As a large family homeschooling mom, you know I am all about keeping things simple. I already have enough to do without trying to make my life harder with planners I can’t keep up with, organizational systems that require me to be uber hands on, and systems that only work for a little while before they have to be tweaked again. I just don’t have time.
The internet is full of homeschool organizing advice, but for me, most of it is noise. However, there are a few things that have worked for us, continue to work for us, and have kept things super simple around here over the last 14 years of homeschooling. Plus, I want to introduce you to some new things I’m working on!
Cubbies for Each Child
I do not even remember a time when I did not have a place for every child’s homeschool-related materials. This has been the #1 organizing system that has kept me sane over the years! Currently, we use cubbies that stack – they are perfect! We’ve used crates and bookshelves as well, but these have kept things the neatest. I bought mine at a discount store years ago, but I found these on Amazon that are very similar. The open-face makes it easy for kids to throw their books in (neatly, of course 😉 ), and they are big enough to hold lots of stuff!
Crates have all sorts of uses in homeschool organization! They hold hanging folders, extra supplies, Mommy’s teacher manuals, and much more! And I am absolutely smitten by how this homeschool organization eCourse uses crates! Her entire school year by child is in there!
The photo above is from the Modified Workbox System we used when I only had 4 children I was schooling. I’ve been thinking about this more since starting The Ultimate Homeschool Organization Course. She teaches her workbox system, but I could also see her Crate System working for us as a workbox system. It is similar to my Modified Workbox, but better organized, and still simple enough I know I could implement it without a lot of hassle.
Checklists come in many different forms, but the ones that work the best are the ones that actually work! (Profound, huh?) Checklists need to be flexible because most homeschool days need to be flexible. They should not confine you to dates and times. I have had a variety of checklists over the years including a simple sheet of paper with all the things I wanted to get done written on it so I can cross items off as we go. (You can see an example of this type of checklist in THIS VIDEO.)
A type of checklist I used when I had a colicky baby and could get very little planning done was a simple index card checklist.
I put these together every night (or in the morning before the kids got up). It kept the household running and school on track.
I have also used checklists that go lesson by lesson without dates. These are super handy – again, because they do not constrain you to dates that you may or may not be able to meet.
If you’ve been a reader of Raising Arrows very long, you know how much I LOVE my Mom Basket! You can read more about it in this post:
Basically, this is where I keep everything I need to teach school at my fingertips. I use a plastic tub or a basket, but you can use anything that fits your needs. Just be sure to keep it in a place where you can easily access it!
Color-Coded Notebooks or Binders
Color-coding children is a life-saver in a large family homeschool! But, honestly, it is great in any size homeschool! Each of my children has a notebook that is in their color (or close enough) that they keep in their cubby. It has their name on it and can be used for any of their subjects that require them to write things down (my little ones have notebooks too, but they use theirs for drawing in).
You can also use a binder with tabs in each child’s color. These work great for putting checklists in as well.
My admonition to you is to not make homeschool organizing harder than it needs to be. Sometimes there are learning curves to making a new system work, but you will know when something is a good fit for you and your homeschool because it will work!