Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Avilian Homeschooling and File Folders

A long time ago a friend of mine (who founded the Catholic Classical Education e-list which I now moderate) had a web page called the Avilian Home Learning Organization System.  The link takes you to the blog form of the old web page which she revived due to popular request

While I was browsing through her post on Simple Lesson Preparation Lists I was reminded of the file crate system I used to use, inspired by Dawn's File Crate System.

Here are my former posts.  

Folder System 2009

Folder System 2008

Folder System 2007

You can see how the system sort of evolved and flexed according to my priorities.

There aren't any posts for the past two years on my file crate updates.  In 2010 and 2011 I did not use a physical file system because I was trying to go more paperless.   That link explains some of the advantages and disadvantages I found when using blog technology to keep records and store lesson plans

This year I am trying to get back to paper system backup because it really helps me to have something I can see/put my hands on.   Plus, I want the option of not turning on the computer during certain seasons. 

This system by Lisa at Pieces of Us reinspired me.   It is so pretty!   In the past I did not use the hanging folders, as you can see from the links to former years, but I started thinking of the advantages of hanging folders vs regular ones (like not slipping underneath and getting buried by their companions).

So I just ordered these ones

I love the colors, and my old files were getting ratty, so it was time for an upgrade.

While I was waiting for them to arrive, however, I decided I should do a trial run for this summer.  So I dug up a few older hanging files left over from my husband's filing make a summer system.   There were four red ones and one green one. 

So I made one hanging file per month and then within the month, I made a regular file per week, using the folders left over from my old system.

The four "monthly" hanging files are red (May, June, July, August) (I will soon retire the May one and make it into a September one).   The green hanging file is devoted to the worksheets and materials I haven't yet put into their weekly slots.   Since my younger children are in 4th grade and functioning as a 1st/2nd grader I don't like to slot things too far ahead, especially in summer.  

I alternated blue and teal folders by month to give me a better visual code.  So for example, May is teal, June is blue, July is teal, August is blue.   When there is a transition week (eg June-July) I switch to the new color.  That allows me to visually see that a new month is coming so I had better start preparing for it.

Does that make sense?  Visuals below!

The colored files at the back of my box are for printouts in different subject areas.    Right now in there I have:  pages from Penny Gardner's Italics, pages from KISS Grammar Second Grade Workbook,  pages from MEP Math Year 1 and Year 4 (for Aidan and Paddy respectively), and that's all right now. 

Here is a close-up of the weekly files:

Some of the contents of the first couple of weeks-- a weekly planner and a sheet from Italics:  Beautiful Handwriting for Children.

My plan is to stuff worksheets, events and other things in the weekly files and then when that week arrives, I can take them out and dispense them to the kids as in the Avilian system. 

Here you can see my binder in the back of the box (I had trouble getting a good picture with the way the morning light was streaming through the window)   This binder contains some of my planning forms  and checklists.... also things like tables of contents, teacher's materials for curricula I am using, and other things to help me keep track of the bigger picture. 

This is my preparation for the year checklist. 

Here is my partially completed table of contents for Living for God,  which I plan to use with Paddy. 

Some other time I may write out the other things in my binder, but it is still changing right now. 

Aidan wanted me to take a picture of his Toy Story cover, which he carries with him everywhere. 

I hope this didn't sound TOO confusing! I love browsing through organizational systems and especially seeing visuals, and writing it down helps me during my foggier mental seasons, so I can go back and see WHAT I was thinking in May when I am spacing out in November! (Tell me I'm not the only one who gets a foggy brain when the weather is foggy outside!)


  1. I've been working on something similar... It's nice to see your example as I figure out what I'm doing!

  2. Hey. Can you bring that for me to see in person, please?

  3. Hey. Can you bring that for me to see in person, please?

  4. I envy you this level of organization. I simply wouldn't be able to handle all that paper! It frightens me! But this post does inspire me to take organization less casually. I'm getting older and I can't keep everything I need to remember inside my head with a minimal amount of noting or filing. I really need to make everything more obvious for me and my kids so that we remember and know what to do next.

    1. Faith, I know what you mean. I seem to be two people. One part of me loves shuffling paper and working on systems, and the other part gets overwhelmed as you describe.

      Since I have such trouble with temporal things, though (calendars and schedules and such) having physical places to put schedule-related things really helps me. That's why I've used this kind of system for several years. It does not work perfectly, mostly because I forget to work the plan ;-) but it does work for me better than not having a system.


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