September 24, 2009

Homeschool Organization: File Crate

We're now several weeks into our school year and I just had to share this little organizational tip. I came across this file crate idea on a blog I like to read. I modified it for our family and came up with this:

I really love it and I can't believe how much time it saves me! Even if you don't homeschool, it could help you organize various papers that are used on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. It would be good for items that can't really be put into your household notebook. (You do have one don't you?) Bills, birthday cards, and holiday recipes come to mind. If you don't need a file crate, you could use a accordion type file.

Since I plan by the week, I have a folder for each week labeled with that Monday's date. I can plan ahead, up through the whole year if I want, and file things we will be using in the future. Each week, usually on Sunday night, I empty that week's folder into the daily folders. Then each morning I just need to grab the daily folder and I have all the worksheets/copies I need for the day in one spot.

I have a folder for each child (for their finished work that we want to keep), one folder for stuff that needs to be re-filed in my binders, one folder for things I need to photocopy, and one folder for me.

I think this works so well for us because of what we do each week. We study a different character trait weekly. I hang a paper with the definition of that trait and a Bible verse to go with it up in the kitchen each week. So the character printouts for the whole year are in the folders for the week we'll need them. I don't have to go track down the character binder, flip through it to find what I'm looking for, and take out the paper. It's all ready to go for the whole year right now. Multiply that by several subjects and you'll see the time it's going to save. Letter of the week printout and all the coloring pages I have to go with them... all filed! Spelling lists... all filed! I even took all the worksheets out of Wesley's math book and filed them.

If I run across something that I want to use in the future I can just print it out and stick it in that week's file. For example, I found a cool print out of the solar system to color, but we aren't going to start studying that until January. So I just filed it away and I'll be so happy to see it again when I open up that file! I won't have to remember where I put it or waste time looking for it. I'm sure I'm even filing stuff that I probably will forget I even have... it will be a little surprise for myself when I open that folder.

I keep the crate right in the kitchen where I can get to it easily each day. It's close to the computer where I print things out and close to the table where we do most of our school work.

If this sounds complicated... it's not. It only took me one evening to put it together. I think I spent more time tracking down the file crate and choosing my folder colors than I did on anything else. As you can see I chose the colorful folders. They cost a bit more, but I always loved rainbows! And yes, they are in the correct order, long live ROY G BIV (minus the orange and indigo)!

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