|Homeschool With Index Cards
Not Just for Flashcards Anymore!
Our Adventures Using Index Cards
Have you been thinking you need to add a little something to your homeschool studies? I know I always
did. Since we have been homeschooling, I have tried many different approaches and curricula. There are
ideas from several of those different approaches that appealed to me as a homeschooling mother. I was
drawn to unit studies because they link all of your subjects together. I like the classical approach with
the ideas of studying history chronologically as well and using notebooks to add to your studies. I also
like the relaxed approach with younger learners, to not push them too hard, and be willing to wait until
they are ready to learn new skills. Now in my paranoia of not "doing" school correctly, I was better able
to relax with my second child than my first. All of these things I have learned over time. I know that I
will keep learning until the minute I finish this homeschooling adventure.
All of this to say, that one thing I have used with almost-absolute loyalty (more later) is the index card.
Now I know that I run a small, online business that sells index card products, so of course that is true.
But to be honest, I am blessed to be able to have this little business because it is truly sharing a passion I
have. I am always looking for ways to help with our homeschool. Using index cards is something we have
always done. We started with the Beginner Book when the kids were in preschool and kindergarten and
it has simply taken off from there. Yes, each of my kids had a real Beginner Book. We did use it to teach
COLORS, SHAPES, LETTERS, NUMBERS, DAYS OF THE WEEK & MONTHS OF THE YEAR. When they were
ready, we moved on to use the ADDITION cards. To be totally honest, my oldest used hers as a
supplement to her Kindergarten curriculum. I was not comfortable enough to feel that this was enough
for her. So I bought the usual workbooks and such for her. With my second, he started using his for
Preschool and I knew that this would be the focus for his Kindergarten curriculum. When he was ready,
we moved on to books and such, but I was able to discern that for us, a more relaxed approach was what
he needed. If I would have been more confident with myself, I would have used this as the sole approach
with both my kids.
We loved the library, and still do, so we always had an abundance of books to read. I loved to read to my
kids, as well as pick up some early readers to help each of them with their personal reading. We would
spend time sitting together on the couch and just read, read, read. It was wonderful! We also have an
extensive home library (just ask my "cleanie" husband), so this helped our love for reading. (Most of
these purchased at used sales/stores, as well as gifts.) When each of my kids entered kindergarten and
could write their first names, our local library allowed them to get their own library card. To this day,
they are very proud to have their own library cards. I truly believe that a love for reading, as well as a
great ability to read, can take my children anywhere they want to go.
As the kids have gotten older, we started using index cards in other ways. We began creating Handbooks
for Language and Math. Whenever they came upon a new concept or term, we would write it on an
index card and place it in their Handbook. When my daughter was learning to add, I wrote a card that
had addition written at the top, the definition below that, with a 2 digit addition problem roughly in the
middle. I labeled the words addend and sum on the card, then created an addend card as well as a sum
card, with appropriate definitions and examples. When she came up against another addition problem,
she would have these 3 cards to use as reference.
When I was turned on to the classical approach, I loved the idea of studying history chronologically. I also
loved the idea of using notebooks! I thought that was a fantastic "non-workbook" approach to showing
what my kids had learned about a certain subject. Mind you, I had always been a huge fan of unit
studies. For some reason, I have to try everything! In some ways this is good, because I a more of an
eclectic homeschooler, using bits and pieces from many approaches. This way I have been able to adapt
what works well for us. Well, since I am not good at history, I felt this was a logical way to study history.
So off we went with a "classical" book. This did not last for long, since it was not a unit study, which we
did well with. So, mid semester, I went back to creating my own unit study, but used the information
from the classical approach that I liked-chronological history and notebooks! One thing was missing
though. With the addition of the notebooks, I was not using the index cards. I started placing all the
info I used to place on a card into the kids notebooks. Something did not feel right, so I started using
both the full sized notebooks and our index card "mini notebooks". The core subjects have 2 types of
notebooks: 1 full sized binder and 1 "mini" index card binder. We place all the notebooking forms and
pages into the full sized binder, and place all the new terms, concepts, and properties into the mini
I also love the idea of timelines. This is a much debated topic, but I like to use them with my kids. I saw
an idea on the Homeschool in the Woods website about using their timeline figures with index cards.
WOW! I couldn't believe it. It is like a "hands on" timeline. This has been a wonderful addition to our
Our many changes throughout the past 6 years have led me to want to share with other homeschoolers
what has worked for us. Out of that learning experience, the Lord prompted me to write Homeschooling
With Index Cards: A Quick Guide to Incorporating Index Cards Into Your Homeschool. This e-book is the
namesake of this website Homeschool With Index Cards. Since that time, I have added several other
products, such as the Beginner Book for Early Learners, which I loved as a homeschooling mom when I had
beginners. I tend to learn things the hard way, so I hope my offering to other homeschoolers can show
that index cards can offer a great supplement to any approach!
I hope you can forgive my rambling!
I ordered your original Homeschool w/Index
cards e-book, and at first I wasn't sure I
would even use it. But, more and more, I
am referring to it for ideas, and now I am
hooked on the index cards idea. They are so
practical for my littlest ones up to my
teenager!! I think these will work with any
homeschool style. It is such a simple, neat
way to organize so many things, and helps
me as a mom of 4 keep track of kids spelling,
math, vocabulary, and we are adding new
subjets to their cards each week. I can see
them referring to these cards all the way
through highschool, and then in college they
will have a great way to organize their studies.
Just wanted to let you know that I think
your ideas are great--at first it seems almost
too simple, but that's the beauty of it.