Before the year is out, my third-grade daughter will complete approximately 288 separate math pages (front and back) plus more than 180 pages for reading. That’s a lot of paper! And there’s more—spelling, handwriting, Bible, science, heritage studies, and English all have worktexts or activity manuals too.
My daughter’s days are filled with papers. Those papers are necessary for deep learning to take place. They give her opportunities to practice what she’s learning, and it gives me the ability to assess her understanding.
Still, the amount of paper can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some ways that help me keep all those worksheets organized.
Before the Year Starts
A few inexpensive products I invested in have helped me deal with all those worksheets. Last year, I purchased heavy-duty two-pocket folders in five different colors—one for each day—to keep my daughter’s daily work in. This year, I upgraded a bit to a cascading vertical filing system for the same purpose. Both products work well and should be flexible enough to use with multiple children. (For example, if you’re homeschooling two or more kids, you can buy several different colors of folders and assign each of your children a color). I also buy a fun patterned or character folder to temporarily store graded papers in.
I am required by state law to keep a portfolio of my child’s work, so I buy an accordion-style file system at the beginning of every homeschool year. I organize it by subject, and it works great.
Before Your Day
When I do my weekly planning, I make note of all of the worksheets that my daughter will need for each day. Each evening, I pull the worksheets for the next day and place them in one of those colored folders. That way, everything she needs for the day is in one place.
After Your Day
Once school is over for the day, my husband/teacher’s aide or I grade all the papers our daughter completed. In our homeschool, not every paper gets a recorded percentage grade, but each worksheet does get feedback (even if it’s just a smiley face at the top of the page). The graded papers then get moved to the fun folder to await our weekly feedback time.
On the Weekend
At the end of the week, we have a weekly feedback time when I give my daughter an opportunity to look over all her graded papers and ask questions. Then sometime during the weekend, I move the papers that got a recorded percentage grade to their assigned spots in the accordion filing system. The other papers go to the recycling bin.
Routine organizational habits like this have saved my sanity on numerous occasions. Do you have a system that helps your homeschool run smoothly? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you’re looking for other organizational ideas, check out my recent post and video about how we set up our homeschool space.