I usually consider myself an organized person. That is, I like things organized and I try to keep them that way. As a parent with children running around the house, however, it’s been harder to stay organized. Homeschooling adds extra pressure, because now my child’s education hangs in the balance of my organization skills. Okay, not quite, but being organized does help the homeschooling run more smoothly. Here are my tips for organizing your homeschool.
I use a daily planner for myself (just as my mom did when she was homeschooling me). In this book, I write out what each of the girls are doing for schoolwork each day. I write down any extracurricular activities they do, such as lessons, mom’s group at our local church, Grandma visiting, etc. The planner also gives me a space to record other things they do that could be counted as “school,” like going to the park (phys ed), taking a field trip, reading books aloud together, etc.
Last year, I used Catholic Heritage Curriculum for most of our subjects, and so I used their daily lesson plan. That way, our school day was already planned, and the lesson plan included extra space for me to add more notes about what else we were doing each day. If planning scares you (as it scared me last year), then I recommend using pre-made lesson plans like this.
Back in September, I debated using binders, notebooks, or file folders for the girls’ schoolwork. I finally decided to get a notebook for each of them (including Jade!) and that has worked really well for us.
All of the girls schoolwork goes into their notebooks. If we have colouring pages for science or history, I trim it to fit the notebooks and glue it in. They write their dictation directly into the notebooks. If we do science experiments, the notes go in the notebooks. If we do a field trip, then I try to keep something from the field trip (like the scavenger hunt page we got at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum) to glue into their notebooks. When Sunshine has a violin recital, I keep the program to put in her notebook.
Because everything is glued in, I’m not worried about losing pages or getting them mixed up if we drop the binder or file folder. All their work is collected neatly in one place, so they can review it themselves (and they often do!) or show it off to a grandparent or their homeschool teacher.
Right now, I have a cabinet in the side of our dining room dedicated to homeschool materials. It includes a bookshelf for all of our books plus a drawer for each of the girls’ (notebooks, workbooks, etc) and a couple extra drawers for my planners and miscellaneous supplies. The girls can get out their workbooks and put them away. It’s easy for me to grab teacher’s manuals or books as I need them.
Before using the cabinet, I reserved one shelf on our bookshelves for homeschool materials.
Each year, I keep one of the boxes that our homeschool curriculum arrives in and use it to store all our finished materials. My planner, the girls’ notebooks, their finished workbooks, their scripts from their drama class, etc—all of that goes into the box. That way I have it handy to show anyone (like our homeschool teacher). This idea was based on the girls’ Art Boxes.
My planner, the girls’ notebooks, our bookshelf for current books and our box for old books, all help our homeschool run more smoothly. Being able to find everything we need for school helps us to be efficient. I also know that the girls have completed what they need to each year. Overall, being organized keeps us happy and successful.
I’m linking up with the Canadian Homeschooler for this post. Drop by for more tips on organizing your homeschool!
What helps you stay organized while homeschooling? Do you use any of the things I do or does something else work better for you?