Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Planning the School Year

I love the summer.  Our time is spent mowing, tending the garden and flower beds, swimming, and enjoying our family and friends.  I also love to plan the new school year!

I spend weeks each July planning for our new school year.  I look at the new curriculum available to homeschoolers and read their reviews.  I search the library on-line catalog to see if there are any new books printed this year for homeschooling.  I check out other homeschooling mom’s blogs to see how they set up their classroom and their curriculum choices.  This is one of my favorite times of the year!

I wanted to share my school planning process with you.  It am still working on them and plan to continue to add a few more fun features over the next few weeks.  Most of the ideas are not my own.  If you would like more information on any of the ideas posted here then click the blog links at the end of my post .

My laminator, printer, and keyboard are getting a good workout!

Here are some new ideas I am in the process of implementing in our classroom this year:

IMG_0171Workbox Weekly Grid from Homeschool Creations blog.

This project has been the most time consuming but I think it will be the most beneficial change.  It will not only keep our day moving forward but allow my girls to see what needs to be completed before snack, break, or lunch.  This is my version of a workbox weekly grid system from the Homeschool Creations blog.  It is set up as one 8x11 laminated sheet for each day of the week.  I velcro each little card, front and back, and line them up in order of each days lessons.  When the girls complete the lesson, they turn the card over and attach it in the same box.

IMG_0174This pocket chart holds our workboxes cards.  It also holds our ‘morning board’ weather cards and the numbers for the ‘days in school’ chart.  I love organization!

Above are a few of our morning board items from Confessions of a Homeschooler blog.  We plan to track the weather, tally the number of days in school, learn the books of the Bible, count out the coins for the date, and more to come!

These are our workboxes.  They are 12”x12” drawers from Hobby Lobby and Target.  They come in sections of 3 drawers for only $9.99.  I am using 9 drawers per child.  We have our reader books in the basket above each set of workboxes.  The pocket chart behind the workboxes is for our All About Spelling word cards.

Now for my lessons plans!  Well, those are much easier this year because I invested in a unit study from My Fathers World Adventures.  They have done the work for me!  YEA  MFW has planned our Bible, History, Geography, Science, Music, Art, read-aloud books!


I photocopied each week’s summary from the MFW teacher lesson manual.


On the facing page, I have a spreadsheet I designed with excel.  It is separated by child, one color for my 2nd grader and one color for my kindergartener.  It lists their individual lessons for MUS, LA, AAS, Explode the Code, and reading.

Now for our school supply totes! I got this from the Target $1 section, but it did cost $2.50.  I have one for each of the girls. I used a label maker and put their name on it.  I store it next to their workbox daily grids on a shelf.  Each morning they bring it to their desk.  So when they drop a pencil or lose it in the bathroom (that never happens though…ha ha) they have 10 other pencils in front of them!  Priceless!


This is my new WONDERFUL filing system for the WHOLE YEAR!  I got this from a blog post from One Day At A Time. 

I have 36 hanging filing folders for each week of the year.  In each hanging folder, I have 2 file folders: different colors, one for each of the girls.  I have placed items in each folder for the workboxes, like: MFW state notebook pages, MUS worksheets, dot-to-dot pages, A Reason for Handwriting pages, and more!  I began with one crate and once I started filing the folders I had to buy another crate.  It’s a good idea to have a lid for the crates.  You can stack them on one another and keep little fingers out of them!


IMG_0055 This is a pocket that holds some of my school supplies.  The gray folder holds my notes, things to remember, book basket ideas,  library lists, and other projects for the month.





Here are a few of the items that I put in the file folders: worksheets from MUS, MFW state notebook, Handwriting, a dot-to-dot, and mazes for fun!





This shelf contains the school supply totes and ‘fun stuff’ bins at the bottom (for free time play if they have completed a lesson early).





This is our Book Basket for MFW Adventures lessons and other fun library books.

If you would like to see where I got these ideas for our classroom see the list of links below.


Our students:

Blog links for more ideas:

Calendar and Morning Board from 1+1+1=1

Filing system in the crate ~ you’re going to love this!

Check out the printables for calendar time 

Workbox system weekly grid from Homeschool Creations

Homeschool Creations workbox activity cards

Share your ideas for planning your year in a comment below – add a link to your blog!



  1. Wow! Everything looks great...I can tell that you've been working hard! I am still in the midst of planning for our schoolyear ~ the planning is mostly done, now it's just getting everything copied, laminated, filed... :)

  2. Ooh! I love the crate filing system! I think I will have to wait on it because if I go out and buy one more thing for homeschool, I think my husband is going to have an stroke, hee hee.

    This is my first year to HS but I can see that this will also be my favorite time of year. Thank you for sharing!

  3. WOW!!! You've been soooo busy!! I've got some of my organizing/planning done but not all!!! Still waiting to buy those crazy hanging file folders!! And we don't use a lot of workbooks around here so I am going through my lesson books and making some items into "file-able worksheets" fun but a lot of work!! You've done an AWESOME job!!! I hope it works perfectly for ya!!! (I also am going to be using the weather printables from Confessions...)

  4. Wow! You are sooo organized! I think I should hire you to come do some organization in my crazy house. See you soon!


  5. I love it, thanks for sharing. I am doing MFW Adv as well this year and I'm trying to get organized, too.

  6. Monica, I am blaming this all on you! This time last night, I said that I was NOT going to do the filling system, and guess what I am doing at this very moment?? Yep, I am surrounded by worksheets and file folders and LOVING it! Thankfully, my husband is indulging me :) Thanks for all the wonderful tips.

  7. You have worked hard! I bet it feels so good to have this completed. I'm in the prepping and organizing stage now and I just may do this too. I love this filing system and the other links you shared are a real help too. :)

  8. Thanks for the comments. I hope you enjoy your planning time as much as I do! The filing system is going to be the biggest blessing this year... thanks to other moms sharing their ideas!

  9. WOW! You have everything so nice and organized! You are more than welcome to come and organize us for the coming school year ; )

  10. Hi! I am doing the same MFW curriculum you are using this year. I was wondering if you would mind sharing the spreadsheet you made to use in your planning notebook along with their lesson plan sheet? I would love to have a copy! Thanks!

  11. I gave you a blog award. Visit my blog if you want to check it out :)

  12. WOW! All I can say is - WOW! Thanks for all this me some ideas...

  13. What a fabulous workspace!


  14. thanks for sharing all the great links! nice to meet you on the homeschool lounge! :)

  15. This looks great and very well organized!! I have been looking at the workboxes. Seems like it is successful for a lot of hs families. I think it would work for my 11 yr old, he gets "lost" easily and I really want to do something like this for my 3 yr old. Thanks for coming by my blog and visiting during the curriculum clean-out!

  16. Ok. I want to be like you. I wish my homeschool area was that organized. Do you want to visit Iowa to train me? :)

  17. AND BY THE WAY ... how did we "meet" several months ago, yet I never saw this post??? Well, let me tell you, I found it now, and I spent the past several days WHILE MY GIRLS WERE GONE cleaning out and reorganizing my file cabinet to make room for this little system. Oh, yes I did. Other moms would have gone for a pedicure or met friends for lunch. Behold the life of a homeschool mom! :P

  18. I love reading these blogs about the workboxes. I especially love the filing crates. I want to be organized this year but I am running out of time before school begins. I was wondering where you bought the crates? You mentioned that it's a good idea to buy crates with lids. Have you seen those around and if so what company makes them. I am from Canada but I can easily go to the States if I can not find them here at home.
    Thanks and blessings to you and your family!

  19. Hi Harvestmom - I got my File Tote with lid from Officmax. It is listed on their website. I think it cost about $14. Hope you find one!


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