Organizing Student Work with Hanging Files
Friday, 20 September 2019

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  • Grading
  • Organization
  • Planning
  • Record Keeping
  • Support

Have you ever opened a drawer at your child's desk, only to find it was full of jumbled worktext pages from multiple subjects? Or, like me, do you have several children calling at the same time for help locating handouts? Take heart! You're like a lot of other homeschool moms, including me. This simple system may be a big help for you. After ten years of homeschooling, the hanging file system is standing the test of our busy students. I use the hanging files to organize our student handouts, reproducible pages, completed student handouts, worktext, and test pages.

This is a win, win method! It will help your CHILDREN easily find needed papers for their schoolwork. It will really help YOU find the completed pages to grade, file, etc. I have my children leave their student worktext pages IN their workbook for most subjects. But for younger children, and certain subjects (like handwriting) you may have them torn out in advance and kept in this file. I primarily use the hanging file folder method for un-completed handouts that accompany a given subject, and for all completed handouts, worktexts, etc.

This file system is inexpensive and easy to implement. Here's what you will need to get set up.

*Hanging file folders (Choose two colors for each child.)

*A drawer or tote that accommodates hanging files. One for each child.

That's it! Hanging files can be found by the bundle at most stores for a few dollars. It's okay If you don't have a desk that holds hanging files. We found a plastic tote bin that accommodates hanging files for only $8!

Feel free to let your children be a part of this organizing process! They will have fun and gain more appreciation for keeping it organized. :)

Now it's time to label the 1st color choice of hanging folders for your student. My son has blue folders for his first choice. We will use blue to reference this set of folders for uncompleted work. There are little tabs that come with the hanging file folder sets. If you run out, more can be purchased at a dollar store. Pick the first subject of student handouts or papers that you would like to organize. You will need at least one blue hanging file per subject. Some subjects, like math or spelling, may need two or more blue files. Just make labels that say, "Math 1," "Math 2," and so on for those subjects.

After you label each file folder with a given subject, drop it into the drawer/tote. As you go on creating folders for more subjects, be sure to place them in the same order that your child will use them. Once all of my blue file folders are placed in the drawer, they will hold all of the papers that go along with my son's schoolwork.

Now you will use the 2nd color of folders. My son is using yellow for his second color. You can label these "Finished Math," "Finished Reading," on so on. Place the yellow "Finished Math" folder behind the blue "Math 1" folder. Go ahead and create the "finished" file folders for each subject. When you're done, you should have a file drawer with alternating colors of blue and yellow folders.

Let's see a walk-through of how this really works. My son is working on his math. He is instructed to get out the corresponding handout and looks in his blue folder for math. He sees the handout and pulls it from the blue folder to fill out. When he is done, he will place it in the BACK of the yellow file (this way his finished pages will always be in sequential order.) If his worktext page was torn out for that subject, he would also place it in the back of the yellow file when done. If he takes a math test, he can put the test in his yellow file when finished.

One last detail. I do not keep my parent guides in the hanging files. I tried that but found it to be a lot of files for everyone to wade through. There are multiple ideas for organizing parent guides. I simply clip them into a 3-ring binder. I can get to them easily that way. With the online classes, everything I need to assist my child is available online, so I tend to reference that instead of the physical parent guides.

So, it's late afternoon or evening, and it's time for you to check your child's work. All you need to do is pull out that yellow file! Grab his newest pages in the back to check them. From there you can clip them into a 3-ring binder, or just put them back into the yellow folder until the end of the semester filing.

I like to check my children's work with them. I usually have my laundry folding saved for that time. Then we sit on the couch, and I fold clothes as I'm able and check their work with them. We re-work any problems that need to be redone together. It's a special one on one time with that child! Plus, I get some laundry folded. Timesaving and efficiency are a homeschooling mom's best allies, after the Lord Jesus and chocolate, of course! :)

I don't know about you, but when my children can locate their own papers quickly and independently, and I can find them neatly lined up to check, life, in general, feels simpler and more straight-forward! Thanks for reading and happy homeschooling!

Meet the Author

Janelle Sykora - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant