Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My New Organization System

Inspired last summer by the crazy long filing thread and in past years by By Sun and Candlelight's File Crate System, I decided to set up files for our homeschool.

At first, I thought I'd put everything in weekly folders.  In other words, pages for everything into a folder marked "Week 1" and so on.  I even started that way.  And then we got behind and more behind.  And I just wasn't using the folders for September through November.  Well, that just isn't going to work long term.

So, the first week of January, I tore apart the files and refiled by subject and by pupil.  And, I must say, it is working beautifully (after, you know, two weeks of lessons).  I set up five crates and a "work box."

Many of my children's things are color coordinated.  M-girl has red things, N-boy has blue, and R-girl green.  The three children each have a crate in their color. 

 Their crates are divided into 3 sections: 1) Directed Work, 2) Independent Work, 3) Other miscellaneous stuff.   Their Directed Work is items such as their MEP binders, McGuffey Readers, WWE pages, Penmanship pages, etc. Independent Work is assigned books, Explode the Code Pages (for the olders, R-girl is directed with ETC), Math Mammoth Pages, Kumon Cutting pages, coloring pages for R-girl, etc.  The Other things are coloring books, coloring calendars, and such.  Mostly these crates are for me to get in and out of.  The kids each have a white board and colored pencils they can get in and out, but generally, this is for me to utilize.

The other two crates are for me and their divided by "Skills" and "Content" as described here.

Most of the "Skill" work is of the "do the next lesson" variety. So I can pull out the folders and the books when we get to that lesson or pupil and move on without a lot of breaks.   The content crate allows me to do some planning and prepare ahead of time because I have the main manuals, teacher texts, and requirements lists all in one easy to carry place.

The final piece to the "system" is the box of assigned work. There are three dividers (in the children's colors) with folders marked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Done.  They also have a notebook pencil holder with scissors, pens, pencils, and such.   At the end of the week it takes moments to select Independent work for the next week and put it in a folder for each day. The children have been doing a nice job helping one another read and follow directions and work through this work.


  1. These look great, Dawn! I use small file boxes to hold papers, circle time things, math things, Hans' independent work, and couch-time reading books (each of those is a different box). It works ok, but I'm mulling on how to improve it next year.

    This year I did most of the paper copying and loading and planning at the beginning of the year ala Kendra @ Preschoolers and Peace, and I will definitely be doing that again. Weekly planning just doesn't happen often enough, and then it makes the term planning so much more smooth if I know what material I'm getting in order. I'm already working on my list of what is best done at the front end for next year. I'll post it when I'm ready. :)

    Thanks for the FCS links. :) Oh, and I color-code my kids, too. It's so convenient!

  2. Thanks, Mystie. This has worked pretty well except for the sheer space needed to house it all; right now we can't sit on the loft sofa as it is covered with crates ... I need to clear some shelf space in my way cool closet, just haven't yet done so.

    A lot of mine was tearing books apart, but there has been some copying and putting stuff together. I didn't do the SOTW stuff which I think I'm going to regret. I should probably get to work on that ...

    I'd love to see your list. It is good when we help one another!

    Love her links, and the blog. There are lists of seasonal/monthly activities and ideas from a couple of years ago that are very helpful (despite all the Saints days)

    The color coding is very helpful! My husband thinks it is a bit much, but it helps keep me sane.

  3. I've done my crate in a similar way too. I have only one crate though & each hanging folder is a theme: master lesson plans, spelling, WWE, handwriting. Inside each hanging folder is a colored manila folder (one color per child), so that I can store what I need for each child. I only print & store items for up to 6 months though- this way, if we change up something, I haven't spent too much $ & time printing. I also have some hanging folders for our lapbooks & history study w/ regular manila folders labeled per week so that I can pull out each week w/ everyone's items ready to go. LOTS of work up front but saving so much time!

    Funny that you did this post- I had a few people ask me how I organize things & have a post saved for our blog! I'll have to link to your post!


Thanks for commenting! I love and reply to comments because I love building community with my readers!