Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting it Done.

I've used many ways to organize our home schooling and the filing system works the best for many reasons.  First, I'm too lazy to worry with workboxes.  Every week you've got to unload them and reload them and frankly, that doesn't work for me.  Then there's the big plastic bins that have to sit in plain site in our dining room where we do school.  Again, that doesn't work for me.

Last year, I pulled together about 4 weeks worth of school work and for four weeks, our school days were smooth sailing.  Unfortunately, I never got around to doing the next four weeks or any week after that and we had to wing it all year.  We ended up doing whatever was next in the books, which works, but I always felt discombobulated.  So last month, I sat down with all of our books for the year.  Hardcover, softcover, pdf (all printed out) and workbooks and got to work.  I can't destroy hardcover books, so those were safe.  For the rest, may they rest in peace.  I despined them.  Is that even a word?

Whatever.  So I determined what needed to be done from each book to complete it in 36 weeks.  Then grouped the pages together and stapled.  It was as simple as that.  I did not tear apart my All About Spelling book or our Easy Grammar books.  All spelling exercises are written in a spiral notebook and the grammar has it's own spiral bound workbook.  

I keep the spelling, grammar and supplemental books in this cabinet above my computer.  My computer area is just inside the kitchen on the other side of the dining room wall.  Everything we need is close at hand.

Here's the **FILES**.  I feel like music should play when this comes into view.  All 36 weeks are in here and a few extra things are in a folder in the back.  When we complete a week, the whole folder with the completed work is filed in the back.  We don't make the fancy notebooks as suggested in the WTM because my boys just aren't into all that.  Once the work is done, it's done.  Neither have any inclination to go back and reminisce.

Here's what a typical weekly folder holds.  From back left to front right.  Mind Benders, History (SOTW), Writing with Ease (student and teacher pages), Math Mammoth for RePete, Classic Science, and Pete's Math Mammoth.  Again, spelling and grammar are on the shelf as are the Usborne and Kingfisher history encyclopedias.  I use online sources for RePete's reading and writing so no space is needed for that although I do have a few reading resources on the shelves in case he needs a little extra help.

And finally, I use Homeschool Tracker (the free version) to type lesson plans if I'm feeling sassy.  Although, it requires dates, I just plan all the work needed (based on what is in our folder) for that week and we don't look at the dates.  For instance, we are working on Week 2.  We're in our third week of school, but visiting relatives have forced us to split the work between two weeks.  ***Update:  Forget this paragraph.  WAAAY too lazy for this program.***

It used to be that if we didn't complete what I had planned for August 17, I would have a nervous breakdown.  Not any more.  ***I should add in here that sometimes we take two weeks to finish a folder or maybe we don't get to science due to visiting family, dr appts, etc, and that's okay with my folder system.  We either keep plugging along the second week until the work is done or that one subject gets moved into the next week.  Our schedule is not so jam packed that we don't have room for extra science experiments.  In fact, they are relished.***

I've also started making Pete his own weekly planner.  He's in fifth grade this year and I'm trying to groom him for more independent work.  He completes his math, logic, history and grammar on his own and we work together on science, spelling and writing.  He also has free and required reading that we are working in this year.  Art and music are sourced out although BN teaches Pete drums and I teach art to the boys.  We use the art and music classes through our co-ops more for social time and a break from the work week.  Pete also takes drama through a local theater group and both boys are in sports.

I love having this file system.  No more flipping through 8 different books and their workbooks.  Everything tidy in one place makes me happy.



  1. The filing system sounds great! It would have been so nice if I could have managed to get stuff organized that way and keep all papers in their place. (Gawd I hate paper piles!)

    The work boxes did work nicely for us because we were involved in so many activities, and we often did some of the schoolwork on the run. The kids could take their boxes with them in the Suburban and not have the excuse that they'd left something at home and couldn't do their work. We also took them to the nature center where they'd work until they were done in the quiet observation room and then be able to explore the indoor exhibits or trails. Once the work had been completed, though, there was no good system for filing it.

    Here's to a great year ahead with your new system!

  2. That's a great system. I sometimes think I should have been more organized when my kids were younger. Now they just do it on their own. I didn't realize you were posting so regularly. I caught up on reading here.

  3. Hmm. You've given me a lot to think about.
    Question: What is Classic Science?

  4. Debbie - His Life Sciences is free and then there are three additional levels in Bio, Chem and Physics. I wanted a secular science program that was all spelled out, interesting, had a review and easy experiments. This does. I add books for my older son to amp it up a bit since it is for elementary age and he's in 5th. However, since we've done relatively little for science because I never found the right fit, this has worked perfectly. He's able to read the text by himself and understand it and do the worksheets independently. Then we do experiments with his younger brother together. Not bad for FREE!

  5. Really?!? I looked it up and it looks interesting. I've also had the challenge of finding a secular science. Sooo many great science programs out there that just haven't been the right "fit" for us. Of course, I could probably devise one myself I'm just not really scientifically minded. :( Pathetic excuse, I know. ;)
    I do have 10 and 11 yr olds, though (grds 5 & 6). I wonder if it would too childish for them.

  6. It's free so you can try before you buy. You can also just browse it online. Or print one chapter at a time. Let the kids read the chapter online and see if it fits.

    We're a bit more artsy in my family and while we enjoy science, it's not my thing to put together either. I could say laziness might also be a factor but I would never say that. :o)


How sweet of you to drop by.