One item that we can all accumulate quickly when homeschooling is paper! Paper for planning, paper for worksheets, paper for projects, and the list goes on. With lots of paper, comes the need for storage and organization. I love to showcase my childrens projects and then I also want to keep them for years to come. However, I can’t keep it all without our house being overrun with storage containers! Here are few homeschool organization techniques that I use to organize and reduce the paper clutter in my life!
Books vs E-Books
I am still using physical books for curriculum as I really like to be able to have the entire resource in front of us. E-books are definitely becoming more popular and there are times when they can be very beneficial. As my children get older, I can see us trying to use more e-books but as it is right now, we are still using books the majority of the time.
Reducing paper clutter all starts with having a great scanner. Currently, I am using my printer’s scanner. My printer allows me to scan up to legal sized paper which is usually sufficient but my hope is to upgrade soon to a SnapScan document scanner such as the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap Document Scanner.
At the end of each day, I scan and file all the worksheets and projects for the day. If we get busy and I don’t get it all scanned, I store the items to be scanned under my printer ready for the next day.
Once scanned, I name the document accordingly and file it in my computer in the appropriate folder. My folders are arranged using the child’s name, year and then subject.
Next, you must have a good backup in place. I use Dropbox and you can easily upgrade to a paid package for a small monthly fee if you require more storage than what is offered with the free account.
Display and Storage
Once scanned, some items will be displayed in our fridge or on a bulletin board. We also choose a few special and larger projects throughout the year to keep. These items are put in a clear plastic cover and then into a binder that corresponds with each child and the larger projects are stored in a storage container. My goal is to only have one storage container per child for their elementary years. The other items are then be disposed of.
Becky Higgins has developed an amazingly quick method to scrapbooking called Project Life. I scrapbook about our daily life but I also make pages to showcase the boys’ artwork and schoolwork. These pages are printed at the end of the year and put into our yearly photo book. Each child gets a copy of our yearly album. Click here to find out more about Project Life.
My To Do Lists
I use Todoist for my to do lists in order to avoid numerous sticky notes and paper clutter around the house. For example, if I need to plan a unit study ready for October, it would be filed under Homeschool with a notification set to remind me one week prior to the beginning of October. You can also schedule the reoccurrence of items. Click here to read more about how I use the Todoist app and desktop version.
Our Daily Family Schedule
I use Cozi to record our family appointments. Cozi is a great online family calendar organizer as you can set appointments for each person, a group or the whole family. It can also send email reminders to each person. It syncs between the desktop and app so that we can all have access anywhere. I input our extra curricular activities and appointments into this calendar to keep us on time and organized.
I use the Day One Journal app to record what we do each day. I use tags to associate between children, school and ranch and any other items that I want to be able to search quickly. You can add photos to each entry and it can record the time, location and weather details. I love putting pictures of the boys’ artwork in it, and then I can quickly go back over the year to see how they have progressed. It is a wonderful way to keep track of your daily homeschool activities as you can quickly enter posts throughout the day and can search your posts at any time.
Homeschool Tracker is an efficient program for lesson planning and scheduling. Lesson plans can be planned and saved for the next child while also allowing you the flexibility to adjust each lesson plan into the current schedule. There is no reason to have to reinvent the wheel for the next child as you can update as you go. It provides a great record of our homeschool lessons, including page numbers, supplies and links to be used. We will be referring to this on a daily basis starting in September!
Reducing paper clutter is one step that I have taken to limit the amount of paper that I must sort through on a daily basis. I would love to hear if and how you reduce the paper clutter in your homeschool!