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Organizing Paperwork – What To Keep? – PART 2

This is part 2 of a 2 part series.  Click here to read part 1.

Many parents seemed overwhelmed with all the papers, worksheets, and art projects accumulated throughout the school year.  All this completed school work can quickly become a pile of clutter and an eyesore.  Here are some ways we’ve found to solve this problem.

art #1 Take pictures of the best artwork and art projects.  Display their best art for a month or two at the most, then take a picture of it before recycling it/trashing it.  Please be sure to explain to your child that you’ve taken pictures of their wonderful work BEFORE you dispose of it or they may not be very happy.  (Don’t lie to them, or try to be sneaky about getting rid of their artwork, this isn’t beneficial to anyone and will simply teach them that lying and sneakiness is okay.)

#2 Store each child’s completed paperwork in an expandable file.  You may label the tabs however you wish, but I’ve found that labeling them by the month works well for us.  At the end of each week I gather all of the children’s completed school work and put it under that month’s tab in their expandable files.  Don’t let more than 1 week pass or you may end up with a huge stack of clutter.

expandafile

#3 At the end of each quarter go through each child’s paperwork (it should be neatly filed away already in an expandable file).  Select a few of their best papers from the beginning of the quarter, the middle of the quarter and the end of the quarter.  Try to make sure you have at least one from each subject if possible.  Take these pages and place them in another expandable file labeled with grades or years.

Examples:
1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, etc.
OR
2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and so on.

You will do this at the end of each quarter so by the end of the year you should have less than 1 inch worth of paperwork from each child.  This method also gives you a nice example of how their school work has improved from the start of the year to the end of the year.  You will need an expandable file for each child to make sure you don’t mix up their papers.  I prefer the portfolio style for our children because of it’s portability.

What are your thoughts on organizing your child’s schoolwork?  Do you have any suggestions to make things easier or perhaps just a different way of doing things?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Pictures are welcome too!

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Record Keeping

 

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Organizing Your Plans

photo by ChristArt.com

Probably one of the most difficult tasks as a homeschooling parent is organizing your teaching schedule.  I’ve been keeping track of what I teach our children since our oldest was 3, so only about 4 years now.  It hasn’t always been easy, but I think the biggest two questions for me have been, “What exactly should I keep track of?” and “WHY am I keeping track of this information?”

If you’re new at homeschooling let me start you off by sending you HERE before you read any further.  After you finish reading about Homeschool Planning be sure to come back and finish reading.  🙂

I started off using a simple Excel spreadsheet and typed in what books we read, games we played and any specific things I taught.  Then I changed from that format to listing what we did by subjects.  I find that listing what we do by subject isn’t as easy as it sounds because some things fall into multiple subjects and some things really don’t seem to fit anywhere.  For example, Health & Safety lessons.  I’ve seen these listed with PE, Science & even Social Studies.  For elementary age children I don’t think it really matters.

Anyway, to get back on track… The Excel spreadsheet was nice, but it just didn’t do everything I wanted so last spring I started using Homeschool Skedtrack.  This is a free program that helps you organize everything from attendance, lessons and grades to field trips and hobbies.  Two of my favorite things about this program is it allows you to print out a very nice and official looking report card, plus I can access our children’s records from any computer no matter where I am.  This means that if I’m on vacation or at the in-laws I can still easily log what we’ve done that day.

I have come to the point that I’m tired of logging each and every lesson and activity that we do throughout the day.  It’s time consuming and I don’t really see that I ever go-back and look over everything we did last week or even last quarter.  Now I’m taking a step back and looking at the big picture.  Back to the two questions I asked earlier: “What exactly should I keep track of?” and “WHY am I keeping track of this information?”

Alabama state law only requires attendance.  I obviously want to keep some type of record of what we do each school year, but having a daily list of activities may just be an over-kill.  I really like the idea of having a list of all the field trips we took for the year and a list of the resources I used for each subject.  For these reasons I plan to continue using Homeschook Skedtrack, but I plan to start using a simple checklist that I can check off as we do each subject.

In addition, I’m going to use a 3-ring binder to keep a printed copy of attendance, report cards, field trip reports, planned course of study, resources used, etc.  This is a difficult concept for me because I’m such a computer based person it seems like going in reverse to have more things on paper.  For homeschooling though, I find that it’s nice to have something in my hand that I can quickly refer back to during the day if I need to.  The 3-ring binder also makes it easy to show grandparents or other loved ones what your child has accomplished.

***Update 6/2/13
I’ve modified my record keeping a bit since this post.  Check out the changes along with pictures at “Organizing Paperwork – What to Keep?”

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Record Keeping

 

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