It is important to keep an organized home school, but many have difficulty doing it, so I hope to shed some light with some suggestions. As homeschoolers we tend to generate a large amount of paperwork so a system to keep it organized is essential.
The first thing I do is develop a filing system. You can go as elaborate as going with colored folders or as simple as manila file folders. Quite honestly if they are in a file cabinet no one will see them and you just want to be able to label them appropriately so easy to find and file.
- Break things down into categories. Depending on the subjects you are teaching at the time will determine the amount of folders needed for each child.
- Portfolios are a great way to keep things organized per child. Some states require a yearly portfolio with examples of everything your child has studied and learned throughout the year. Keeping that organized by subject and perhaps color coded will make it easy. For instance, I have a portfolio for each child that is an actual 3-ring binder. This binder contains page dividers for each subject. I then include page protectors and have examples of work accomplished along with tests if given any. I also have a transcript that I have made for each child that shows the classes taken each year and the grade assigned. This is very important for my high school aged children, since it is needed to determine if each class or credit that is required was accounted for.
- Simple systems work best. There are many beautiful looking filing systems on the market, but if they are complicated you will more than likely not keep up with them. One of the easiest systems that works for our family is the typical crate with hanging folders. Each child has a crate with folders designated for each class. They are required to keep their folders neat and tidy and purging weekly is very important. There are times that my child will draw or paint masterpieces but I can’t possibly keep them all, so I take photos and place in a scrapbook for them. They are happy with the scrapbook and I am happy because of less clutter.
- Purging occurs on a weekly basis. We remove tests and quizzes or writing samples from their file system and place in their portfolios. This gives the child a sense of accomplishment both academically and in organization skills. This is a system that will teach them to stay organized in their adult lives. Keeping important papers in a file system which are easily accessible will make their lives much easier.
- Clear boxes and drawers are perfect additions to an organized home school. If you can’t see it, you don’t know you have it. We keep art supplies in plastic containers and mark them appropriately. We have clear containers for crayons, markers, pens/pencils. We go through them every couple of weeks and replace as needed.
- Shelving systems are essential to an organized home school. We keep all our books and supplies on shelves and are all labeled. We like using color coded stickers for different books and the children are aware of the system and where the item goes when they are finished with it. We use open baskets and crates to hold and house binders and portfolios for easy access. Each child has a plastic drawer where they will keep the books they are using that particular year. Every drawer is labeled and each child knows which belongs to whom and can place items in them accordingly.
I hope that I have enlightened you a bit on maintaining an organized home school environment. Teaching your children organizational skills early will make your home school and their lives more organized and less stressful. Remember to make learning fun.