One of the things I never considered when I first started thinking about homeschooling was what I was going to do with all of my son’s work. If you’ve had a kid in any kind of school, you know what I mean. There are spelling tests, worksheets, projects, pictures, and seemingly zillions of other kinds of pieces of paper that accumulate, and unlike public school kids, homeschooled kids don’t have a trash can somewhere else where they can get rid of the unimportant stuff (and let’s face it, sometimes the important stuff, too) before they come home. If you don’t have a plan, you’ve quickly got a pile—a huge one.
When we first started “doing” school with my son, we used lapbooks. If you aren’t familiar with lapbooks, you can read about them in depth here, but essentially a lapbook is made of many smaller paper books that have been created after different lessons on a certain topic. (You can see one of my son’s earliest lapbooks here.) Lapbooks are appealing to many kids because they aren’t the same old fill in the blank worksheets everyone tires of so quickly. You also don’t end up with lots of random worksheets. They’re fun to make and interesting to look back through when you’ve moved on to other topics. In the last couple of years, we’ve been completing many lapbook components still, but instead of using file folders to create the lapbook base, we simply put the pieces onto cardstock pages in a three ring binder. This is so much more space efficient and still easy to flip through and enjoy.
Many people enjoy notebooking, especially for older kids. You can read more about notebooking here, in case you’re not familiar with it. Kids have notebook pages that they complete for different topics and they can be organized however makes sense to you. It sounds kind of like putting your worksheets in a binder, but notebooking is really so much more than that. These are pages that require more than just recall from your kids, and there are many pre-made pages already out there on almost every topic imaginable!
Notebooking and lapbooking can be a little more labor intensive than some people prefer, but even if you don’t like those options, make a plan. Use a three ring binder, pocket folders, filing folders, or whatever floats your boat, but don’t just sit them in a stack. In the past I have been pretty good about getting things in my kids’ notebooks, but last spring I went with the pile method and I am still finding lapbooking components I stashed in “safe” places where I wouldn’t forget them. This year my goal is to take some time at the end of each day to make sure the kids have put their work where it needs to be and I’m hoping that will make our year much less stressful!
However you organize all of your stuff, I hope you’re having a great start to your new year!