How to Organize for Independent Home Schooling

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How to Organize for Independent Home Schooling

As a Charlotte Mason home educator, I love to train my children in self-learning and independence in their studies. Starting the year organized is one of the best ways to accomplish this for my children.

I would love to share with you a few of the wonderful statements of Charlotte Mason of ‘self-learning’ or ‘independent home school’ for modern terms:

“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child’s nature.”

“There is no education but self-education.”

So, as you can see why I organize our home school to be in a way of ‘self-learning’ or ‘independent’ for a child that is able to read and older.

Organizing for Independent Learning using Magazine Holders

Here is how I organize for independent home schooling:

  • Purchase Magazine Holders – I use one magazine holder for each subject being taught, plus an extra one for daily work.
  • Label each holder with the subject – For my elementary and middle school children, I label one for Daily, History, Nature/Science, Geography, Literature and The Arts.
  • Fill each holder with their books – At the beginning of a school year, each holder will contain the living books, binder books and a nature journal. In the daily holder, I place their Bible, math book, spelling book, character work and memory work.
  • Construct a grade notebook – This notebook has a checklist for each week’s assignments that the child will check off on their own, even when dependent work is done together. It is their syllabus for the year and has been the catapult to raising independent learners in our home. I put this 1/2 inch notebook in the daily magazine holder, where they are required to return it when finished using it.

Are you interested in the gentle art of learning that Charlotte Mason’s method utilizes?  If you aren’t sure where to start, how to implement it with your children (even high schoolers) or just wanting encouragement from other Charlotte Mason educators, join the Mother Culture Connections for Charlotte Mason Educators Facebook group, where we have monthly parties for topics that matter to our members.


This post was written by:
Dollie Freeman, is a veteran homeschooler who has educated her children with the Charlotte Mason way from preschool through high school. She shares about finding joy in the everyday of home, family and homeschool on her blog, Teachers of Good Things.


  1. I like this idea very much. Our curriculum has Charlotte Mason aspects in it and with the increased amount of schoolwork, I think organizing it like this is a very great idea! I also like the idea of the checklist. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I like your idea but I don’t know if it would work for us. We homeschool our 10 yr old autistic son, who is very disorganized! This last year, I set him up with a binder and dividers for each subject but he usually just dropped it wherever along with any pens or pencils he used that day when we were finished for the day. It didn’t matter how much he was told to put the binder in a desk I put in my craft room. Just about every morning, we ended up having a treasure hunt ALL over our house! It could be found in his room, our room, the living room, or kitchen but very rarely in his desk! I would love to hear any ideas anyone would have to help with the problem.

    • A few ideas that comes to mind when I read your comment:

      – Spiral notebooks: This helped my second child who couldn’t or won’t take care of his things as I had asked again and again. I decided that this was better than getting frustrated daily. It works for him!

      – If he works in one place, have his things in that area, so it doesn’t have to leave the area.

      – Reward system: stickers for each day his things are taken care of and then after X number of stickers, get something from a treasure box. (dollar store things are great, since you can get several things in one package)

    • Actually, Sue Patrick, author of Workbox System came up with the system precisely FOR her autistic child, and it’s very similar to this. There are a couple aspects of her system that she emphasizes, though (like clear containers) that are different, so you might find it beneficial to look at.

  3. This is a good idea, I’m actually redoing ours after several years of the same. It doesn’t seem to be working anymore. I was wondering about your grade/checklist, would or could you post a picture of it for inspiration. Thanks.

  4. I love the idea of grouping all the boys things into magazine holders!
    I like how neat and organized that keeps our shelves! I also created a weekly planner for my boys, which we keep in a 3-ring binder with all their copywork and narrations. Teaching our kids to be organized is very high on our homeschooling goal list!
    I made these planners
    For my boys, and just this morning, my youngest was up before 7 doing “school” because being organized helps him take ownership of his day. Love it!!

    Thank you for sharing this! It will bless many:)

  5. I love this idea! I think I’ll give it a trial run this winter when we house-sit for 3 months.

  6. Hi! Thanks for sharing your homeschool organization. As I will begin homeschooling my children . I find this so helpful for my children and I. I had a question are all children materials going to be put in the magazine holders. Or is each child to have there own magazine holders. ? Thanks !

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