Friday, July 23, 2010

Homeschool Organization: Workbuckets

In past posts, I have referred to my children's workbuckets, and some of you have asked what a workbucket is.

Well, it is just a dishpan that I bought from Dollar General to hold each child's schoolbooks and related items.

I keep the workbuckets on shelves in the schoolroom closet.

Storing the children's schoolbooks in the workbucket allows them to take the workbucket anywhere they need to in order to complete their schoolwork. Some of my children like to do their independent work in their bedrooms or another quiet part of the house. The workbuckets are handy for carrying schoolwork in the car and also for just carrying their books from the closet to the schoolroom table. I like having a portable, central location for each child to store his schoolbooks.

This is Olivia's workbucket, all ready for the upcoming school year.

I have organized the children's daily work assignments in two different ways over the years. In the past, I labeled 5 two pocket folders with the days of the week. Inside each folder I stored all of that child's work for that day--math pages, copywork, grammar pages, book to read, etc. When the child had completed all of the work inside the folder, they knew that they were through with their independent work for the day. This method required that I spend time each weekend preparing the folders for the upcoming week---I tore out pages in math workbooks and made the necessary copies for other subjects. To me, this method works well for younger children. The folders fit nicely inside the workbucket, and they are easily portable as well.

The other method for organizing my children's daily work is my current method. Each child has a 3 ring binder with tabs for the various subjects. In the front of the binder I have laminated copies of items like times tables, maps, conversion charts, prepositions, linking verbs, etc. These items are followed by the tabs.

The first tab is entitled "Daily Work". I type a checklist for each week, usually fitting 3 or 4 weeks worth of checklists on one page. Each of the child's subjects are typed on the checklist, and they simply check off each box as they complete their work for that day. The checklist does not have that day's specific assignment, just a box to check off when they are through with that subject. This method works better for older children. They know to simply do the next lesson or page in their various workbooks. For subjects that have more involved daily assignments, I will type a specific lesson plan for that subject. These plans are stored behind that subject's tab.

Olivia's daily checklist

For subjects such as the upper level Apologia science course, I make laminated pages to serve as further dividers behind that subject's tab. Behind Olivia's Chemistry tab, the first pages are her daily lesson plans (I print these out from Each day Olivia will complete the daily assignment listed on her lesson plan page, and then cross out the box beside Chemistry on her daily checklist.

The further divisions behind the Chemistry tab are Vocabulary Words, Own Your Own, Experiments, and Study Guide. I placed notebook paper behind each divider for her work.

a laminated divider behind the Chemistry tab

The binder method requires more time before school begins, but then I don't have weekly preparations throughout the year.

For Leah (1st grade), I will be doing all of her school work with her, so she doesn't have a checklist, binder or daily folders. Well, she and Sam both have 3 ring binders, but they are to store any special things made throughout the year.

For upcoming posts I will be sharing my ideas about the following:

organizing the Sonlight binders
my daily school schedule
where we do school
the layout of my schoolroom
my updated preschool list

Have I forgotten anything? I will be glad to share ideas for things you have questions about.


  1. Thanks for your post about your workbuckets! I was one of the inquiring minds.


  2. Thank you for posting this! I am doing school with Laura Grace this year, but I still need a way to keep her books and the preschool materials organized. She does like to work on her worksheets, reading assignments, ect.. in her bedroom so I am going to try the folder out as well.

    I am looking forward to the other posts!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas! I enjoy reading your blog and always enjoy hearing how other people organize their homeschool things.

  4. Thanks for sharing. I may try your workbucket idea.