Organize Your Homeschool: How to Keep Those Records Straight
I love to be organized! Who doesn’t? or may I say, who wouldn’t?! Oftentimes when it comes to home educating our children we seem to take one of the two approaches. First, we take the approach of “recognized organized curriculum, schedule on the dot, finish every paper in the workbooks, my-kids-have-to-be-the-best-in-everything Mom”, or we take the second approach of “here’s the papers, do the work, hope you learn something because I forgot to prepare for today, and I really don’t know what I’m doing or how to get it all together”. Do you fit in either of these categories? I’m sure you do because guess what? WE ALL DO! Yes, those above statements sum up homeschooling at its best and worst. I’m not going to tackle the broad subject of homeschooling, but I am going to hopefully help you with a very important, and often overlooked, aspect of homeschooling. You may say “ what is that?”. Good, glad you asked! 🙂 I’ll tell you, it is the organization of the very core of your homeschool, your records.
Now, in this particular category of records I am including the organization of your attendance records, grades, lesson plans, state forms, testing materials, projects, tests, etc. I’ve been homeschooling now for seven years and the system I use now has been a work in progress, but I believe it’s now in a very functioning and easy to keep up with state. When I first began homeschooling my first child, I did NOT have a clue as to how to go about it. I was raised in a family that homeschooled, but being the student and being the teacher are two TOTALLY different things! I also had a very creative Mother who was very artistic and made state of the art projects of out of toilet paper rolls and newspaper, so creatively organizing her school was not that hard for her, and no, she did NOT have the internet back then…oh well, that dates me doesn’t it? J Well, I’m NOT that creative as I can imagine that most of you reading this are not like that either. 🙂 I needed something simple and effective that would help me effectively organize my most important aspects of my school without bogging me down.
So, what did I do first?
Glad you asked! 🙂
Drumroll…….I went to the internet.
That’s it? You say? Yes, I admit it. I went to the internet. I typed “homeschool organization” into the search bar and this wonderful and beautiful little site called www.DonnaYoung.org popped up! WHALA! This was just the thing I needed! Listed on this gem of a site is everything that any homeschooling Mom would ever need to get her records straight! I was thrilled! I eagerly began searching through all the different options to find printables (and they are ALL FREE btw!) for planner guides, how to plan, attendance records, grades, extra curriculum supplements, you name it! So, I printed and I printed and I printed and I had all these print outs laid out all over my table! Yay! Oh, what do I do with them now? I had all these wonderful papers and yet, I still didn’t know what to do! So, guess what I did? You guessed it!
I went back to the Internet.
I went to these three sites.
I began to read on what all my state required of me as a homeschooling parent. Then, once again, I began to print and print and print…I now had mounds of papers on my table! What was I supposed to do with all of this? So, I sat down and I began to think of my homeschool as a regular functioning private school. I didn’t look at it through the eyes of “how can I keep the ‘homeschool’ look out of my cute little house” but began to see my house as the residence of a real classroom. I went back to my private school that I attended during my high school years and remembered how I saw my teachers area laid out. Desk (don’t have room for one so the table will have to suffice), grade book, attendance book, and the most important thing, a large filing cabinet. I began to remember helping teachers grade papers and file documents during Study Hall hours that I didn’t have anything to do in. I remembered the many tabbed folders and the organized system in which those were laid out in. BINGO!
A filing cabinet is a must have for EVERY homeschooling family.
It is the key to being organized with every other aspect of your homeschooling! See, as homeschooling Moms we are not just the teacher. We are also the secretary, the principle, the records office, the physical education and home education instructors, and the library. The key to being balanced at all of those responsibilities is the filing cabinet! Who would have ever thought that one of those would be so crucial to your mental well being and effective homeschooling? 🙂
In part 2 of this series, I’ll share how I effectively organized all of those papers into my filing cabinet as well as my personal 3-ring binder system.
Do you have a great system for organizing your own homeschool? I’d love to hear about it!