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My Binder Review

I’ve been having fun planning for our new school year. I think I have some more choices nailed down but I’ll write about that later. Right now I’d like to talk about the binders I purchased for the kids.

I have been wanting to get the kids some binders that zipped up so no papers will fall out. Everything will be nice and tidy (I can dream, haha).
I’ll start with Annette’s American Girl Collection binder. My sis-in-law picked this one up at a used store for .25 a few years ago. Believe it-or-not my Girl has never used it. Its been sitting on her desk.
American Girls Collection Binder
First I’d like to say that it is very well made. It doesn’t have all the pockets and such that you’d find in Mead or Five Star but it is sturdy. There are a few pockets and pencil holders. She’ll probably add a pencil case to hold all her extra goodies.
American Girls Collection Binder
The American Girl binder is by far the best quality. You can feel it in the weight of this binder. It’s heavier than most but not ‘weigh you down’ heavy. I guess sturdy would be a good word for it. If you’re looking for a sturdy girl binder this would be it.

Caleb is my on the go guy. He’s always heading out the door with Grandpa Joe with some schoolwork in hand.
Five Star Binder
This is a 2inch zipper binder. Caleb can easily add a few book to this binder. There are also little pencil loops on the outer side of the binder as well.
Five Star Binder
I like the five pocket expansion section. I don’t know why but this is something I was looking for when purchasing binders for the kids. I over paid (I think) for this binder. On Amazon it was a whopping $25.00 but to me it seems to me more like a $15-$17 binder. I did see these at Walmart for around $15 but I had already ordered one from Amazon.

When I saw this on Amazon it had Caleb written all over it. I don’t regret getting it but now that I have looked around I think I paid a lot.
  Five Star Binder
With this binder you get the Five Star Last All Year Guarantee! It appears to be pretty sturdy. It doesn’t have the American Girl sturdiness  (I love the American Girl quality) but it passes. The only thing I would have liked to see on this binder is a shoulder strap. If it had a strap I’d rate it a 5 star. Because it doesn’t have the strap and it feels a bit light it gets 4 stars.

Brent’s binder was one of the items we received from the back-to-school backpack day. I believe this one is around $12-$15.

This is a PlanAhead binder and is what started it all with me getting one for the five younger kiddos.
PlanAhead Binder
This binder feels sturdy. It is not as light as the Five Star binder I purchased for Caleb. This one has some heftiness to it like the American Girl binder.

PlanAhead Binder
There is room for pencils, pens, and other goodies. I ordered my kids some homeschool I.D. cards. Brent will have a home for his in this binder.
PlanAhead Binder
There’s a little file folder thing going on in the inside of the binder. There are no tabs to write: spelling, history, etc. but we’re fine with that. The file  section is made of cloth not plastic like with all the other binders. There is 4 expansion pockets on this one.
PlanAhead Binder
I don’t know what the purpose of the rings being able to come out. The PlanAhead binder is a 1 1/2 inch binder. Having a handle or shoulder strap attached to this binder would make it perfect! I still would give this binder a 5 star though because it’s pretty sturdy. It just feels solid!

I bought Ethan the 3 inch, Mighty Zip Tab from Case It. I absolutely love it. This is the king of binders! Notice it has a strap, I so love that feature. It’s one of those little things that makes a BIG difference. I paid $18.00 for this binder as well. Another over-priced Amazon item but I love it!

I saw the same binder at Walmart for $15.00. It was the last one and had a stain on it though plus I had already ordered this one anyway.
Case It Binder
This doesn’t have that American Girl or PlanAhead heftiness to it but it feels pretty sturdy. I like holding this binder, haha.
Case It Binder
The Case It binder is the only one that expands about an inch with the expansion folders. The other binders expansion folders all meet at the bottom but this one actually expands out at the bottom as well.
Case It Binder
With this one you can access the expansion folders without unzipping the whole binder. I thought that was neat!
Case It Binder
This is a 3 inch binder. For some reason when I was first looking at binders I wanted to go big with 3 inch rings but now that I have it, 1 1/2 to 2 inch would have been fine. There is a pocket on the left for pencils and such.

This one gets a five star because it feels sturdy and solid and I like that it has a strap! Finally a strap!

I got Lance’s binder for only $9.97 at Walmart. Finally a bargain! I went to two Walmarts looking for a binder for Lance (this is how I found out I paid a lot for two binders).
It's Academic
We got this one at a bargain price because there were no tags on it. I found another one and it too didn’t have a price. The cashier didn’t know what the price was either. She called her manager who didn’t know and said $9.97. Lupe and I thought for sure she’d charge us $15 and we would have been happy to pay that price as well but hey, under $10 is fine with us too. We didn’t argue (wink).
It's Academic
I wasn’t able to locate a brand like Mead or Case It. I did find a tag inside that said, “It’s Academic”.

The outside of this folder has a pocket and a mesh pocket one one side and an expansion folder on the other.
It's Academic top folder
This one too is pretty sturdy. So far Caleb’s is the only binder that doesn’t have that sturdy feel to me. I don’t mean poor quality it just doesn’t have that hefty-hefty-hefty (remember the trash bag commercial) feel.
It's Academic
I give this one a 5 star as well. It feels sturdy. I would have liked a handle or shoulder strap though.

What I’ve found I don’t like are the duel 3 ring binders where you open the binder and there are 3 rings on both sides. I found one for .25 and brought it home. Ethan filled it up with his backpack goodies. I found that once he put all his stuff in the pockets; there’s no room for paper!

Out of all the binders the American Girl binder in my opinion is very well made. It gets five stars for quality alone.

They are all good sturdy binders though. I’ll have to give an end-of-year report to see if they held-up here at Homeschooling6!
Binder Review


  1. Those look sturdy :) We tried binders (probably not nearly as good quality) and they didn't last for us. The American Girl one is cute and one my daughters would like, too.

  2. This is my first year having 5 kids use binders. I found an American Girl binder for me on Ebay for $14.99 plus shipping. Brand new! It still has the tags on it and now I don't want to use it. Goofy me. I'll eventually teat those tags off though ;)


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