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10 Ways to Use Index Cards in Your Homeschool

10 Ways to Use Index Cards in Your Homeschool

Index cards are  low-tech but super handy teaching tools. The cards are  small (3×5, 4×6, 5×8) and easy to carry around in your purse or pocket.

Teaching Ideas to Use Index Cards

Homeschool Index Card Uses

1. Bible Study Outlines

Make key notes for a Bible book, chapter, story or Bible character.

Download free printable Bible study cards here. 

2. Timelines

I made my first Index Card Timeline 20 years ago when I first started homeschooling. I used color codes for eras. On the front had the timeline, dates and an image, on the back the brief description of event. We made a few games using these and put them on the wall.

indexcard timeline
Cards made with Homeschooling in the Woods illustrations.


Our current Bible timeline is purchased.I used index cards to list the 12 Bible Eras. The Books of the Bible chart has strings running to the Bible stories to show where the story can be found in the Bible.

Click for a larger image

I purchased a  TN timeline at a local teacher store.   I added index cards citing important world events during the same periods.

3. Easy Lapbook Booklets

Make quick and easy booklets for lapbook lessons with colored index cards! Fold in half for Q & A booklet, staple several together for a booklet, decorate the cover with  scrapbook embellishments. You can also make accordion booklets, pocket books, match books and more. Visit HomeschoolShare for tons of lapbook and booklet ideas and templates.

Get free lap books and free booklet templates here.

4. Memory verses

Have students write their memory verse 5 times on 5 cards (practicing handwriting) the place the cards in prominent areas around the house. Writing the verse helps cement it into memory.

5. Prayer list

Encourage each child to have their own ongoing prayer list (crossing out answered prayers). This is a super opportunity to teach your child the importance of praying. Have them  pray for family, neighbors, and friends, etc. Each day, many parents send their kids out into the world without lifting them up to God, your child can be praying for them.

6. Book Record/Bookmark

Index cards make great bookmarks — students can write out the title, author and publication date at the top of an index card. write notes about the book on the card. When  finish the book, drop the index card into a file box and have an ongoing record of your reading.

7. Flash Cards and Games

The game and flash card possibilities are endless. Flash cards can be any facts that need review: alphabet, phonics, sight words, math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, etc), languages, etc. etc.

Index cards and sticky notes operate like the playing cards, counters and other game components: they make it easy to sort, shuffle, arrange and rearrange information– they bring logic and order to a space, allowing it to serve as a base for exploring combinatorial possibilities. — Dave Gray, “Why games?”

You can make a matching game for almost any subject. Make separate cards for the questions and the answers, leaving the back sides blank. Place the cards face down and turn them over, one by one, trying to find matches.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.26.10 AM

How to Teach Fractions with Index Cards

8. Vocabulary Cards

Have students write vocabulary word on the side with no lines and the definition of the vocabulary word on the side with lines. When studying they should  make a small check mark on the corner of they know.  When they have made two or three marks on a card, they can put it in a separate pile. They should go through the main pile until all cards have two or three marks.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.27.54 AM

Download Free Vocabulary Card Template

9. Homeschool Assignments

I use the Workbox system to organize our homeschool schedule. The boys each have 12 workboxes. They comple box #1 then move to #2 and so on. Some boxes contain a worksheet, reading book,  workbook, or work with mom note. I use index cards to jot down notes like “Read a book form the science center.” I save these to use on future days. When I need ideas as what to put in the box I can flip  through the cards in the index card box for ideas.

Read More about the Workbox System

10. More Index Card Uses

OK, I couldn’t stop at 10.

  • Outline a book– all mine books began as index cards (color code chapters)
    index card book
  • Create a Personal PDA– Merlin Mann. coined the term Hipster PDA as a paper-based personal organizer.  The Hipster PDA is simply a bunch of index cards held together with a binder clip. Although it began as a joke it is true index cards are incredibly useful cheap, lightweight, free-form organizer that doesn’t need batteries and is unlikely to be stolen.
    index card PDA
  • Make a Dinner Game – Make a list of discussion questions for the dinner table (my kidos LOVE these).
  • Chore Lists – assign each child a color and cards with chores.
  • Shopping Lists
  • Outline a blog post
  • Quick Reminder
  • Jot down Tweets for Twitter
  • Recipes
  • Menus (make 10 favs and shuffle each month)
  • Books on Wish List
  • Travel Directions
  • Favorite Quotes
  • Computer Keystroke Shortcuts
  • Key Points from sermon, workshop or seminar
  • Project List
  • Project Outline
  • Frequently used phone numbers
  • Make a Mini Scrapbook
  • Labels for storage containers
  • Labels for file boxes or drawers
  • Leave a door note for delivery person

Organizing Index Cards

How do you use index cards? Share in the comments.



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