Friday, August 12, 2011

My homeschool system

I thought I might share how I have things set up in case someone might need some ideas or just a fresh perspective.

A couple of years ago I heard about a system involving work boxes. I went ahead and purchased the manual explaining it. I liked it, but knew that using shoe boxes was not for me, and that that system seemed a bit too rigid. I wanted something easier. So, I came up with my system...and it is really no big deal.

Our school boxes

Close up of school box with green file folder

Almost all of my children's homeschool materials are kept in these file boxes. You can purchase these at almost any office supply store. Here is a link to one like I purchased at WalMart. They run about $15 each, but should last throughout your child's homeschool career. I put their first name on them with a label this size, and remove the lid. As you can see, the lid wouldn't shut if it was on. Some things won't fit into these boxes, and some things make them too heavy, so not everything goes in them. I also keep a green hanging file folder in each box for smaller or misc. items like math CD's (we use Teaching Textbooks) and the country sticker books.
Envelope and plastic 3-prong folder

Almost every "subject" is kept in a 10" x 13" envelope, unless it is already in a sturdy binder. The envelope has the name of the subject on the front. I either reuse these envelopes the following year by covering the old sticker with a new one (if the envelope is in good enough shape) or I pitch them and use a new one.

Preschool materials on top, followed by MFW family cycle

My 10th grader's shelf

I keep most textbooks (i.e., Apologia science), our reading books, timeline books, music CD's, and the Teacher Manual on our book shelves. Each child either has their own shelf, or shares, if needed. My children learn pretty quickly which of their items are kept on shelves, and which are in their boxes. I also keep every year (Kindergarten, First Grade, Exploring Countries and Cultures, Creation to The Greeks, Rome to The Reformation, Exploration to 1850, 1850 to Modern Times, and all of the high school years) of our MFW curriculum on our shelves at all time, instead of storing them away like some families do. I like the children to have access to them if they want to pick up a book from last year, etc. I keep them separated by year and use the awesome different colored book labels that Sonlight Curriculum sells. This way, if a child takes a book off the shelf to read for fun, they or I will know which "year" it goes with when they go to put it back. Sonlight is the only place I know of that sells these. If you look closely at the top of my books, you will see the little stickers. Some books have two or three stickers, if they are used in more than one year.

Homeschool correction box and goofy poodle

After a child has completed a subject, they put their envelope or folder/binder into the homeschool correction box. This box above is a bit small. I plan to purchase a larger one soon. My goofy poodle wouldn't get out of the shot. ;o) Isn't he cute, though? He needs a bath. I tell ya what. If you ever have a dog that turns up missing, ask me about Sunny. He was missing for two weeks once, and traveled about 7 miles before we found him. Long story. Anyway, back to business...

Later that day, I go through their completed work and correct it.  After I correct their work, I either give it back to the child to fix (depending on how much they got wrong) or just place it right back in their box. I take any papers that need to be filed in their notebooks and put them away in one of those green hanging files until I have time to file them. I file them myself in their notebooks (instead of having them do it), well, just because I'm so OCD about them having very nice notebooks. :o)

That's it! This system is simple, yet it works perfectly for us. Hardly anything gets lost. No assignments get forgotten (usually -- I have had a child, on occasion, "accidentally" place their finished work back into their own box instead of the correction box).

I keep their boxes on the island in our kitchen during the week. This way, they are easily accessible during the school day. On Friday evening we put them away for the weekend. We all like them out of sight, out of mind for a few days. :o)

Feel free to copy any of these ideas. Leave a comment and link me to YOUR system. I'd love to see it. I might even get a better idea from yours!


  1. Great system. Very well thought out. I use a variation of the workboxes too. We use drawers for my littles. My bigs use a bin type system like u use. Enjoying looking through your blog posts :-)

  2. Hi! I am co-hosting the My Father's World Homeschool Highlights this school year with Kathi @ A Heart Like Water. This is where MFW families connect weekly, or as often as you like, to share what we are doing in our schools. The first one is Aug 25, the info is on my blog. I hope you join us!


    ps: Looks like you are organized and ready to go! We use a tweeked workbox system too, just haven't got around to posting it yet! I hope you have a great school year!

  3. Thanks for sharing the pictures of your bookshelves. I loved seeing all of the MFW years collected like that. I love the colored labels for each year. I'm glad you shared that because I'd never thought of that before, but love it!