Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How I Organize the Kid's Homeschool Papers & Stuff

Today I'm putting away last year's homeschooling papers. Yes, I know, it's September. Yes, we began homeschool lessons for this academic year in mid-August. I know I'm doing things out of order.

As I go through these papers and supplies I'm happy that this system has been working for us for over a year. Hers is my system.

We have a big antique hutch in our kitchen. The bottom shelf is open in the front. This is the perfect size for three Itso storage bins (cloth with a vinyl bottom) sold by Target.

Each kid gets one bin (they call it "full size fabric bin" full retail $9.99, you can find them on sale for $7.99). I get one bin for myself.

I used a portfolio pocket folder for each subject. In this went loose papers. None of the work my kids did filled a full student spiral notebook so I took sections with writing on them and removed them and put them into the folder as the year went on. For example the poetry writing class may have yielded one or two sheets of writing per class with a total of eight classes for the year, so they went into the pocket folder. Most of their long term outside classes have their own folder. I had one folder for miscellaneous classes that may have had just one piece of paper for the entire session. I also put certificates of course completion in there if we had one. There is a label on the front with the child's name, academic year and the subject.

All their folders went in the Itso bin.

When we were busy and I'd find loose papers lying around I'd shove them into the box for filing later (by them preferably).

Their boxes also had some spiral notebooks in it for when the needed one for class, they'd grab it.

Their boxes held all student workbooks they were using that year.

Their boxes held any living books or textbooks that they were in the process of reading right at that moment. Books to use in the future and books already done reading were not stored in the bin as there was not enough room. The items are in "standing up" alignment so they can flip through to see the covers of the books or the fronts of the pocket folders.

I got the kids into the habit of always putting their stuff away into their bin. When they need their poetry book, they grab it from the bin. When they finish with their math workbook for the day, they dump it in the bin.

Their boxes also held their timeline binders and illustrated graphics to put on the timeline. (We continue to not like doing this and every year I say we'll do it but we barely make any progress.)

My own bin holds all teacher's manuals and teacher textbooks that we are using right now. Any read aloud books I'm reading to them are there also.

On a shelf above are general reference books that one or both kids are using for various subjects such as dictionaries and atlases or drawing instruction books they both work on when the spirit moves them.

Also on the hutch is the pencil cup and a little cup that holds various kinds of erasers (pink rubber, art erasers etc.). A drawer holds sketch pads and art journals and another drawer holds special art markers, fine art color pencils, colored Sharpie markers and sketching pencils.

Baskets on each side of the hutch hold overflow books like the next books I want them to read for history or science or the books they just finished reading.

I have a wooden bin (actually it's an old square drawer, don't laugh) in my family library which holds the borrowed books from the public library. It has worked great to keep all the books we borrowed in one place except for the very moment we're reading and using them at which point they are on the nightstand or whereever we're using it. As soon as we're done with it, it goes to the bin for easy returning. I also donate unwanted magazines to the library so as I finish reading magazines or get ones in the mail I don't want to read I toss them in that bin. Before going to the library I check the bin and take what needs to be brought there.

So that's our filing system which has worked for one and a half academic years.

Disclosure: I was not paid to write this review or mention any products contained in this post.

1 comment:

Jeanine said...

Thank you so much for your organizational tips! I have been pouring over websites and blogs for tips. Luckily for my family, I can stop now. Those Itso Storage Bins may be just what our family of 6 could use. I needed 'smart' storage that would grow with our needs, especially while homeschooling. Your tips were very helpful!