How I Adapted the Workbox System to Organize My Homeschool

I wrote about how I am a workbox system dropout.

However, I was able to take some of the principles behind this system and create my own organizational system.

Here’s how I organize our homeschool room, have fewer planning sessions, do less daily prep work, and maintain my sanity.

The key to my little system is a set of drawers on each side of our homeschool table and an abundance of notebook binders.

The other important aspect of my system is more upfront planning and fewer planning and prep sessions throughout the homeschool year.

Each side of our large homeschool table has a bank of drawers. I currently have each of my 4 children sitting at a different side of this table so they each have their own set of drawers.

I place all the curriculum we need for the semester in the drawers according to the order that we complete them during the day.

The top drawer is full of supplies like pencils, pens, crayons, markers, etc.

The second drawer holds logic books, poetry books, and our daily workbooks. These are the first items we work through in our school time together.

The third drawer holds the curriculum for whichever subject comes next in our daily routine.

The next two drawers hold the remaining curriculum items according to the order in which we complete them.

As we have our homeschool time together we just work through each drawer one at a time until we are done with school time. This helps me stay organized and not forget a subject (I can admit that I frequently want to “forget” about math or grammar). The drawer system also ensures that all of my curriculum stays in one place and is not MIA when I need it.

Bookshelf and Book Basket
I have a bookshelf dedicated to books for that particular school year. I have our read alouds, science books, and history books for the entire year on that shelf. When I need a book, it’s right there for me to grab off the shelf.

I also have a book basket where I place books for the entire week. I pull them off the bookshelf and stack them in our basket. Then I refill the basket each weekend and not daily.

Notebook Binders
Rather than refill drawers with daily worksheets, I spend my summer printing out all necessary papers for our school year. Then all papers are filed in our notebooks.

My kids each have one binder per subject. And if they do any additional work or papers throughout the year, they can easily be filed in the correct notebook.

By the end of the year, we have a collection of all their work in each subject and I don’t lose papers all over the house!

How and When I Plan
Instead of trying to plan and do some prep work each night, I do all of my planning and prep over the summer or at the beginning of a new semester. I spend several days organizing our curriculum drawers and filling our notebooks.

I put all supplies in our supply cabinet for easy access. I place all of our read aloud and history books in our bookshelf so they are ready for the year.

It does take a lot of time and brainpower to plan ahead during the summer. However, I’ve found that this is worth it for me to not have to do much homeschool work in the evenings.

My kids appreciate knowing the order of their schoolwork by looking through their drawers and they know what papers need to be completed in their notebooks. Nothing goes missing during our year and I save so much time by organizing over the summer.

7 thoughts on “How I Adapted the Workbox System to Organize My Homeschool

  1. Hi there… do you have any pictures that show this? Visual aides are always helpful to the greenhorns! Thank you!

  2. Do you have any pictures of the binders systems that you use? I would love to see them.

    Also, the Math we use is Singapore math, so we have a workbook and a text book and we also have printed sprints and other math fact printables that we use too. How do you incorporate that into a binder? or would you just use the binder for printables and then have the books separate? If I’m going to do that for a lot of subjects, should I just skip the binders?? What are your thoughts?


    1. I need to make a video tour of how I use binders. Here’s a video of our school room and you can see the binders and things here.

      As far as math, I would put all the printed things in a binder. You can also take the pages out of the workbook and put them in the binder. Our math comes spiral bound and I take off the binding, hole punch the pages, and stick them in a binder. It’s easier for my kids to take out one page at a time to work on them. Then I keep the teacher’s manual separate and keep in the drawers that we use.

      There are a few subjects that do not have binders because we use the workbook. For those, I just stick the workbooks in our drawers. So I do a combo of binders and workbooks depending on the subject. And I’m even using some spiral bound notebooks this year. I just do whatever is easiest to eliminate lose papers!

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