My file crate system is based on Dawn's setup, which is much more beautiful than mine - you should go check it out. Dawn's system is what mine wants to be when it grows up!
You should know upfront that I didn't start out this organized. Believe it or not, I'm not really naturally an organized person, but in order to be effective as a homeschooling family, I've learned that I really need to be.
This system, as it is currently, is the results of layers of organization that get added year after year. It is still a work-in-progress, but it definitely helps me stay on top of things, so I wanted to share it with you.
Let's get started!
- file crate
- hanging file dividers and file folders
- curriculum (and any books needed to go along with it)
- Weekly Homeschool Planner from Homeschool Creations
1. Outline the Year: First, I take a piece of paper and fold it to make 12 squares, a section for each month of the year. I then make an outline of the year, including any family events, birthdays, vacations, festivals, and scheduled time off. This is not the space for details or lesson plans, but is meant an overview of the year ahead for our family.
This year I recycled one of Lucy's watercolor paintings, but it doesn't really matter what this part looks like, as long as you have one place where you can see a general overview of your year and things you need to plan around and consider as you make your homeschool lesson plans.
2. Our Weekly Rhythm Our weekly rhythm of activities has been the same for years now, so this is an easy step for me. (note: much of this comes right out of Little Acorn Learning) I include our colors of the day in this as well.
Monday - Cooking/Baking, Purple
Tuesday - Painting, Red
Wednesday - Coloring, Yellow
Thursday - handwork, fine motor skills, Orange
Friday - Practical Life, Green
(Saturday - Library/Errand day)
To this I'm also continuing to do our toy rotation (an idea from Steady Mom) and we have weekly book baskets according to our Little Acorn Learning themes, too. If you've been reading Rockin' Granola for a while, you'll recognize these things as part of the Sneak Peek of the Coming Week posts.
Again, because I have been at this for a few years now, this is fairly easy for me because I just can just use previous year's lists, with some minor adjustments.
Week by Week, Day by Day
Okay, so now I have my year-at-a-glance and our weekly rhythm. Next, I move on to lesson planning. As I mentioned, I am currently using the planner from Homeschool Creations. I fill in the main lesson block and daily plans (you can take a peek at what we're using in 2011 - 2012 here) and then I print out the completed forms with each kid's customized plan.
Now I'm ready to take the lesson plans I have been writing and work out the individual weeks one by one in my file crate, placing each week's materials into its own hanging file folder.
- any printouts needed such as teacher's instructions, coloring pages, or worksheets
- my notes on the lessons
- weekly Little Acorn Learning themes
In the Binder
What goes into my binder?
- Attendance forms (we're required to be in school 180 days in my state)
- Information sheet with our homeschool i.d. number, the curriculum we're using, etc.
- Max's Kindergarten planner
- Jillian's Fourth grade planner
As we're working through the year, if we don't get to everything we need to in one week, I can just take it out and put in the next week's folder. This is why I LOVE this system - it is easy to make changes!
Have questions? Let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to answer you.
(Can you believe I actually made a post without mentioning knitting? Me either!)