I’m a naturally organized person and frankly really enjoy it. But organizing homeschool papers and crafts has been my nemesis. The paperwork and crafts and scraps of paper generated by one highly-creative child has been overwhelming at times.
As she’s gotten older, it’s gotten better. She doesn’t create as much and she’s willing to pitch things now. When she was in max production mode and minimal-to-zero disposal mode, it was seriously unreal. I admit I just let it pile up because I didn’t know where to start.
I finally figured out what would work, oh, last year when Caroline was finishing third grade. (I told you this was my nemesis!) I’m hoping to save you the angst I suffered in not knowing what to do with all the stuff. This is what I do.
It’s really simple. It’s flexible. It’s quick. It uses minimal supplies.
Organizing with Three Ring Binders
I use large (3 inch) three-ring binders with D rings with acid free top-loading sheet protectors. It makes it easy to keep lots of little stuff which you will understand if you have a creative child who is constantly making “things” out of paper and other craft materials.
I looked at a lot of different ideas, including filing. I like the idea of filing in crates or file cabinets, but decided this way is better for a few reasons. One, everything is more contained. Two, it makes it easier for the child to look through her previous work without making a mess. Three, I like seeing the binders all lined up in a row in the bookcases in the learning room. (I know. I’m a dork.)
One of the reasons that I tend to keep pretty much every piece of learning-related paper we do generate is because so much of our learning doesn’t include paper. Because we are relaxed or unschooler-ish in our approach, I want to have some physical evidence that learning is going on. The laws are minimal in our state (Michigan), but I still want proof that we’re doing things. It makes me feel better.
I’ve created a PDF with step-by-step instructions of how I do this. You can download a copy at the end of this post.
Homeschool Binder Contents
Here are some sample contents from her Kindergarten binder.
Greeting cards from the year
Math pages and math workbooks that fit in a sleeve
A primary journal in a sleeve (We loved these journals!)
Piles and piles of drawings… Can anyone guess who that is in the drawing? (hint)
Lots and lots of creative this and that in lots and lots of acid free sleeves…
The best part is I can now keep up with it during the school year. I don’t file every day, but regularly so I keep on top of it. I don’t ever want to get behind like I was when I finally came up with a plan that worked.
If I need to trim the binders down in the future, it’s easy to go through, sort and pitch again.
If you would like to try this method, feel free to download and print one of the PDFs below. The PDF is available in four designs that coordinate with my printable planners. Choose whichever one makes you happy!
This is part of my 10 Days of Homeschool Encouragement series.