Organization for the modern homeschooling family is so important for mental and emotional harmony in the home and for the family. Each family's approach to organization will look different from the next family's approach and that is what I love. Like homeschooling, how we organize papers, a child's work, and their progress is all dependent on the style of homeschooling, state requirements, and flow of each family.
I make a great priority of having order in our home/homeschooling so we can maintain that order and get back to life.
Here's my easy and simple approach to maintaining that order so we can do what matters most with our time.
Organizing your child's "work":
Since our particular family doesn't follow a set curriculum, organization of "work" in our house is pretty simple. As we work, create, and write throughout the week, some things go in the recycling bin, other things--that both the child or I decide about--go into "the basket". The basket is within reach in the art room for everyone. They know that the things they make/write that are really important to them go there.
In "the basket" we put our favorite:
- Art to be saved
- Written stories
- Worksheets a child worked on diligently
- Written books (in a Bare Book)
- Photocopies of special letters written and sent
At the end of the year, I know exactly where to find important papers to choose from to then photocopy and put together a child's portfolio for our school board.
(If you have multiple children, remember to label important papers so you don't have to guess at the end of the year.)
Organizing your child's projects + personal materials/aids:
I think it is important that each child feels they have their own space that their own personal belongings won't get lost in the group materials and clutter of a day. Each homeschooling child has their own "cubby" (a square basket) that fits perfectly into our cubby shelf in our art room. With each cubby labeled with their name (which they made and decorated) they know exactly where to put their cardboard house they are in the process of making but have to put away for ballet. They know where their special stickers are that they got for their birthday for when they are wanting to add them to a letter. And their alphabet totes for practicing spelling and postcard sets.
The personal cubbies are an exciting, personal place for each child. Incomplete projects, completed and treasured 3D projects (notice: things that didn't go into "the basket"), and personal creative + educational items fit inside their cubby basket.
Organizing activity schedules + important papers:
I like to get the impersonal important papers off the counters and away from the children's spaces that inspire creativity by putting them on the wall.
The Family Wall
We have what we call "The Family Wall" in our dining room which is a living, changing space for upcoming ballet posters, art, the family calendar, birthday invitations, reminder flyers, and so on. We get to see the items on the family wall since we eat in the dining room so frequently.
Sparkly Clipboard on the Kids Organizational Wall
In the kids' art room is the organizational wall. Each child has a clipboard to keep coupons, incentive program flyers, Saturday morning jobs sheets, and important papers specific to each of them. There also is a white notepad for leaving notes to each other, making lists, and for spontaneous planning meetings (for note taking) with me.
It's a great way to see papers that need signing or important deadlines per child.
Something that could not be done 20 years ago is the incredible possibility to organize everything electronically.
Our family's day, week, month, and year's plans are all organized in my calendar on my iPad. I love saving time by repeating weekly activities on my calendar like "library" and "one on one time" or scheduling "journal time" bi-monthly or simply adding notes to a specific "project time" at the table where we might be writing to pen pals.
The sky is the limit when it comes to organizing your homeschooling life electronically. I love Evernote. One of my notebooks in Evernote is called Unschooling: Child Led Learning. Within that notebook I have separate pages (or notes) for:
- Each child: here I keep record of their personal goals, plans, things I want to work on with them, etc.
- Subjects we are currently interested in (I can refer to this list at the library for getting books via my phone if needs be)
- Adventures we want to take (I can refer to this as I'm plugging in our plans for an upcoming week)
- *Reading logs (for help remembering at the end of the year and compiling in a child's portfolio)
- Specific details for a homeschooling project/activity in-the-planning (like our family-planned Egyptian Festival and Medieval Dinner)
- Fall homeschooling ideas for 2014 (a place I can add ideas and begin working into our schedule)
All of the potential piles of lists, ideas, plans, and scheduling clutter never has a place to begin when I organize the core part of our homeschooling electronically. I can share things with my husband (schedules and plans) and even print out plans, calendars, and charts to hang on our Family Wall.
And that sums up the basis for our family's organization. Try implementing a few things that appeal to you and see if it creates a greater atmosphere of calm and order in your home. Include the kids in the process and help teach them the incredible concept of maintenance. Everyone, surely, will be happy in the end.
What is your greatest tip to share for organization in your homeschooling family?
the sleepy time gal