.
He will be going through his second year of Essentials and I am excited to know a little more going in than I did as a newbie mom last year;)

I basically started by tweaking the notebook we used last year. {I wanted to keep his binder from last year "as is" so we can compare his progress with what he is able to do this year.}
I got a fresh, new binder {hey, this girl loves a good binder!} and added the items that we found to be the most useful for him to have his own access to.

Here is a breakdown of the supplies I used:
  • 1 1/2 inch Binder 
  • zippered pouch for pencils, fine tip dry erase markers, colored pens for marking dress-ups, etc in IEW
  • notebook paper
  • page protectors
  • 5-tab set of index dividers, with pockets is ideal
  • from  Essentials of the English Language {EEL} copies of pages listed
  • from Student Resource Notebook {download through IEW} copies of pages listed
  • U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons, Student Manual {IEW} assigned work, vocab
  • English Grammar and Quid et Quo Trivium Tables
First, I labeled the 5 tabs of the dividers THIS WEEK, CHARTS, SENTENCES, WRITING, VOCABULARY with my label maker.
Next, I got busy making copies and loading up the binder!

In the front pocket of the binder are the English Grammar and  Quid et Quo Trivium Tables for easy reference.
The zippered pouch is the first thing in the binder.
In front of the first divider, we have EEL p. 18 {Scope and Sequence} and EEL p. 22 {Week at a Glance} so we can refer to them easily throughout the year.

The dividers....


  • In this section I will have a weekly Essentials task sheet for my son. I'll list what specifically he needs to work on for that week. He enjoys seeing what his week looks like all up front so this is helpful for him at this stage. (He is a 6th grader and is going through Essentials for the second time.) I also have notebook paper here. 

CHARTS {*in page protectors}

  • EEL p. 395 Grammar Mastery Charts*
  • EEL p. 398, 399 Chart A, Blank Chart A*
  • EEL p. 400, 410, 422, 428 112 Model Sentences*
  • I will add copies of additional charts as they are introduced 
SENTENCES {in page protectors*}
  • EEL p. 433, 434 Weekly Practice Sentences*
  • EEL p. 435,436 Analytical Task Sheet* 
  • EEL p. 55, 56, 57 Diagram Confirmation*
  • EEL p. 457 Punctuation and Capitalization *
WRITING {in page protectors*}
  • copy of suggested US History Writing Schedule {from your tutor}*
  • pages from the Student Resource Notebook from IEW available by download
  • p. 92, 93 Proofreading Marks/Symbols & Abbreviations*
  • p. 5, 6 Stylistic Techniques*
  • current writing assignment will be added each week
  • notebook paper
VOCABULARY {in page protectors*}
  • pages from the U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons
  • p. 240, 241Vocabulary at a Glance
  • p.242-248 Vocabulary quizzes will be added as we progress
  • All vocabulary word cards (found on the card stock at the back of the student book). I will cut them out as we get to each lesson, bound to a ring they will be kept in the pocket divider. 

And that wraps it up! I am sure we will tweak things further as the year progresses, but for now, this is the way it is lining up for us. There are tons of resources available and this post from Brandy at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood is a great one to check out. Like I mentioned, this is only our second pass through the Essentials expedition so I know there is a lot still to learn! If you do something different with your notebook or have a suggestion, I'd love to hear from you! 


{Making a Student Notebook is purely optional but something we have found that has greatly helped our Essentials journey. It is in no way meant to serve as a text or a replacement for the material found in the resource books. It is simply a tool to help organize the weekly work at home.}

sharing at: Trivium Tuesdays


  1. I LOVE putting together a good notebook/binder as well =) I'm starting my first year at CC this year. Both my kids are young, though, so no Essentials here yet! I really like getting a look into how the Essentials and Challenge programs work, so thanks for sharing what you guys are doing! And thanks for linking up to Trivium Tuesdays!

    1. Good luck with your first year! How exciting:) It is such a rich program and one I'm so thankful for. Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings:)

  2. I just found your blog and I am so excited about it. This is our first year doing CC and Essentials!!! Thank you for sharing how you put together the Essentials folder, it is so easy and kid-friendly. You just made my day:)

    1. Hi Carla! So glad to have you here:) And you have totally made my day with your sweet encouragement! Blessings to you in your first year. It is such a fun adventure to be on with our children.


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