What is a mother's Master Book, you are wondering? This is an idea that was inspired by Colleen Billing at the IHM Catholic homeschooling conference I attended in May. She showed us a 3-ring notebook that she basically uses to organize her life. Inside the front pouch was her "inbox" for one week. She recommended using lined post-it notes for to-do lists. In this book she had a file for each of her children which included medical information, personal documents, savings accounts, birth certificates, etc...
This is a great idea. However, if you are designing a notebook that is potentially going to leave the house with you, it might not be wise to keep very important family documents in it, in the event that you could lose it. I would personally keep those types of things in an accordion file at home, designating a pouch for each child (and each parent). Either way, I agree with Colleen that a great filing system for your home office is mandatory.
My notion for the Master Book is a little different. I really like Colleen's inbox idea, so I adopted that. Incidentally, I put my book together this evening using supplies I already had around the house, and some of it came from having cleared a great deal of clutter in the Terrible Room I mentioned in a recent post. Most likely you will not need to go shopping to create your own Master Book.
In the left pocket I have my loop schedule for the 1st term of the upcoming school year, as well as my curriculum outline for the year. I tore out the page for July from a calendar. Since I had no lined post-it notes on hand, I slipped in a pad of lined paper.
Though we are not doing formal lessons for summer, I do want to keep a to-do list for each week and begin to implement my system. For example, I want to go on some nature walks and start keeping a nature notebook for summer. Mother needs to have her own nature journal along with her children, so I have included mine in the back pouch of the Master Book.
The Vera Bradley pouch that you can see in the picture at the top holds drawing pencils, a sharpener, an eraser, a pen, and oil pastels. I know that Charlotte Mason favored dry brush painting for the nature notebook, and I do plan to try that, but for portability the oil pastels are more convenient.
I have included basic tab dividers and notebook paper for record keeping of our daily lessons for each term. I figure I will begin by taking some notes of summer activities. Even if you don't do formal lessons, much learning still takes place in summer and can be included as part of the year's curriculum. For example, your child may participate in a gardening program through the parks and recreation department (science), take swimming lessons (phys. ed.), or take an art class at the library.
I will periodically post updates on how my Master Book idea is panning out. I'd love to receive feedback from readers in the comments, and please share any similar ideas you have for organizing your homeschool!