Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Homeschool Organization

Sometime last week I posted this status on my Facebook that I was "so organized that I almost make myself sick".  I think I should clarify that by saying that sometimes I am "so organized in some areas that I almost make myself sick."

I mean really, am I so organized that my spice cabinet is neat, tidy and arranged alphabetically?  Not at all.  How about my sock drawer?  Let's not even go there.

My area of organizational bliss is my homeschool room - at least at the beginning of school anyway.  I spent several days this summer purging the old stuff I used in kindergarten and arranging the shelves for the new curriculum.

My new collapsible baskets from the Dollar Tree are my favorite finds this year.  Usually I have the books I use everyday, for both boys, piled up behind me and I have to dig through the stack every time I switch subjects.

Now I have a basket for both boys and a basket for the books I use with both of them.   It certainly has simplified the daily process! It also make it easier for the boys to find stuff on their own.

The thing I enjoyed organizing the most this year was my Homeschool Binder.  I always like trying to make it more simple, smarter and easier to use.  When I first began homeschooling I used a teacher-style lesson plan book and paper clipped my required attendance sheet to the inside cover.  Now, with both boys in schoool I have more things to keep up with.  After keeping separate lesson plans for each boy, last year I created a lesson plan form that I could use with both of them. They use spiral notebooks for daily lessons in spelling and English but I need an easier way to keep up with the loose papers that they sometimes work on.

My Homeschool Binder now holds all those things.  In the front of the notebook I have attendance sheets for both boys and a grade record sheet for my oldest (who now requires a letter grade.

Next I have a calendar tab where I keep a year at a glance calendar and mark the days that we have our Friday School (3 Friday's a month), keep up with the end of the semesters, holidays and special Friday School functions.  I also have several other tabs such as "notes", "reading log", etc.

I decided to keep up with their various loose papers by creating dividers made from the tabbed portion of file folders.  These dividers are handy because they stick out farther than regular dividers. 

During the course of our school day I just file these pages behind the appropriate divider and carry on.  When we are finished with our work for the day, I 3 hole punch the necessary papers and put them in the binder.  This has been working well for me and all the papers are in chronological order, which will be nice when it it time for me to turn in quarterly work samples to our homeschool administrator.

The last file folder divider is simply labeled "lined paper".  Sometimes I need a sheet or two and I needed it close at hand.

Behind that is a red folder that I grab and go when I have meetings with the other school moms in our group or with our administrator.  It includes the school roster, addresses and phone numbers and lesson ideas for our Friday school.

On the shelves beside the baskets (partially seen in the first picture above) is a desktop hanging folders rack.  I use it to file their quarterly reports until the end of the year when I put them away, various form blanks that I need, some teaching helps and anything that I might need access to during the year.  Above that shelf is a couple more that holds encyclopedias (does anyone use those anymore?), books and more books, and other school materials.

And their you have it, my favorite organization area.  Now if I could just do that with my kitchen cabinets and supplies!  Hit me with your questions and comments.

This post links to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.



Blogger Pattie said...

a thing of beauty!

August 24, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger stephanie @ Simple Things said...

Love it! I've never thought of using file folders as tabbed dividers - that's a great way to reuse them. Stealing that idea. : )

August 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Brandice said...

Love it! I want to go to Dollar Tree and get some of those collapsible boxes. I did sort of the same thing. I'm just using milk crates, and I have them in the floor beside their work area.It's nice homeschooling when you're organized. I wasn't at all last year, and just cried all the time :D This year, I have a file box just for homeschooling. Each child has a set of files labeled Monday-Friday, and files for each 9 weeks for their completed work. At the beginning of the week, I slip any worksheets or learning aids in the file for the day it will be needed. At the end of the day, I slip their worksheets in the completed work folder. It's worked really well. Last year I did the 3 ring binder thing, but I'm lazy about punching holes in the sheets, and kept losing things :D

wow...longest comment ever :)

August 24, 2010 at 10:04 AM  
OpenID RichP48 said...

Why not rewrite this as a PDF file and sell it?

I'msure a lot of home-schoolers could use this instead of "reinventing the wheel!"

Peace and Blessings!

August 24, 2010 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Country Gal said...

Love those collapsible baskets! I've found that keeping my records has been the hardest thing to organize - you've got some great tips!

August 25, 2010 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Hodgepodgemom said...

Love your binder and your baskets! And I hear ya about wanting to do the same thing in the kitchen. Thanks for linking to the freedom of frugal living :) ~ Tricia

August 26, 2010 at 7:33 AM  

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