Okay, this is it (I think!) — the final post in my homeschooling series for the summer. I thought I’d give you a quick peek into how we organize our homeschool work. It’s really not anything groundbreaking or fancy, but I always appreciate seeing what other people are doing, and there is one tool I’m really excited to share with you.
Here we go:
Last year, I told you about our homeschool-in-a-box setup. We still have our boxes, but as we’ve moved to more independent work, we found that the box was getting trashed as the girls dug through it each day, so we adjusted things slightly.
Now, the top box holds learning activities, mostly geared toward our 3- and 5-year-old. It includes things like counting bears and chips, magnetic letters, lacing cards, number and letter dice, etc. This is working really well when I’m in the middle of something with the big girls and our youngest is having trouble finding something to do because I can send her to the box to get an activity without having to come up with an idea on the fly.
I probably need to develop a routine for rotating these activities so we can keep it fresh!
The bottom box contains things that we’re not currently using but will be using later in the year. Right now it’s pretty full because we aren’t doing Classical Conversations memory work yet, and it also contains the Life of Fred and language arts books we’ll be starting in the fall.
The girls’ daily independent work is kept on a shelf in our kitchen (which is by the back door, hence the shoes…). And yes, I straightened it before taking this picture because it doesn’t stay quite this neat when the girls are in the midst of school!
I got this idea from Lisa at The Pennington Point, although hers is a lot prettier than mine. Our shelf is a lot smaller than hers, and I haven’t found the right boxes/baskets/trays to hold their work yet, but I’m hoping that will help keep it straighter once I do!
One of my goals for this year is to teach the girls to use an index and reference tools such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc., so we keep an assortment of those on top of the piano (the picture at the top of this post) for easy access.
I also keep our language arts books and our current read-alouds in the windowsill next to my seat on the couch so that I can easily grab those, while the rest of our books are upstairs in the loft, organized by subject.
And these are the latest — and my most favorite — addition to our setup.
Last year I worked with DuoBinder as a Life Your Way sponsor, and at the time they sent me one of these cool DuoBinders so I could see what the hype was all about. I loved the premise of this handy binder-and-accordion-file in one, but I honestly didn’t have a use for it, and I almost gave it away several times during the course of the year.
Thankfully, I didn’t (it’s the office supply hoarder in me!), and when we began developing our curriculum for this coming year — which will include more loose pages of work instead of the composition books we’ve relied on up until this point — I realized these were the perfect way to organize our work.
I bought a second one, and set them up like this:
The accordion files are labeled with Monday through Friday, plus an Other pocket for various randomness. There’s also a pocket in front of the Monday tab where they keep cheat sheets like their handwriting charts, master world map and language mechanics guides.
The cool part about these, though, is that they also include a binder, so I added tabbed dividers for history/timeline, science, geography, Latin and Bible where that they can file away their work as they finish it.
Although we’re not yet doing all of those subjects (we’ll start history, science and geography again in the fall with our CC work), this system is working really well for us so far, and these DuoBinders are so handy!
And finally, I keep extras on these shelves in our “toy wardrobe”, including schoolwork and art projects I want to keep, extra curriculum, parents guides, learning tools, etc. You know, that plus a few random robots!
As with the rest of our homeschooling plans, how we organize is continually evolving, and I’m always on the lookout for what other people are doing that we can do better.
How do you organize your homeschool work? Do you have a dedicated homeschool area, or is it integrated into the rest of your home?
|Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.|