Recently, when I shared a photo of my crates full of an entire year’s worth of homeschool lesson plans on Facebook, I received a lot of questions. So, I wanted to take a minute to answer those because I think this might be my new favorite way for homeschool lesson planning.
Jackie asked: How?!?! Tips and tricks, please. How does this file system work? I have 5 [children] I’m planning lessons for and it just keeps getting messier.
I have tried several ways to organize our lesson plans to make life easier. (See below.) I needed a plan that would keep us flexible while giving us a clear outline of what needed to be done each day. So, I decided to use one hanging (green) file folder for each homeschool day. These folders are not dated but numbered to maintain an order and to make sure we are getting all of our state required attendance days completed. I did subtract the number of co-op days and enough days so that we can have at least one field trip each month.
Inside each hanging file folder, I have a manila file folder for each child. The manila file folder contains all of the worksheets, books, etc. that the child needs to complete for that day. If they need to do a project that will not fit in the folder – like “build a model of a Viking ship” – then it is written on an index card and placed in the folder.
Also note that my oldest children have daily reading from chapter books as well as math on the computer. Since I obviously cannot fit a computer in the folders, they just know that that must be done and we rotate who works at the computer while the other children are at the table.
Lilly asked: So do you have a crate for each child?
I have two crates because that is what it takes to hold all the folders. I have one hanging folder for each day and those hold four manila folders, one for each child. The days are numbered but not dated to make room for sick days, field trips, co-op, and life.
Crystal asked: What is IN each folder??
Each folder has their worksheets and assignments for the day. For the preschooler, I have cut apart workbooks and coloring books to keep her busy and I am using printables from the Premium Members Library. I also disassemble workbooks because isn’t that what perforated pages are for? Ha, ha.
You can get a closer look at our curriculum at these links:
- Preschool Homeschool Curriculum
- Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum
- 2nd Grade Homeschool Curriculum
- 5th Grade Homeschool Social Studies and History Curriculum
- 5th Grade Homeschool Language Arts and Math Curriculum
Lynne said: This is my first year to homeschool and I was excited to get about 10 weeks of world geography done. However, in the 3 or 4 weeks we have been homeschooling, we have not followed that plan at all. So much for my planning.
Give yourself tons of grace. It took me three years to find a groove, and I still leave lots of room for flexibility. Nothing I do is dated.
Ann said: Wow! I am very impressed with your organization as well as your commitment.
It is the only way I can balance working from home, outside the home responsibilities, and homeschool. I have to MAKE myself do this or come January, everything falls apart. I have tried planning for a few weeks at a time or even for half of the year, but when my motivation wanes, I find myself just doing the basics. I wanted to give my children the education they deserve and this is what I must do to serve them well.
Kelly asked: Are you just naturally that organized or is that a state requirement?
Not a state requirement and definitely NOT naturally organized. Just naturally lazy.
Betti asked: Do you save their work after it’s completed? If so, for how long?
Most of it, no. I might save lapbooks or special art projects but everything else gets trashed. You can always scan or photograph though.
Supplies you need for this homeschool lesson planning project
- Plastic storage crates (one of two depending on the number of hanging file folders you use)
- Hanging file folders (one for each homeschool day)
- Manila file folders (one for each child and each school day)
- Labels (to mark each folder) or label maker
- Permanent marker
- Worksheets, workbooks, curriculum
Other ways to organize homeschool lesson plans
- Creating a Flexible Homeschool Lesson Plan System details how this idea first began. I started using crates and folders but was still relying on a planner too.
- Organizing Your Homeschool Lesson Plans includes a printable for creating lesson plans in writing should you be required by law to keep up with your detail.
Help for planning your homeschool day
- Sometimes, I giggle when I think about how rigid I used to be. Check out my first attempt at how we planned our homeschool day.
- See how I fit everything into my day as a work from home, homeschooling mother.
- View our homeschool schedule from a few year’s ago and grab our free printable chore chart.
- View our more updated new and stress-less homeschool schedule.