After 6 Years, The Perfect Charlotte Mason Homeschool Organization for AO

I’ve been homeschooling for the past 6.5 years and I’ve always been well-meaning to start a blog of some sort but I haven’t quite committed in the way that I had hoped. Life sometimes takes over and the things we say we want to do don’t always happen. Aside from wanting to blog more regularly about our homeschool, I’ve also wanted to start a makeup business. That particular desire has definitely come to pass. Although, I am the kind of person that tends to put a lot my plate, this past year I’ve had some time to reflect over responsibilities, which has freed up some time for me to blog more! 

After almost 7 years of homeschooling, I am still a Charlotte Mason homeschooler. I’ve been pretty fortunate to find this method within the first 3 or 4 months of homeschooling. I tend to run into a lot of people who say they’ve never heard of the method. However, with that said staying organized and figuring out a way to juggle three children with this parent-led method has been a bit challenging especially since I’m running my own business.

Well, the awesome thing is that I was doing some research this summer and I ran across an organizational method on Youtube. Kristi showed us 5 methods and I fell in love with method 1. I will try to explain in written form but her video on her channel Raising Clovers was an amazing explanation of how to keep your weekly work in one area and organized for a term at a time. Well, maybe that’s the way I adapted it. I can’t remember directly right this moment if she planned for 12 weeks at a time or had her whole 36 weeks planned out before the school year. She wasn’t even a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, but I found this method was very exciting to do and has given our homeschool a new feel for the year.

SO here goes, what you’ll need for the Crate System:

  1. crate

  2. hanging file folders

  3. Lesson Prep Sheets from the CHEATSHEET yahoo group or create your own.

Adapted to Charlotte Mason

Essentially, the way I’ve adapted this to a Charlotte Mason method is alongside the Ambleside Online Curriculum. If you’ve been using the AO curriculum as your choice to follow a Charlotte Mason method, then you’ll understand what I’m referring to when I say “AO weeks”. So, AO has the weeks neatly organized on what your child will be reading from what books for each week. So for week 25 (week 1 of term 3), I can clearly see that my year 5 daughter has this:

Bible (2 prep lesson sheets)

Bible (OT): 2 Kings 11; 2 Chron. 25, 26 (“The Kings of the Great Prophets”)

Bible (NT): Matt. 18:1-8, 21-36; 19:13-15; Mark 9:30-38; 10:1 (“Farewell to Galilee”)

History (3 prep lesson sheets)

This Country of Ours ch 88. Lincoln – The Battle of Gettysburg
The Story of the World vol 4 by Susan Wise Bauer ch 1, 2

Carry a Big Stick (Teddy Roosevelt) introduction and pgs 25-34

Geography (1 prep lesson sheet)

Halliburton ch 11. The Enchanted Temple

Science (2 prep-lesson sheet)

Christian Liberty Nature Reader 5: ch. 22, The Tools of Animals or, in the 2002 edition, 6. Animal Tools]

Story of Inventions ch 11: Samuel F.B. Morse and the Invention of the Telegraph – Planning the Electric Telegraph (pgs 247-258)
Madam How and Lady Why Ch 12 Homeward Bound from beginning to “once joined on to that low island on our left.” (pg 252-255)

Optional: Physics Lab in A Housewares Store: Pyrex p. 63

Poetry (1 prep lesson sheet)

Poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier and Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Literature (3 prep lesson sheets)

George Washington Carver ch. 1-2

Kim by Rudyard Kipling ch 1
Age of Fable ch 25 Arion

Math (1 prep lesson sheets)

Saxon Math 8/7

So for each subject (except math), I’ve either found a cheat sheet on yahoo groups or I’ve pre-read and created a chart that looks similar to this, which I call a prep-lesson sheet:


The prep-lesson sheet has names, places, dates, and events in a nice little chart. This is the information presented or read by the child prior to reading their lessons (lesson prep). These lesson prep sheets are printed and added into the folder and paper clipped by subject. So week 1 for history, I have 3 pages with the required reading and chart info on a page for each reading.

In the folder is also a blank narration paper behind each “chart/lesson prep” so the child knows the required work due after each reading. Sometimes it may say detailed written narration, drawn narration/oral, short written summary/oral narration. So for the week 1 folder we will have 13 prep-lesson sheets (or cheat sheets) and 13 assignment sheets.

The assignment sheets get turned into a little caddy (image) that I have the left side is for new work turned in. The right side is where I turned the work back into her so she knows I’ve checked it and now she can file it away in her own folder.

caddy (1)

(WE’ve been doing somewhat of a summer school/ finish out what was left over from last year during our summer…so I’m a bit behind on filing)

Not only do I put these required charts pages in the folder but she also has a daily schedule so she knows when and where to pull the information for the week. (Note: For CM specific homeschool families, this post does not include grammar, dictation, latin those will be added once I find the workbook we’ll be starting with for Mid September when our school year starts. It also doesn’t include the specials. We usually do picture study on Mondays, composer study on Tuesday, nature study on Wednesday, handicrafts on Thursday and timeline/mapping on fridays so those subjects would be added in weekly)

It may seem like a lot of paper but we are a hands on type of family. Electronic filing doesnt work as much for us. This method promotes:

  1. Independence: The older child can navigate through the folder and see what is necessary for the week

  2. Chunkable pieces: It breaks down the school year in a weekly format.

  3. flexible: because I don’t number my folders just like…..in her video. So if we take off time we can just pick up where we left off at.

  4. Peace of mind….yep that simple I’m organized

I’ve been homeschooling 6.5 years now and this is the most organized I’ve felt in years!!! yay to that. Oh and pay attention to how she rips things out of workbooks for little ones. I know in the CM philosophy we dont use many workbooks but our Horizons math is a workbook and I love the idea of ripping out the pages and throwing in 5 pages per folder. It seems like a lot less work than holding that workbook each day and wondering when you are going to be finished!! I also do this with the littles’ handwriting sheets as well. I also write out their copywork sentences for each week. So again the staple or paperclip will hold 5 copywork pages, 5 handwriting pages, 5 phonics lessons (cool thing is the All About phonics is workbook style for us too. Not so CM’ish i dont think but what we are using and and works wonderfully with this method of organization)

Although we are a CM homeschool we absolutely love fun games and other resources for our children: Here is a list of a few:

Time 4 Learning

Teach My Monster to Read






Khan Academy


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4 Responses

  1. This was a great idea. I have my children pretty independently studying but would like to provide more of an early view as an introduction. Which group did you find the cheat sheet or did you blend a few and re-create your own?

  2. Ooops. I see I went through the top of this article too fast. I found your link to the Yahoo group. Sorry for not paying close enough attention. Awsome find!!

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