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Getting Organized

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Well, I will admit that organization is the one area where I struggle most. I am naturally quite organized but when it came to getting organized for home schooling, I was absolutely dumb-founded as to how to begin. I have tried literally dozens of methods, most suggested by other moms on the AO email list or methods I found while Googling on the Internet. Nothing has really worked well for until this year. I think facing high school and knowing that I would need to track credit hours, course descriptions and create objectives for my son, helped me finally figure out exactly what I needed to do and how to go about doing it. So whether you are just beginning to home school or are a frustrated planner like me, I hope these suggestions will be helpful to you in your home school program.

Create a Program

The very first thing you need to do is create a program for your home school. If you are an unschooler then this might simply be a journal you keep where you can make notes on anything you or your children study/learn. If you are using a packaged curriculum, then more than likely you will already have a scope and sequence (a multi-year chart showing the progression of studies) and possibly a list of course objectives. If you are using Charlotte Mason or a classical curriculum, then you will pr0bably have to create these items on your own.

Your program should include the following:

  1. A basic outline of what you will study this year (a list of subjects)
  2. A tentative scope and sequence for next year (ex. World History this year, American History next)
  3. A listing of all materials you will use this year (this might be a booklist)
  4. A page with a listing of course objectives or goals you would like to see your child achieve this year (ex. master reading basics and strive for fluency)
  5. A calendar for the year with any dates marked off for holidays or vacations

I personally find a binder to be best suited to my style but you might like some other method for storing these materials. Other options include a folder, a journal, an expandable folder (where you can put things into it), a folder pocket with a flap, a hanging folder/file bin or cabinet. I have listed some of the planning methods I tried initially on this page.

You might also like to use a computerized software program to keep your program organized. TGHomeSoft has a great free program called Home School Tracker. They also have a Plus version that offers more scheduling forms and calendars. Edu-track is another software product that will store all your school forms and data.

Lesson Plans

Once you have gathered all your planning materials, you will want to start preparing your lesson plans. To do this you will need to create a daily and weekly schedule for each student. Some parents find a MOTH-type schedule helpful when tracking more than one child. If you are scheduling one child, you might start off with either a Teacher Planner book (available at local teacher supply stores) or create one using MS Word or MS Excel. Donna Young has a wide variety of forms on her website that are free to download.

AO/CM Specific Planners

Other Home Schooling Forms

My Home School Forms (PDF and Excel)

You can also see some of my previous schedules and lesson plans here.

Getting Your Students Organized

After you have gotten yourself organized, now you need to get your students organized. You should have a binder or folder for each child so that he/she can keep track of his/her own work. Some items to put into a binder or folder would be: a daily checklist of assignments, any paper work or worksheets (copywork), any pictures or maps, etc. It is a good idea to train your children to do independent work as soon as possible. Once they are able to do their own work, you will find your home school day running much smoother.


**Next:  Creating a Daily or Weekly Schedule

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