Homeschooling can get expensive. It seems a little redundant that I will have to buy all the workbooks again for J-jo in a few years. Photocopying can be almost as expensive as buying another workbook, not to mention it may be a violation of copyright. You can often buy books as PDFs that you can print out, but again, how much money does printing it yourself really save? So what do I do? The following are tricks I have learned in the past year, mostly by reading through The Well Trained Mind forums.
I don’t bother hole-punching the sheets right away. I hole punch after Bear finishes the page and then place in a binder or pronged folder for J-jo. Most of the pages (current ones for Bear) have been sorted out into 36 folders (one for each week of our school year).
This file folder system isn’t quite working for us, but we’re sticking with it until we finish because I don’t feel like going through and pulling everything out of the folders. Sometimes you just have to try a method to know if it works for you.
When there is a page for Bear to write on, like a Logic worksheet, or a Singapore Workbook page when she needs extra review, I slip the sheet into a page protector and Bear uses a dry erase marker to complete the work.
For Singapore math, Bear only uses the textbook, unless she needs more practice and then I pull out the workbook. She doesn’t write in the textbook, although she did at first and I have a few pages I will have to erase for J-jo.
I soon realized that the text was so small (see number 6 in the text in the photo below) and didn’t leave her room to write. I write out all the questions for her in a spiral book (I write them all out on Sunday evening. It doesn’t take me long, though perhaps there is a better solution. It would take Bear too long to write them all out and math is already her slowest subject as she likes to mull over the numbers:)
For Rightstart math, which we don’t use as much anyway, I photocopy the student pages with my printer, or we do it together and she just tells me the answers. RS level B has hardly any worksheets.
I also photocopy the maps for Story of the World. And for First Language Lessons, I shared how I mark the copywork sentences with the kids’ initials so that half of them will be there for J-jo when he is doing first grade work years from now!
We tried workboxes and it didn’t work. We tried the Ikea Trofast system boxes in the Expedit shelves and we tried magazine holders as well. The magazine holders worked better because Bear likes to see what is coming up. We tried the drawers in her desk once we moved into the new schoolroom,
but, like the Ikea boxes, those didn’t work. (The drawers just hold all the books we might use for a subject, as opposed to keeping them on a bookshelf. ) What works best for us is a worklist. This is similar to a Montessori work contract. I have a weekly one in a spiral notebook and I put daily goals for her on the whiteboard. She gets to erase as she completes the work. The spiral is more for me.
The whiteboard list might say:
Science – read book
I don’t schedule reading anymore because that is all she ever does in her free time:)
I don’t put page numbers or lesson numbers because there are bookmarks in her books that tell her where to start…
…and where to stop.
I keep her worksheets – she has one Miquon sheet per day, WWE once a week, three logic worksheets per week, and the Story of the World lapbook and map once a week – in colored files on the big desk.
Spelling and First Language Lessons and Singapore Math get done in a notebook. In the evening, before I go to bed, I pull the next day’s folder out and any books she may need and pile them on one of the purple chairs beside her table. There’s not much there because I hadn’t actually set it up for the next day when I took the photo.
Everything she needs is there and if I am working with J-jo, she won’t need to interrupt me; she can just move on to the next thing. She sees the pile getting smaller and the list on the board getting shorter and she appreciates that.
It is an ever-evolving system and I am always open to learning more tips and tricks to organization for homeschooling. I’d love if you left me your best tip in a comment:)