We officially start the new school year August 24th, but are finishing up a few chapters from last year's work. This gives me the perfect opportunity to test a new schedule and organizational system before launching it with our new curriculum.
My school day looks different from most. I have 5 children, 3 school aged, and 2 busy toddlers. Three of my children take violin lessons and 2 of the violin students are also learning piano. I run 3 home businesses, look after the toddlers, and try to keep up with meals and housework during the school year. While I love the idea of unit studies and eclectic Mom designed curriculum, the practical application of that in my home was a disaster. After reading Managers of Their Schools, I finally felt free to make the choice that was best for my family educationally--traditional curriculum.
After a long talk with my Sister-in-love, who also has 5 children similar in age to my own, I made a rough draft of my school schedule. Each child starts with personal devotions, immediatly followed by music practice. We learned the hard way that if practice isn't first, it doesn't happen. Throughout the day, I have 30 minute windows of time with each child for individual instruction, but the children largely work independently.
Using a set curriculum means that I can plan a start date and stop date for my school year. We have 183 days scheduled with Daddy's work holidays planned off and a nice break in December for baking cookies and other holiday preparations. I went through my curriculum books and calcuated how many lessons a week each child would have to do to finish the books. Then I made folders for each child for each day of the week. Red is Monday, Orange is Tuesday etc. Each folder is labeled with the Child's name and the day.
Inside the left pocket is labeled "Work to Do" and the right pocket is labeled "Finished Work."
On Saturday I can fill the folders with work for the week and put them in the handy organizer that you saw at the top of the post. When the child finishes their work, they slide their folder in the top tray underneath the weekly folders for grading. When the work is graded and I talk it over with the child, I move the folder to the bottom tray to wait filing in the portfolio. So far the system has worked beautifully. No more lost papers, and the kids can see first thing in the morning what they have to do to be done for the day. As soon as the work is done, they can use the rest of the day to play or pursue creative outlets like cooking, sewing and sports.