It’s a struggle, isn’t it? Trying to stay organized when you homeschool. Even with just one little to teach, there is attendance to keep (a mandatory requirement in my state), papers to store, plans to follow, materials to cache, and books. All over the place, glorious books.
White Elfa Playroom by Hi! Sugarplum
Every year, my classroom starts out in September looking sort of like the pic above. I mean,not exactly, because I don’t have all that cool stuff. But we have the large desk, some shelves, lots of bins. And I try to make it organized and at least nominally cute. And then…
Have I mentioned I have boys?
I don’t know about your boys, but mine are All Boy. Messy, rambunctious, high-energy little (well, big now) tornadoes that can lay a room waste in three seconds flat. Plus, there’s all this Paperwork!
This time of year, you can count on a messy classroom, things not put away where they should be, and me frantically searching for those notebooking pages I Just Printed Out This Morning!
Yeah. You know how it is.
One of the things I use to try to prevent that is binders. I keep all my planning materials, including the roughly 17 calendars I make up every year, in one binder. That way, when I go looking for the day’s plan, I only have to look for the one binder rather than some vague stack of random papers that I Just Printed Out Last Night. I put this binder together every summer. The great thing about it is that if I have to chuck part of the plan, I can just remove it from the binder and drop it in file 13. One thing I am never without is a plan. I’ve mentioned before that my nature is to be chaotic and disorganized, so I have to have a plan or my littles might graduate dumb as stumps but with the ability to talk global politics with the best of them. Might not be able to add, but, hey, here’s my opinion on Donald Trump.
You feeling me?
As for their school papers… We keep journals, because that’s easier to keep track of than a bunch of notebooking pages. When we do formal notebooking, we put the printed sheets in a 3-pronged folder. Actually, we generally have a binder or 3-pronged folder for each subject, and Any Paper Involved in that subject gets tucked inside all neat and pretty. They each have a bin under their desk chairs to store these folders, so those don’t get lost. Too often.
Okay, Littlest is capable of losing anything he puts his hands on.
The truth is, I love using binders for school. We fill them up with all that great knowledge and when we’ve finished a subject, we put them on a shelf where the littles can refer back to them whenever they need to. We’ve had to move on to our second binder for Asia this year, because we’re studying so much about that continent–its history, geography, art, geology, gardens, music… Yeah, anything I can get my grubby little hands on. The Littles have told me they appreciate this, because it helps them remember where the countries are way better than just memorizing a map. You can’t beat that, right?
My way of staying organized is not with bins and cute little door hangers and neatly stocked shelves. I dream of that, but I live in the real world, where my boys suffer not only from their own nature, but from mine. I stay organized with a plan. A week-by-week calendar, daily plans, craft and project plans, lists of things to do.
All wrapped up in a nice binder.
The rest can be cleaned up later.
To help you with your own brand of organization, here are a couple of free downloads–my daily curriculum planner and my weekly project planner. Enjoy.