I remember when we first started homeschooling our oldest son. It was so simple; so neat and tidy. His whole curriculum fit onto one little shelf.
Then came the second year; still not so bad. I thought I had a pretty good hand on this homeschooling thing – we were moving right along and all of our “school” stuff still fit neatly in one place.
Then came a couple more kiddos and in our cozy little house—it got a lot messier. My oldest son excelled in reading, grammar, spelling. He fell in math. Now we are using multiple materials – some days I cannot find what we need honestly! We are failing to keep it all together now! lol
And as the years have progressed we have moved into a mix of online materials, digital materials and physical ones – can you imagine the mess that my materials are? Some days I cannot find what I need – the other day I spent hours searching my online Idrive account for my Before Five in a Row materials. And I realized that there is a better way. I am not sure exactly what it is but this summer I planned to do some serious habit training with my kids – Looks like I need to do some for myself too! lol
As I was perusing the net for ideas, I came across a couple that I am going to try myself and thought I would share them here. In case any of you need some help getting it all together too!
- Create a Mom Binder. We have recently begun to use more unit studies and lap books around here. I need to be able to keep things in order. And once I am running a co-op with some other ladies, I definitely need to have it together. As I have read, and seen, this is a perfect way to keep lesson plans, weekly planner printable, a prayer journal, and maybe a blog planning calendar.
- Since we have a rather small house, its important to be able to store in creative ways. I admit it, this homeschooling momma tends to collect curriculum and supplies en masse. It can really make the days harder when things that are needed cannot be found. There should be a place for everything and everything in its place right? Milk crates can be great friends (a little paint maybe and they can fit right in anywhere). Consider them as workboxes too; I am going to do this, at least for my oldest, to try to help encourage him to work a bit more independently. May help him stay focused more too!!
- Supply Boxes: With four children (three doing school) we have too many materials, all over the place. And too many fights over what belongs to who. As if it should matter. ha There are rulers, scissors, protractors and compasses ~ the plan is to get them all to match! Add some character pencils in each person’s favorite (Spider Man, My Little Pony and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and you always know whose stuff is whose.
- Grab-and-Go Bags. We have snack bags, ready to go at the drop of a hat; we have a bucket of water and sand toys for a day at the beach. We have a kid size suitcase too full of fun things for outdoor play, Bible Quiz tournaments out of town, days at the park. It sure makes impromptu trips a lot simpler.
How about eBooks in your homeschool? We have found so many wonderful ones ourselves, free for our kindle, online. We have a wonderful collection of pdf materials too. But they tend to get lost! With our smaller house too, I think my husband appreciates eBooks for the space they save us. Did I mention how wonderful it is too to be able to take or school work outside on nice days? Or on a long car trip to have games and books the kids can enjoy, without tong a heavy load of stuff? Not to mention the cost. These are huge bonuses!
Of course that was before a big computer crash – before I got my new MacBook Air (love it but must learn to use it)! Now I have tons of files stored randomly online, that I need to download once again and get organized. This is a project for the summer most definitely! So here’s my plan, in case, like me, you need some help with all these digital goodies as well!
- Download things immediately when you purchase them. How many files I have that we have never touched because I got them and forgot about them. 😦 I need to make a folder myself for all of my purchases from Currclick and another for my purchases from EduCents. So many goodies from both of these; if not for free then for a very good price. It is my goal to use all of this now. It doesn’t count for anything, just having it right? Learning by osmosis? haha
- Since we have multiple ages/grades going in our homeschool right now, I am making folders for each child. I am also making folders to store files by subject (we don’t follow the grade thing much around here) so we can locate all these materials a bit quicker. Also, this way we can move things back and forth as they are completed. Currently I have a folder specifically for homeschool materials, and there are folders within that folder, for grade and subject. These need to get cleaned up anyway.
- I print some of these. Handwriting, grammar, geography, math – I never print out the teacher’s manuals or guides – workbooks I definitely print out though for my two boys. Some I even laminate (for my younger two) so we can repeat certain things, like copywork/handwriting. It saves paper and space when they can just wipe it off and start again. The things I do print though go into a folder or binder right away. Now and then I will send these to Office Depot to be printed and bound – those are the really good ones!
- The Dropbox is a great place to store files too. I use it for bigger files myself; I love to use this for reading materials so that we can read while we are out and about – on our iPad. I think its far more enjoyable to do reading work outdoors when we have the opportunity.
- One day I have dreams of owning my very own comb-binding machine; I can see these being so very helpful! But these are a bit more than we can manage in our budget right now. So glad the copy shops are affordable.
- For all of my BFIAR materials I am planning to get a couple really nice hanging file boxes like this one. Then I can place all the printables in a nice manila folder and store them. We have a lot of FREE unit studies and lapbooks from Homeschool Share in the early days. With plans to use these much more frequently in the fall, I want to keep these handy and easy to access.
This is definitely going to keep me busy in my down time this summer. I will need to be strong and sure, and follow-through to really make this work (and not make an even bigger mess – true story!) And what a great way to really focus on being more frugal in the homeschool too!