Keeping track of homeschool paperwork can be a challenge but these organizing tips should help you stay on track! Don't forget to check out the rest of our organizing tips series!
One of the most daunting things we face as homeschool parents is how to keep everything in order. Keeping your homeschool papers organized is important for not only your peace of mind but for your student/s as well. Their academic future is important and having as much information on file as possible will only make the transition to a different school environment later on that much easier. But with endless stacks of homework, essays and tests to keep track of the storage alone can leave you wanting to throw in the towel. Don’t do that yet! Take a moment and go over what has become my method of storage over the last couple years that keeps me from being overwhelmed and has everything ready at my fingertips as needed.
1 Binder for Every Child
When you are home schooling multiple children this is especially important for you to stay organized. I purchase the larger 3 ring binders during peak sale events. Each student has a binder and inside each binder I use tab dividers one per subject and then within those I use additional folder dividers for assignment category. These binders are excellent for keeping track of completed work all in one location for each student. I also have a binder set up for myself that I use to know what field trips we have coming up, brief notes for each week, and anything else I need when meeting with our oversight teacher.
Do Lesson Plans Once Per Month
I spend one evening each month going over my calendar and creating lesson plans for the next 4 weeks. Having them in very simple form written on my calendar helps me stay on track. It also helps me make a list of any printable or reading materials I need to compile ahead of time. I prefer to have everything ran off in advance and put in my binder until they need it, in case something comes up. When they get a little older, I'll keep their upcoming work in their binders. I'm not trusting that the twins aren't going to get color happy yet though.
Clean Up Every Day
At the end of each school day don’t just toss your papers on the desk. Sort and file in individual binders as needed. Grade as you go along and don’t allow yourself the excuse of “I’ll get to that later”. This is the biggest pitfall to homeschool parents. The ease of no set deadlines can suddenly become no deadline at all. Keeping all kids binders in an easy location (bookshelf or back of desk) helps make this an easy task. I keep all of their binders in MY cupboard in the schoolroom when we aren't doing schoolwork.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
When doing online classes, pick and choose what you really need to print. With older children, you can let them save their work to a folder in your free Dropbox account or on a flash drive. I learned this the hard way to keep a safe copy of anything I HAVE to have, after the online curriculum we were using had a server error and our reports were all messed up a few years ago. Now, I save a copy of them to my dropbox and print a copy once a week for our portfolios.
Don’t Fear the Trash Can
Although every home school parent fears not having enough documentation, there is always going to be something you can throw away. At the end of each month I spend a few hours going through each student’s binder and pulling only the assignments that will be of importance to their portfolio out and throwing the rest away. Pages of math problems to help with new concepts can easily be thrown away. Color pages or word searches for the younger children aren’t always necessary to keep. I keep copies of all quizzes, tests and reports from online classes. To be on the safe side make sure to check your state guidelines on homeschooling and what is required in your student portfolio (if one is required).
Being organized in how you store the necessary items for your home school student is the only way to have success without countless late nights and endless stress. Try the methods above or adapt ones that have worked for you in the past in a different work environment until you find what works best for your family.
What are some of your favorite ways to keep the paper clutter under control?
Looking for more ways to get organized? Check out the entire 31 Days to an Organized Home series!
Are you looking for more tips beside what is being shared in the 31 Days of Homeschooling Tips for Moms? I would love to invite you the community inspired by this series, as we strive to inspire, encourage and empower our readers in everything homeschooling.