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Organizational Tools I Couldn’t Homeschool Without

Organizational Tools I Couldn't Live Without - All About Learning Press

Is Your Homeschool Ready?

I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous of those of you who are getting ready for the upcoming school year. My kids are now well beyond their school years, and I miss the “getting organized for the start of school” part of homeschooling.

We homeschooled through high school, and during that time there were several organizational tools that I couldn’t homeschool without. Well, I could, but I’d be crabby and disorganized, and you don’t want to see me crabby and disorganized

Here’s my personal list of must-have organization tools:

1. Stack of 3×5” index cards

A little stack of index cards was the heart of my organization system. Keeping a dozen or so index cards in my back pocket at all times meant that I could immediately capture important thoughts. If my daughter was working on a project, and I noticed that she hesitated on the multiplication fact six times seven, I could quickly jot it down so we could review this fact at the beginning of math class tomorrow. If my son misspelled some words on a 4-H project, I would jot the words down so we could cover those words the next day. If I remembered that we needed eggs while I was in the middle of a science experiment, I could write it down and never miss a beat.

Organizational Tools I Couldn't Homeschool Without - All About Learning Press

Toward the end of the day, I would take a minute to sort the cards. The note about the math fact would be tucked into the teacher’s manual of the math book. The note about the spelling words would be added to my son’s Spelling Review Box (which was actually an index card box back then). A question for my hubby would go next to my place at the dinner table so I would remember to talk to him when he came home.

This simple capture system meant that my mind could be relatively clear as I went throughout the day. I didn’t have to hold on to each thought, trying to remember it for later. I could immediately transfer an idea to a card and free up my mind, trusting that I’d come back to it later. It’s easier for me to trust an index card system that lives in my back pocket than it is for me to trust an electronic system such as a list in Word or a digital to-do list. Index cards are always there for me, I don’t have to interrupt what I’m doing to capture an idea, and I know that I’ll remember the list in my pocket (at least when I change out of my jeans!). And there is satisfaction in physically putting a note in the right spot—a spot where I will be prompted to look at the note at the appropriate time.

2. Chore chart

Organizational Tools I Couldn't Live Without - All About Learning Press

We used the P.E.G.S. system from Family Tools for many years. At the time, it was the best system I knew of (that was before the Internet became mainstream, believe it or not), but now there are lots of great ideas for chore charts online.

Here’s a super cute idea that I wish I had thought of: How simple and motivating is this? The door hanger has chores clipped on the left, and as they are completed, the child moves them to the right. I want one.

3. Voice mail or answering machine

For me, the phone was the biggest source of interruptions while we were schooling, so next on my list is voice mail. Unless I was expecting a call from the doctor, I turned the phone ringer off and let calls go to voice mail during our school hours. Trust me—if it’s important, they’ll call back or leave a message. Educating kids is more important than making sure that everyone can get hold of you at every single moment of the day. Keep your school day on track and let voice mail work for you.

4. Book shelves, book shelves, book shelves.

There’s no question that instilling a love of reading is one of the most important things you can do for your children. And one way that I encouraged reading in our home was to have books … lots of books … available for my children to read. Whether it’s engaging picture books that your child can read on her own or books that you can read aloud together, be sure that your book shelves are filled with a wide variety of books for your family to enjoy.

Organizational Tools I Couldn't Live Without - All About Learning Press

5. Brother label maker

We homeschoolers have a lot of paper to deal with. Lesson plans, kids’ projects, school records, ideas for future projects, and so on. For a while, I felt like I was going to drown in the sea of paper. And then came my Brother label maker. Have you ever had a tool that you liked to use just for the sake of using it? That’s me and my label maker. I like to use it, and so I do. With my labeler, I want to file. I’m not suggesting that everyone needs a label maker, but if you have an issue with paper clutter, figure out what would make you want to get on top of the paper clutter and stay on top of it. For me, it’s my labeler. I have the PT-18R, but there are less expensive Brother models out there, too.

6. List of favorite easy meals

When it comes to meals, I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. Early on, I would come up with detailed menu plans, with a full meal for every day of the week. I’d shop for the ingredients … but when it came time to actually make the meal, I’d often be running short on time because a project took longer than expected, or a good educational opportunity came along, or I was just plain tired. For me, the best way to get dinner on the table is to keep a running list of super-easy meals that everyone in the family enjoys.

7. Crock pot

This is related to #6. I could easily write “Ode to My Crock Pot” and really mean it. Just thinking about my crock pot makes me hungry for chicken tacos. Minimal planning and five or ten minutes in the morning, and dinner is guaranteed. Thank you, Crock Pot. I love you.

Organizational Tools I Couldn't Homeschool Without - All About Learning Press

8. Alarm clock

This is actually first on my list, but I put it at the bottom so I wouldn’t scare you. I like to sleep in as much as the next person, but if I let the kids wake up first, I would start out my day playing catch-up. By the time I showered and got going, the kids would already be started on a project of their own, and I’d be the bad guy reining them in for school work. For me, getting up with the alarm clock keeps my plans from falling apart and keeps the atmosphere positive.

And a bonus idea …

I wish Workbox Systems had been around when I was homeschooling. Workboxes are a way of organizing all your child’s school work for the entire day. I think that workboxes would have worked great for my kids—they could have seen at a glance exactly what they had to do for the day. My kids were the type who wanted to know the bare minimum they had to do before they could get started on their own projects. They would actually ask me for the checklist of items; I think that was so they could make sure that I wasn’t expanding the list during the day.

Sue Patrick, who came up with the Workbox concept, explains that kids “can see how much work there is to do and what it will mean to be finished. They can see the hard work ahead, and they can see the fun things to come. By including difficult work, fun work, projects, centers, and group activities, most children will actually look forward to coming to school in the morning.” A Google search will turn up all kinds of ways that families have adapted this system for their own uses.

What do you do to keep your homeschool organized? Post in the comments below and we’ll add your idea to Readers’ Tips box below.

Organizational Tips Suggested by Our Readers

  • A closet with shelves, bins, binders. Computer, printer and all supplies “live” in there! (Susan F. via Facebook)
  • Google Docs on my phone, Excel and these bins. (Stefani M. via Facebook)
  • Pencil pouches to organize activities with small pieces. (Anna W. via Facebook)
  • Office Depot 13-Pocket File Box (Sarahi D. via Facebook)
  • Sticky tabs, workboxes, teacher binder, teacher box. (Merry M. from AALP)
  • Shelves, plastic page protectors, shelves, 3-ring binders, mini post-it notes, shelves, baskets. Did I mention shelves?! (Shannon M. via Facebook)
  • Crates and hanging folders. And shelves! (Heather S. via Facebook)
  • Erasable friction pens to color code lesson plans and a folder system for schoolwork. (Jolanthe E. via Facebook)
  • A weekly laminated lesson check off form, daily plastic bins for the PK/K kids, and lastly a menu plan! Wendie D. via Facebook)
  • My planner, my printer/copier/fax, my laptop, LOTS of bookshelves, Ticonderoga pencils, and my magnetic dry erase board! (Tanya A. via Facebook)
  • Clear bins from Costco and pencil boxes to keep each kids books and supplies in for the week! (Beth F. via Facebook)
  • Coffee, cheap spiral notebooks, and a library card (Lea Ann G. via Facebook)
  • Evernote! (HomeschoolWithLove.com via Facebook)
  • My pressure cooker…chicken breasts from frozen to perfection in 18 minutes! (Erica via blog comment)
  • A morning checklist (for the kids!) and a large binder portfolio. (Laura via blog comment)
  • Ziplock baggies, sharpie markers, and pencil boxes!! (Diane via blog comment)
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Leave a Comment

Suzanne Filz

says:

Loving the index cards, I have a ton of post its falling all over the place all day :)

Erica

says:

My pressure cooker! Seriously, we cooked garlic wings in 12 minutes tonight. Last night it cooked chicken breasts from frozen to perfection in 18 minutes, and quinoa in 6 minutes. Total life saver when I’ve forgotten to pull something out to thaw, or when the crock pot didn’t get washed the night before.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Erica,
I think you have convinced me to invest in a pressure cooker!

Laura

says:

The two tools that have been invaluable for my 1st grader this year are a morning checklist that he can start on as soon as he’s ready in the morning (some days he’s chomping at the bit to get started so he can move on to his projects) and a large binder that serves as his portfolio. It’s required for homeschooling in our state, and by organizing a binder with tabs at the beginning of the year and dividing up his completed work into each subject, I’ve got a head start on my paperwork. I included tabs for assessments and attendance, and usually have a week’s worth of assignments in math and grammar and social studies tucked into the cover. It wasn’t my original idea, but it’s been a huge help. I think it will be even better when little brother is ready to start kindergarten in the fall, too.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Laura,
These sound like great organization helps. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah

says:

I love the workbox idea! What age/grade does this work for most of you? My kids are 7, 5, & 3 and right now they need instructions with each task/subject so I try to time their subjects and run back and forth!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Workboxes can work with any age student. When my kids were the ages of your children, they easily knew which workbox they could do themselves and which they needed to bring to me. There is a LOT of information, adaptations, and such about workboxes online. I’m sure you can find a method that will work for you without a lot of searching.

Tammie

says:

I work from home. I love the work box idea that way my son knows exactly what need to be Done that day. I can get back to work
Definately going to sit down and plan a our days that way. He will have no surprises.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Tammie,
I used workboxes for years. Instead of shoeboxes or a drawer cart, I used flat bins with lids that stacked but allowed books (like All About Spelling!) to lay flat. It’s a great way to organize your day.

Diane

says:

Ziploc baggies–keeps all sorts of art supplies, manipulatives, flash cards, etc. organized and contained

Sharpie markers–mark notebooks, workbooks, boxes, etc.

Pencil boxes–holds pens, pencils, glue sticks, scissors, etc. so they don’t fall out of the cupboard.

We don’t do workboxes with our large family, but this year I purchased a large box for scrapbook paper and gave one to each child. They hold workbooks and school supplies specific to a child. It is just a matter of getting the box down and putting it up at the end of the day. They are big enough for 12 x 12 paper but short enough to stack. When you can’t close the lid, empty out old papers.

Erin

says:

Index cards! Completely better than the random scraps and receipts falling from my pocket.

Lacey

says:

Thanks for these great tips! We are starting our first year of homeschooling and appreciate advice from those who have gone before.

Nicole

says:

I like the clothespin idea, with a large family I’m also in need of little tips and tools to help things run smoothly.

My son is only 3 1/2, so we’re just starting out. Like you, I prefer to write something down versus using technology (though I love tech, just feel more motivated with pen and paper). I’m starting to introduce a few workboxes this year and I’m printing out a daily do list for me so I can check off my goals as we go along.

Karla

says:

I love all the organization ideas. It is very helpful now that I’m getting ready for the new school year.

Citysister

says:

I love the idea of the door tag with clothes pins…I may just have to steal that one.

Sandi

says:

Being a newbie homeschooler, I love all the suggestions you’ve posted here and can’t wait to get started!

anissa

says:

thanks for sharing!! I ‘ve never seen chores like that such a cute idea!

HillaryM

says:

I LOVE index cards. I use them similar to how you do Marie. I also have some really big ones (5×8 maybe?) that I write memory verses, poems, copywork, etc. on. Being so big, we can keep the week’s memory work displayed and still read it easily. I also adore my crockpot — could live without it, but not happily. ;)

Vickie

says:

I love the chore chart. I need to get me a label maker. :)

alina

says:

love the chore chart!

Shay

says:

i also have an affinity for index cards! Great idea about the list of easy meals too!

angie

says:

i definitely have to do the alarm clock thing… and i am going to try the workbox idea as we start our first year of homeschooling! :)

Laura

says:

I need to use some of these organizational tools in our busy home. My biggest help thus far has been my crockpot. I love being able to start dinner in the morning and then not worry about it for the rest of the day!

Sonja

says:

These are great ideas for a beginning homeschool mom like myself. Since my oldest is only a preschooler, the biggest organizational tool is an alarm clock. The clothespin chore chart is such a great idea!

Katherine

says:

Thanks for all of the organizational ideas. My mind is racing now! I am new to AAR/AAS and excited to implement some of these suggestions.

Amy D

says:

Hi! Well, this is our first year of homeschooling (pre-k) and I decided to implement a modified Workbox System and so far we are BOTH loving it!

Clarissa

says:

What a cute idea for a chore chart!

Kim

says:

I need my calendar to keep me on track!

Cristina

says:

Great ideas!
Need to set the alarm!
Thanks!!!

Judy

says:

I love these cool ideas. I have four children and I am always in need of better organization to make things run a little more smoothly. Thanks for passing these along.

Sarah

says:

I loved the idea of the workbox system, but my kids are little (my oldest is 5) and my husband didn’t like the idea of spending a lot of money for something that would take up a lot of space and not *need* all that space. So, instead, I made something sort of like a workbox for myself. I use two file folder crates, the kind you get at office supply stores. I have a bunch of file folders in them, and in each file folder is a subject. I start at one end of the crate and work my way to the other, one folder at a time. It keeps us on target with what we’ll be doing that day. On shorter days, I do the first few folders in one of the crates and skip the last ones, which are less essential. It has the basic idea of workboxes, where everything you need is available and all together and ordered, so you know what to do next. But it takes up less space and cost less to setup. When the kids are older and independent in more subjects, though, I might consider trying workboxes then. :)

Merry

says:

You can actually find a fair amount of people who do workboxes in just this fashion, there are lots of pictures and blogs online of how people have adapted the system. The compact nature of the file crates does appeal to me! I have a friend who does that, and one of her sons takes his whole crate to his room to work! I use a file box for my Teacher Box, and keep all of my IG’s in it: http://www.hopeforhomeschool.blogspot.com/2012/08/teacher-box.html I used to try to keep them on a shelf, but so many fall over and it just wasn’t convenient as my kids got older and more work needed correcting. Have fun!

Karen M.

says:

All this information is absolutely wonderful and I’m taking it all in! this will be my 2nd year homeschooling, so I’m still trying to figure it all out. I do love my label maker also! And I couldn’t live without it! I am also a big supporter of turning off phones during school time. I feel like nothing should interfer with that. We’re in the process of converting a portion of our basement into our school room.

One item that I could not live without is our family calendar. Every family member has a space on it and I keep track of everything that the family has going on there. It stays on the fridge and I check it every night before I go to bed and first thing in the morning. I have also had to train myself to stand right by it when I am making appts. so I write it down right away :) It has been a lifesaver for our family.

Shelly

says:

It’s tax-free weekend in Texas right now. So when my oldest DD & I went shopping this morning, I happened to remember seeing the door hanger chore charts and picked up the supplies. All four kids made theirs today, and I put your blog as the source on my Facebook page. They loved making them, as that’s the most creativity we’ve had all summer!
I’m going to try the 3×5 card idea in my pocket–that’s right up my alley. And, I had already bought four new bookcases for my school room last week. The rest of your ideas I love and use at least weekly. It was a great post; thanks for sharing!!

Janis

says:

Will be coming back here often as I start my first year of homeschooling….Aghhhhh! :)

Christy Marez

says:

I love my label maker and the plastic file crates to store all the school printouts and such. I also can’t live without binders and sheet protectors life savers.

Risa

says:

Looking forward to trying the workbox system this year. Love the clothespin chore list idea too!

EMILY

says:

Love your website!

Bethany

says:

I LOVE the door hanger chore chart!! What a great idea!!

Sarah k

says:

I love your index card idea. I did something similar with a piece of paper folded up to use for the whole week, but I haven’t done it in a while because I would forget to put it in my pocket and take it withme.
I amalsogoing to checkout the work box system.

Ernie Treu

says:

great organization ideas! thanks so much!

Pam Martin

says:

I like using HomeschoolTracker.com. It takes some work upfront but then all my records are on the computer for me to use. Still learning all the different things that it has.

susan

says:

having our own school room, with wall to wall shelves helps me stay organized.

Kathy Lapan

says:

Most of these tools we use, or something similar to, but I love the cards in the back pocket idea. I tend to make notes on my cell phone…and that’s exactly where they stay. Using the cards that you can then just place where it needs to be addressed is an excellent tip!

I also struggle with the phone. I can sit all day with nary an interruption, but let school start and every person I know is either calling or texting (esp my parents, who will immediately call if I dont answer their texts!) Standing firm on the no interruptions will be hard but I saw the impact on my kids last year…everytime I was distracted, THEY were distracted!

Thanks for some great ideas! Good luck and namaste this upcoming s hooligan year!

Kathy Lapan

says:

* school year lol autocowrecked! Though sometimes they ARE hooligans!

Amy Dale

says:

I had to look up the Worbox idea again after reading it here. Very intriguing!

Terri

says:

Love the index card idea! That’s genius!

Susannah Krug

says:

I love chore charts!

Renatta Welsh

says:

I can’t homeschool without a schedule (my kids thrive on knowing what’s expected of them) and a BIG stack of sharpened pencils! :)

Stacy thompson

says:

Yeah, I need to work on that alarm clock thing! but working night shoft gets my whole schedule out of whack! And yes the internet with its time consuming problems has been a huge help on ideas!

Renee'

says:

I cant wait to start AAS level 5 with my daughter, this program has helped alot!

Michelle

says:

I think I will try the clothespin idea. I am always looking for ways to make the day go smoother. Thank you for sharing ideas!

Patty

says:

I love the chore chart- I am going to try to make one up! Thanks for the ideas!

Karen

says:

I love the chore pegs! My son is often wanting something he can “tick off” so it will be perfect for him. Thanks!

Chris

says:

Such a cute idea! Thank you.

Amber

says:

I love the charts and workboxes! Those would be right up my son’s alley. Especially the charts. :P

Terri-Anne

says:

Great ideas! We’ve been on this journey 8/9 yrs. now, and its so good to get new ideas & refresh on others – thanks for the help & encouragement.

Lori

says:

Love all the great ideas! I am looking forward to trying some this year!

Canaan Herkamp

says:

Great post!!!! I love binders…lots of binders…I use them for everything.

Sandi W

says:

That’s a really good idea about the index cards in the back pocket! I don’t have a post about homeschool organization, but maybe someday if I ever get organized! :)

donna

says:

Love that chore list idea!

sofia

says:

That chore chart picture is so cute!

I love the 3×5 card idea! That is one of my huge problems…millions of things to remember swirling around in my brain. These might be the trick!

Zendie

says:

I love the door hanger chore chart, workbox system, & book organizer.

Gabriela

says:

I need to use that crock pot more.

Lara Borden

says:

Thanks for the 3×5 card tip, I might have to try that.

Melissa

says:

I love note cards too! We were having a problem with chores not getting ALL the way done… and since my boys are old enough to read I wrote out every single chore that I could think of from cleaning bedrooms to mowing the lawn on one side of each card and on the back I wrote out the steps for completing the chore. So the card that says ‘Clean Bedroom’ (there is enough for each child) has the steps – make bed, pick up toys, put dirty clothes in hamper, sweep (or vacuum) floor, dust dresser and book shelf. Each of my children have a magnet clip with ‘their color’ (we have 3 boys so they each have a color, one is red, one blue, one green). I clip the chores I want them to do on the fridge each night and in the morning after breakfast they know what to do and how to do it – if they forget they can flip the cards over! it took a while to set this all up, but since we have, I haven’t had to remind any of them what I expect, it just gets done!

Tiffany

says:

The 2 additional things that help me homeschool my 4 kids and not lose my sanity are:
1) Freezer cooking – Whenever I cook a meal, I make it in huge quantities and freeze 2 or 3 meals at the same time. It’s similar to the once a month cooking concept, but I really don’t have a whole day to cook. I just take what I’m already doing and make it last longer. For example, I don’t just make one lasagna, I make 3 – cook one, freeze two. I always bake or boil 2 whole chickens at a time, and pull them apart for shredded chicken in a variety of recipes. It takes only a little longer to make 3 meals than 1, but it saves me so much time on another evening.
2) I prepare a weekly agenda sheet with checkboxes by day and subject for my children younger than 6th grade. For those older than sixth grade, I just give them their entire assignment list by subject for the week and let them organize their work load by day. It helps everyone (including me) to know exactly what is expected.

RK

says:

I truly appreciate the variety of hints and helps regarding not only reading and spelling, but all the other tasks which make homeschooling easier. Thanks!

Lisa Fetty

says:

I love the idea of the hanging chore chart! I want to make one now, but with pictures, as my little ones are just learning to read :)

Rachel

says:

I would really like to learn more about this program : )

Merry

says:

Hi Rachel,

All About Spelling is a A complete, comprehensive spelling program that has:

•Seven levels
•No gaps
•Multisensory lessons using sight, sound, and touch
•Continual review
•Teaches one concept at a time
•Mastery-based
•Orton-Gillingham methods combined with the latest research

You can read a full curriculum overview here: http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/all-about-spelling Let me know if you have any quesitons, I’d be glad to help!

Katie

says:

Thanks for sharing!

Gina

says:

I love seeing all the organizational ideas. This year I’m attempting to use a weekly form that I plan to put inside a frame or something else clear so they can reuse it with dry erase markers, and to do all of my planning on the computer; I love paper, but after cleaning out 3 or 4 years’ worth this summer, my goal is to use as little paper as possible.

Michelle

says:

This year I am doing a detailed schedule for myself and each child per Managers of their homes. Thank you for the great ideas here!

Angela

says:

Love your ideas. My boys are older now , but we still use a chore chart I created. As well, I work with a lot of home school families and will share these ideas as I complete assessments. It is nice to have fresh ideas to share or implement.

Carol

says:

Love all these ideas! Love the homeschool families helping each other to succeed. God Bless you all. Thanks Marie!

Debbie

says:

Thanks for all the ideas! Not organized savvy. All help appreciated.

Valerie

says:

The alarm clock is also the key to my day. It can unlock the day in a positive way. I love the chore chart idea too, so adorable. I just happen to have a ton of clothespins sitting around… :)

Jody

says:

I also love my crock pot – there is something very satisfying about having dinner organized and cooking before the day really starts. That chore chart is an excellent idea!

Sherri

says:

Thanks for the tips. I need all the help I can get. My boys like the workbox system. They can gauge how much work is left.

Liz

says:

I am about to embark on my first year of homeschooling. I was homeschooled for a number of years but now I’m the teacher! My son is so excited and so am I. Kindergarten! I’ll take any advice given. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips!

Marci

says:

The alarm clock is a good one. I need to get up before my girls.

Kathleen

says:

Thanks for the great ideas. I have not heard of the workbox system, but plan to try it out this year. I know my daughter will love it.

April Eckerman

says:

The one thing I could never homeschool without is PRAYER!

I have bins to just hold all my kids stuff (everything in one place) and a backpack. We do a lot of on-the-road learning while some are at classes and we need to be able to pick it up and go. I’ve learned that a mark-n-wipe board/marker can do a lot and can be seen from the front of the car more easily than a notebook. I also use a shoe organizer on the back of our door to keep all of our games, hand-held learning items, calendar titles, etc. in a place I can reach and grab them quickly.

MY All About Spelling items are on 3 cookie sheets where we stack them when not in use. Easy to move around and sit on the couch.

Shannon

says:

I think my favorite part of homeschooling is the organizing part! Hee,hee! Thanks for the fun ideas!

Heather

says:

I love the workbox system. It keeps me accountable and motivated to stay on top of the kids’ assignment schedule. It helps the kids know exactly what’s expected of them for the day.

Liz

says:

I’m gonna try this this yr! Getting prep!!!

Cryss

says:

… I kid you not, I have been going back and forth for… at least weeks now, trying to find the PERFECT simple yet cute and motivating chore chart for my son. Then realized 2 days ago I wanted another one for bedtime routines, because he is all over the places at bedtime. After so long of pulling my hair out, I come here for boom… clothes pin chore charts! My son is obsessed with clothes pins anyway and I will consider that my first birthday gift of the day. No more stress over that, hurray!

This is our first year homeschooling where I’m being VERY paperwork prone. (1st grade) I’ve never heard of the workbox system, but that might be something I look into. My son asks me so many times a day, what it is we’re doing or how much more we have to do. I think if he had some sort of visual he wouldn’t feel so shocked by it, and he’d feel more in control of the whole process. Plus it sounds like it’ll even help me stay more organized. I’ll definitely have to look into that more.

I have to second/third someone’s idea of the timer. I use that a lot in our house, more so to keep me on track and make sure our breaks don’t go over. I’m very bad about sitting down to research something for our 10-15 minute breaks and “waking up” an hour later and it’s all downhill from there. Which also brings me to the alarm…. I have thought so long and hard about getting an alarm. I love sleeping until my son wakes up… but I know in my heart I would be so much more productive and be genuinely happier if I was more on top of things, and the alarm would provide a good start for that. I think this year is the year for me to get on board with an alarm clock wake up.

Thank you very much for this blog post!

Mike W Davis

says:

Great idea with the clothes pins as the things to do– we are going to give it a try

Pei

says:

Love your index card idea! This way I don’t have walk back to my desk and be distracted by dirty dishes, internet and forgot what I was suppose to do. Thank you!

Christina

says:

My son likes to know what is expected of him each day, and I feel it is for that same reasons. After looking at several home-school planners I designed one that is unique to our curriculum and weekly needs. He loves it and is able to see exactly what is expected each day!

Paige

says:

I totally agree about the alarm clock. I’m such a night owl and get my best sleep between 6 and 9 a.m. *blush* I’ve made great strides in that department due to the Hello Mornings challenge from Inspired to Action though.

Getting up, then actually following through with my to do list has kept me organized the most. I have a few tools to help accomplish that but it takes the follow through to make them successful LOL. I used to use PEGS myself.

Ginger

says:

I will adapt my handwritten reminder from scrap paper to index cards!

Allison

says:

I always love starting a new school year and getting all our things organized. I love your ideas, especially the one about the note cards. Thank you for sharing what you have learned for those of us who have not home schooled as long.

Anna J.

says:

I bought about 600 index cards for $2.00 at various stores for this school year and plan on using them for word flashcards and other subjects. We too have lots of bookshelves (from IKEA), but still too many books for fit on them! I need to get better about using my crock pot too (since I love a yummy dinner but never have time to cook one!), and don’t even get me started about trying to wake up before the kids!:) Thanks for the blog post.

Susan

says:

Love all the tips and plan to utilize some in my homeschool this year. Thanks!

nicole

says:

I think this was great help. I liked the 3×5 cards for everything. I have also learned that the crock pot is my best friend..

These are a lot of really great ideas. I really like the clothespin chore chart. And the index cards as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

DaNeil

says:

What good ideas! I’m never disappointed with your posts.

kim

says:

I love bookshelves, bins, binders, anything organizational! I need to get better with the crockpot this year!

Terry Y

says:

I love that clothespin idea!! What a great way to handle chores!

Cin

says:

I really like the chore chart thingy and will try it out with my child. Thanks for the idea!

Patricia

says:

I take about 3 weeks in the summer to plan for my whole school year so I don’t have to worry about what we will cover in a particular week. Sometimes we get ahead in one subject and behind in another, but it is o.k. we take one day at a time and there is no stress since I know what needs to be covered next.

Karey Hideg

says:

Like the clothespin idea…

Airica

says:

The crock pot idea is what I need to do…can you recommend a good cookbook?

Tabatha

says:

I will be trying the door hanger chore card. Thanks!

I LOVE that cute little chore system with clothes pins!!! Brilliant!!!

Thank you for all of your ideas! I enjoyed this post!

Karen

says:

I need to be organize
I like the door hanger idea.

Stephanie

says:

I can’t wait to get through all of these wonderful links.

Dawn Smith

says:

You tips are great. I love the chore door hanger!

Rebecca N

says:

Mine would have to be a tie between the Workbox System and our crockpot. Both lifesavers!

Sarah Cook

says:

I try to always keep like items together. I keep materials located in or close to the spot they are used. And I always put things back after using them that way stuff doesn’t pile up.

Kiesha Nowlin

says:

I love the door hangers with clothespins. We also use chore charts.

Andrea

says:

I love the chore chart door hanger. I’m going to have to make one of those for my 5 year old dd.

My iPad and iPhone with iCloud are a huge help in keeping me organized. I love that I can enter something in my calendar on one devise and it is automatically synced on every other calendar. I also recently purchased the My Well Planned Day Digital Planner and am liking how it combines all aspects of school, and family life planning in one place. I’m just getting started on it, but I’m excited about the organizational possibilities.

I couldn’t get through the year without quick meals. Once the homeschool day is done, I’m not up for making something that takes a long time, so I am thankful for quick meals.

Debbie

says:

I like to use a timer all though out the day…taking 15 mins. for one job…. 30 mins. for another… when I hear the timer it helps me to remember to move on to another chore/job/etc. This way I don’t get tied up on making phone calls or helping just one child or some task….that at the end of the day I know I got a lot done rather then nothing… (the way I feel when I don’t use the timer).

briana

says:

That chore chart is super cute!

Teresa

says:

I like to use a calendar in a big bold way to mark things done and coming.

Kristina

says:

I can’t wait to try your products and ideas! Look forward to the next newsletter

Janet

says:

Love the organization tips I saw here. I am planning on implementing a few immediately. I love the work boxes, and I was just saying to my husband that a “shoe holder” would be great for craft supplies.

Jenessa

says:

I love my clear plastic “shoe holder”. It’s on the wall holding craft supplies–scissors, glue, stapler, etc… Easy to see everything, easy to put away, and it’s all in one place. My kids even organized our crayons and colored pencils into colors–each color in a different pocket. I ordered mine online, but have since learned that you can get them at the dollar store.

Allison

says:

I really like the chore chart. This one might actually work for us! Thanks for the ideas.

Shondra

says:

You are so right about the alarm clock! If I set it for 5:30am I feel more prepared for the day. I do school with my oldest son from 6:00 to 7:30am when he is bright and fresh before the little ones are awake.

Michele

says:

I live by my calendar. Most important tool to organize, I think.

Jackie F.

says:

Thanks for the great ideas! It’s always nice to peek into someone else’s homeschool- keeps me encouraged and on-track!

Christina Stamey

says:

Love the clothespin idea! Super cute! Thanks for sharing your ideas and wisdom.

Oh my gosh that chore chart is such an amazing idea! I’m totally making those for my boys!!!

Tina

says:

Love the ideas here. I also love All About Spelling. My kids are really learning alot since we started the program.

Melody

says:

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the clothespin chore chart…am stealing that idea for sure!

Leslie Dixon

says:

Great ideas! I LOVE my workboxes, which I just incorporated this year! Makes life SO easy when I can tell one child to work on workbox #3 while I am working with another on something else! LOVE them!!

Andrea Jones

says:

My favorite clutter control items are baskets of all kinds to keep books in. I have some for just library books, some for our geography/history books, and a picnic basket which should hold silverware and plates keeps our pencils, pens, highlighters, glue, and scissors neat and accessible. With five children homeschooling, we keep books, notebooks, and folders organized in magazine holders. Each child gets a certain color of notebook etc… so we know what belongs to whom.

Lorena

says:

Thank you, Marie. We love your materials, and I really enjoyed this post. It had some good reminders and great ideas for me!

Joy

says:

I am trying the workbox system this year & I am so excited! I think it will really help keep my younger ones on task & know when their school day is finished. I love the idea of the notecards too. I am always trying to keep track of my thoughts during the day & that is a great way to keep it all together. I am always looking for ways to stay organized. It is an area where I struggle & new ideas are so helpful. Thank you!

Lori TenHaken

says:

You have a great list! Thanks for all of the tips. I love to be organized…And love to help others get organized as well.
To keep our books and library books organized and separate in our home we have books baskets for library and book shelves (raingutter shelves) for our own books. Not to mention many wooden book shelves. We also use the “Workbox” system and LOVE IT! We have been using it since it first came out. For our weekly work I have a file system where I store each weeks work. As we get to that week I pull out that file and grab what we will use for the day and place it in their workboxes. It has also worked wonderful.
Blessings,

Iris

says:

The emails from Marie help keep me on track. Because I don’t get spammed with too many, they are actually useful. I am looking forward to implementing a few more of these ideas also, as we dabbled with homeschooling this summer and just started our first “official” week. Thank you. Thank you.

Krystle

says:

The index cards are a fantastic idea. I am always thinking of things, just to forget them later ;)

I love your list! This is our second week trying to get back into a routine and we are struggling. Maybe we should try the Workbox System again. Thanks for the giveaway!

Lesleigh

says:

I couldn’t live with out my dry erase board mini boards(size of note cards)- we use them for spelling words, vocab, games etc:)

Caroline

says:

Always love having ideas for organization! A big need for me! Keep them coming! Thanks!

Joesette

says:

We’ve always used a printable chore chart…but I LOVE the P.E.G.S. idea, I think it would be much easier than trying to remember to mark the piece of paper each time.

Thanks for the great idea!

Rachel

says:

For organization I use a large plastic filing container with hanging files. Each folder contains a subject with work to be completed and any books we are currently using (small, lighter books).

Shauna

says:

Quart and Gallon Ziplock baggies are a must have in our house. They are wonderful for holding art supplies, crayons, markers, even groups of worksheets, or stuff for science projects. They are cheap, and we can label them. So we can keep track of each kids stuff.

Angela

says:

This is my first year of “real” homeschooling. By that, I mean that this is the first time that I am using a schedule and lesson plans. She’s only five and we’ve been learning as the opportunities present themselves. I am organizationally challenged. The tips listed are very helpful especially the alarm clock. It’s been years since I have used one but I will take your advice and get one. I am always playing catch-up and I need to take more control.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights with us. I have a 20 year old in addition to my five and 2 year old children. I looked into homeschooling her as well; however, the community did not appear to be as large as it is now. I look forward to getting to know more about other moms and their strategies for successfully teaching their children. I need all the help and support I can get and I hope to be able to return the favor one day.

AdenaF

says:

I love the door hanger but instead of using it for chores, I am going to use it as a checklist for school subjects.

Joy

says:

I love all of these ideas. This is my first year to homeschool. I started yesterday with 2 subjects and the last 2 days have not gone as planned. There are already papers scattered that I haven’t graded. CRAZY! I hope to use some of these ideas to get more organized as we get further into the year. Thanks!!

Definitely need to look into work boxes!

Raven

says:

Organization is my biggest struggle. I look forward to trying your idea with 3×5 cards! Thanks.

Jasmine

says:

Great ideas!

Julie

says:

Our favorite organizational tool is the workbox!

Shari Sweeney

says:

Love the clothespin idea! I am working on getting organized right now.

Brandi

says:

I am using workboxes (or a variation of them) and LOVE it!

Janee Campbell

says:

For chores I use – I did my Chores/Hassle Free Chore System. It’s adaptable for any age and any chore list. I still use it with my teenager because she is too busy trying to do all the things she wants to do that she forgets the things she’s supposed to do. I also have an 8-10 week dinner menu plan. While I don’t stick to it strictly, it ensures that I have the ingredients around that I need for the meals I have planned. Then I can move them around as needed. I wish I could get better at using the crock pot though. On the rare occasion I use it I love the time it saves me in the kitchen.

Samantha

says:

Trying desperately to get us organized for the new year. The older my kids get, the more homeschool stuff there is to wrangle and I think this year it might get the best of me! Thanks for the inspiration. I’m really contemplating those workboxes too. I know there are times when I put off an activity because I just don’t have everything out handy to begin.

Susan

says:

I LOVE the 3×5 index card in the back pocket system!!! I hadn’t thought about that, but it will definitely be something I start doing.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my label maker, too!!!! I started out using it for my craft & sewing room, then it spread into my pantry, now I’m happy to use it for our school stuff. :O)

We just started school yesterday, and this will be the first year that I use a type of workbox system. I got the idea from http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com, and so far I’m enjoying it. The kids are much calmer than they were last year, and they seem to be enjoying it as well.

Rhonda

says:

Wonderful organizational ideas! I usually start off well with the menu plan idea, but fade off. Thanks for the reminder!!

Nikki

says:

Some fabulous ideas here! Can’t wait to get more organized!

Emily

says:

I love the little chore chart with clips! That is great! For me, one great tool has been the multi pocket folders (8 pocket Oxfords, or something like that). I can have all the work for my daughter for the week, in each subject pulled out ahead of time. then, if she is on a roll on a certain topic, there is more there, and then she can see what is left.

Kim

says:

Thank you so much for sharing all of your tips. I’m not organized by nature so I need all the help I can get. :) Love the chore chart and have been wanting a label maker. I also love the crock pot!

April Schack

says:

thanks for the tips! I definitely couldn’t live without the chore chart or our magnetic dry erase board.

Britny

says:

We have a big marker board (5×5) that I fill out the night before the has all of our tasks and agenda for the next day. It has the date, our weekly bible portions and subjects or projects. It is very visual for the kids, has room for them to add things if they want, and if it doesn’t get done, it stays on for the next day!

Shelly

says:

Thanks Marie,
I really liked the notecard idea. Im excited to try that out, as I usually take notes on my iphone…but don’t like that my kids are always seeing me on that phone!:) Thank you for all the great ideas. One thing I especially find is to do it at night…whatever it is needing to be done. Don’t think oh I’ll get to that really quick in the morning, because in the morning you never feel like it, are mad you didn’t do it, and there is always something else needing to be done.
Thanks again for always offering giveaways too!!

AshleyJ

says:

Wow! I feel so behind as a new, young homeschooling mom. Organization is very important, but with five kids under six years of age, I often find myself just glad to survive each day. This year, we’ll have two in school, though, so I know it will be extra important to be organized. So far, my alarm clock and planning calendar have been my true resources for a good start. I have to be up first to lead my family, and as the leader (of the home, not the family) I have to know where we are going each day.

Merry

says:

Don’t worry, Ashley, you don’t have to be organized all at once. I’ve implemented one or two new things each year as I’ve homeschooled. Your children mostly need a loving, caring mom, and they obviously have that! Merry :-)

Melany Rivera

says:

I love the index card idea!!! I am going to do that!!!. I am about to buy two more book shelves and plan to label, label! I write in a composition notebook a plan of what to do with my children each day-that helps me a lot.

Jennifer S

says:

To let us know what we have to get done each day, we use a checklist for every day, on a white board hung on the wall. This white board is also my teaching space, for working example problems or demonstrating punctuation or anything else that comes up, and one corner serves as “Mom’s notes” – same idea as your index cards. It’s right there in the dining nook in the kitchen, where we do most of our school, and in plain sight, so I can put thoughts up there and not worry about forgetting to come back to it.

Joy

says:

Thanks for all the great tips & tools!

Julie

says:

What a great article. I loved your ideas! I’m actually printing this one out.

H cat

says:

Love the tips! The clothespins chore chart is a great idea and I always forget about my crockpot!

andrea

says:

love the PEGS system! :) a very easy and and inexpensive way to keep organized and take the responsibility off of you – mom! no more “don’t forget to….”. in the past i’ve used the ‘accountable kids’ system, http://www.accountablekids.com/, which is really great! but this is certainly a great do-it-yourself option!!! thanks! :)

Jenika Johnson

says:

My Scotch Laminator! It helps me use great ideas I find with online printables, and allows us to reuse them again and again. It is cheap and I LOVE IT!

Dawn Shaver

says:

I love the door hanger idea!

Michelle Watkins

says:

I love the clothespins for chores- I might use that idea for subjects to be done for the day!

Susan

says:

#4 for sure! We’re up to 15 of them.

Amanda

says:

That clothespin idea is cute and clever. Probably the one I need to implement most is the alarm clock!

Hope T.

says:

I use a shower/cleaning supply caddy to hold dry erase markers, eraser, red pen, flash cards, extra pencils and counting aids. When we have instruction time I know everything I need is in that one container and we grab and go. When school is over it gets put away in one trip.

Deb

says:

We’re revamping our chore system right now, and I think a variation on that door hanger chart just might be perfect for us!

Belle B

says:

I think I will try the workbox system with my 10-yr-old.

Sonya

says:

What a cute idea for the chore chart – I think I’m going to implement that idea this week!

Kristi

says:

I am just finishing up paralegal studies and have had very little time to plan. This is very inspiring to me as I have felt pretty burned out after the past couple of years. I especially like the 3X 5 card idea. I am constantly forgetting things, and what I was doing…what I want to remember to do with the children. This in itself will help me out tremendously. I think I’m going to make one of those cute job charts for my youngest, too. Very cute idea. Thanks for sharing! :)

Jeniele

says:

I love this idea, so cute!

Angela

says:

I love workboxes! I use post it notes in much the same way you use index cards, so post its are my #1 thing :)

HEATHER BRANDT

says:

thanks for sharing the cute idea for doorknob chore list!

Erica

says:

Super excited to begin my first year of homeschooling with my 4 and 2 year and 7mo old children! Looking forward to the challenges, but also the tremendous blessing!

Jamie

says:

We use the Accountable Kids chart for chores/daily routine for the kids. I LOVE it! I also print out an assignment sheet for each child for the whole week. My children check off the assignments as they complete them. This has helped them see what needs to be done for the day before they have free time. They are also able to get started if I am not ready when they are. My older son gets up very early and some days has a few assignments completed before the rest of us join him for school.

Tara S.

says:

Love all your ideas! Have a crock pot meal going right now. We just bought a large whiteboard to jot down all those notes that pop up during the day (similar to your 3×5 cards). Works much better for me than my Google calendar and notes.

Rebecca

says:

We love index cards and the cute clothespin chore chart is easy and my children would love it!!

Shawne

says:

Love the chore chart with the clothespins. I need to go make that one NOW!

Alicia Bland

says:

Great tips! I think I am also going to give my girls some so if they think of something they want to talk about off topic or something they want to do later, they can jot it down and come back to it later. Thanks!

Angie

says:

The timing of this newsletter and article couldn’t have been more perfect! Currently, I’m knee deep into getting things organized before we begin next month. I especially like the note card idea!

Christy

says:

I love the idea about the index cards!!! I always have a list going of things to do, but to be able to just file the card into a spot would be awesome!

Ginger

says:

Thank you for these tips! Seems like for a first time homeschooler, I’m fairly more organized than I thought. Several of these I’m using already. Love the chore chart idea. I think that will work great from my little man.

Cindy

says:

Thank you for your awesome ideas on organization!! I plan to put them to good use soon!!

Ruby

says:

Many of your must-haves are mine, too:
The crock-pot
Simple meals (prepped as much as possible beforehand)
Bookshelves
A place for notes (my reminders app!)
The alarm clock :(
My favorite pens & pencils (I’m picky!)
A plan!
Books..loads of books

Amanda

says:

We use dry erase boards and update them as needed :-) I really like the clothes pin chore chart idea!!

Lindsie

says:

A label maker has been very helpful in my homeschooling and organization. The ability to use dry erase marker on laminated sheets and reuse a worksheet over and over and to be able to get more use out of flash cards and things has been a huge help for our family!

Angel

says:

I have really enjoyed my day reading through all the organization tips, I posted on my facebook that I was going to do the index card idea as soon as I was out of my pj’s:) thanks for the info

Jessica

says:

I am going out later and getting the items to make the door hanger chore chart!!! Thanks for the great idea!

Jenny Kurtz

says:

My customized homeschool planner is my favorite organizing tool for homeschooling! I am still the old fashioned pen & paper planning kind of girl! We will be implementing a workbox style system this year using a milk crate & hanging file folders to seperate each subject for each child. I love the chore chart ideas mentioned in the post! Both of them look like they would be great for my youngsters! Thanks for all the organizing tips, they are all great & I will put them to good use!

HeatherH

says:

Great ideas, even for veteran moms!

Kristen S

says:

These are great ideas! I’m not sure how work boxes would work for my kindergartner but I think as she does more independent work, tht would be great! I love book shelves!! Also a photocopier and folders help me organize!

Merry

says:

There are lots of ways to use work boxes for kindergarteners–you could put puzzles, lacing beads, play dough, manipulatives–all those fun things that you want to get to but don’t always can be included in their routine for the day or week, plus it gives them something independent to do that is still educational.

Carlen

says:

I was using clothespins for letters and numbers for my 2 yr old, but never thought of using them for other creative tasks like this (for my older son), thank you!

Monica

says:

always looking for ideas, these are great!

Brandy

says:

The best organizational tool I have for homeschool is my one page lesson plan sheet that had all three kids on it. If it’s longer than one page then I get so frustrated trying to keep up with it all. My best organizational tool for home life is my meal planner. Having a meal plan makes the days go by more smoothly than anything else I can.

Merry

says:

Brandy, I am this way too! I don’t like having to flip between a lot of pages during the day when I’m working with my kids, so I’ve always set everything up on one page.

Brandy

says:

Hey Merry! I just reread my comment after reading your reply to me and was embarrassed at all the typos. I am glad you were able to weed through the errors and figure out what I was saying. Thanks!

Merry

says:

I won’t count your errors if you won’t count mine! Sometimes the fingers and the brain work at different speeds. I never hold that against someone! If I’m really tired, the homophone errors come out in my writing, then I see them the next day…ai-yi-yi!

Ingrid

says:

I’m a new mom starting this journey and I am very excited to learn more about homeschooling. Thanks for the great ideas, for sure it will help me with my journey.

Tracy H

says:

I’ll have to go look at the workboxes. They sound great.
Did you know you could freeze meals in one of the round ice cream tubs, then pop it into the cockpot? I also love the cockpot.

Julia

says:

You inspired me to make chicken tacos for dinner :)
We started our homeschool lessons for the new year today and having quick, go-to meals will make things so much less crazy.

Roxy

says:

Love the chore chart . . . just getting myself organized today – I crossed off the whole day to start that exciting process!

Amie

says:

These are great tips! I really like the chore chart!

Stefanie

says:

Homeschool Tracker. I love it!

Heather

says:

I really love the clothespin chore chart idea!!! I may have to revamp my little ones chores that way to make them easier to understand. I may also try a little bit of a workbox system with the 2nd grader & kindergartner. It may ease their minds to be able to “see” what they will be responsible for during the day. My 5th grader is really excited about having his own planner this year, hopefully I can keep him focused on using it & I can give up some of the “control” over his work! I love to use the crockpot & freezer meals (once a month cooking) to ease my dinner time frustrations. Looking forward to a new year & new solutions to some of the issues we haven’t quite solved yet! Thanks for the ideas, Everyone!

Shauna Hingston

says:

Great ideas thanks for so many helpful tips!

Carrie

says:

I use LOTS of page protectors to stay organized!!

Betsey

says:

I always need more bookcases, I just might build some this year.

Becky Tolf

says:

I love the clothespin idea. I may have to do that as I am trying to figure out a new chore chart system. I am still fairly new to homeschooling so I just keep reading and trying to figure out what will work for our family.

Marlana

says:

What a great list of tips! The crockpot and freezer meals are a lifesaver for us, especially on days when have lots of errands to run or just don’t feel like cooking a big meal. The little clothespin chart is on my list for later this week:) And one of the Most important tips listed, especially in this generation of technology, is to remind ourselves that our children/education/home are so much more important than making ourselves available for every phone call that might come through!! Thanks so much. Btw, we have AAS level one on its way and just can’t wait:)

Laura

says:

Some great ideas!

Meghan Hunt

says:

I like the chore chart and laundry clip idea! I keep thinking of doing work boxes but haven’t wanted to invest in the money for the rolling carts!

Cassandra Knipp

says:

LOVE the clothespin idea for chores!! I have seen magnet and chart systems but this frees up valuable refrigerator space!! :)

Heather

says:

I made a personalized planner this year. I am loving it!

Debbie N

says:

I like those ideas! I do have an alarm clock, but I have it set to radio (classical music), and it doesn’t work out very well! I also do use the Workbox System (my #1 organizational tool), and my favorite “chore chart” system is Accountable Kids. Bookshelves…YES! I also like cardboard magazine holders to organize our books. One more thing–I use a pocket chart to organize papers they’ll need for the week.

Wendy

says:

Great ideas to get me motivated for the coming year. Can’t wait to try a few out!

Trisha

says:

I am really looking forward to using some new organizational tools this year in our homeschool!

Denise

says:

I love the door hanger with chores! It makes it so easy to keep track!

Pamela

says:

love the chore chart with clothespins! Great visual for our little ones!

Alisha

says:

Great info and advice. Thank you for all your help!

Elisabeth

says:

I need all the help I can get. Thanks for sharing.

Sandra

says:

This year will be my second year homeschooling. Thank you for all tips and help! This post give a lot of inspiration.

Amy Nix

says:

I am just getting started home schooling this is great for me.

Cheryl Baranski

says:

The chore chart with the clothes pin above is so cute.
I need to try that with my boys.
Cheryl B

Suzanne

says:

I am constantly reminding my boys the morning routine so I find the doorknob hanger/ clip idea very helpful

Dawn Clemons

says:

Love the idea of the alarm çlock. Thank you for all the great ideas!

Dorothy

says:

I love the clothespin idea. I think this will really work!!

Stephanie Garcia

says:

I have been trying to figure out a quick capture system, the 3 x 5’s would be perfect!!

Alissa L

says:

Love the crock pot idea….makes the daily tasks a little lighter!

Tyffany Clements

says:

I have children ages 2, 4 and 5. The workbox system has been such a blessing for us. I have learned to spread their materials out within the boxes so that I can easily work with each one on specific materials, if I’m still busy helping another child, the help stickers have been awesome! Not only have these helped with scheduling purposes, but it makes planning and setting things out for the day much easier and more organized!

Cara

says:

Thanks for the great tips!! I have to be more organized this year due to an increased work load. These will help tremendously!!

Jennifer

says:

Awesome!! Thanks for the tips…love the door hanger chart! BEEutiful!

Frances

says:

Just love this post! I am a veteran homeschooling mama but this has renewed me for this year! THank you! and God bless! Wish I had known about the clothes pins chore list – how simple is that! LOL! I struggled over the yrs with so many other ways. My older 5 especially the boys loved to have a list of daily work. It makes so much sense to know what is expected and be able to check off/move through it and know you are done. I, too, use timers – essential!!!

Gina H.

says:

After my last baby was born the new school year was looming ahead and looked very daunting. What scared me the most? Trying to get dinner on the table in the evening. With the new baby I was always tired at that time of day. So, I tried Once-A-Month cooking! It has worked so well I’m still doing it TEN YEARS later! It takes one busy day a month to make meal prep for the rest of the month easy. Look the book up at the library. I started out with their recipes to get the hang of it and then I adapted our favorites.

Shannon C

says:

I love the chore system. I am going back to workboxes this year. We didn’t have such a smooth year last year and I think part of it was that we had stopped using the workboxes. As I look back, the times we used it were our most productive-the kids really need that visual rather than me just handing them the next assignment!

Sheryl Cyr

says:

I like using a chore chart and menu plan helps on days I don’t have enough coffee ;)

Linn

says:

I’m printing off crockpot recipes now!

Vanessa

says:

We love the workbox system…it’s perfect for all ages of kiddos…keeps us all on track!

Lisa

says:

I’m loving any idea that helps me to be organized! My current life-saver here are clear storage boxes labelled by subjects. We do not have shelving, and these boxes are a great way to store any curriculum not used daily. It’s wonderful to be able “see” what’s in the boxes when I need a specific resource:)

Emily

says:

Thanks for the tips! Im about to start my first year of homeschooling so I can use all the help I can get my hands on!

d

says:

This is our first yr homeschooling and I am generally not an organized person. So my only “tip” is that I’m being proactive and getting my whole house organized to make life less stressful and easier before we even start the school year!

Frances

says:

d, I hope your first yr goes well. Hang in there through out it. :) the idea to get your house organized before hand is a great one! Good for you! :) Homeschooling is stressful being prepared to organize all the books, resources, and papers is good. To know ahead that there will be hard or bad days and that there will be stress helps too – have a plan on what to do at those times. Maybe it is couch time where Mama reads outloud. Or maybe everyone needs hugtime! VBG! Or maybe everyone out! to stretch legs. Whatever it takes for you you and your family. Try different things and just keep at it. Blessings!!

Jennifer V.

says:

I have used an over the door show organizer in my bathroom for medicines and toiletry items but never thought to use it for homeschool school supplies…so glad i did! Its so easy to find the things i need now, before they were all crammed in a box.

Cyn

says:

Never saw something like the clothespin idea – how neat! Might be worth implementing at our house.

DebiJessen

says:

I love the clothespin idea! But since my kids are older they now follow the fly lady like mom. I love my control journal it keeps the schooldays more on task and keeps the house from falling apart! Meals are planned house runs smooth and hubby is happy!

Marci

says:

I love the idea of workboxes and chore charts.

Joanna

says:

Thanks for the ideas! I also love my kitchen timers, and yes, with 7 kids, I have several of them.

Jen

says:

I love that “to do” list fo the kids. I’m going to go make some right now!

Christina S.

says:

These tips will come in handy as we are already starting our schoolyear and I can see how much my lack of organization is slowing us down. Thanks! We recently started a similar chore chart with the clothespins and it is working quite well with my 5 and 8 yr old.

DeeDee

says:

I also have a “get ready for school” chart idea. I’m taking pictures of a neatly made bed, a neatly dressed child, a child combing her hair, etc… to make photo charts of things to do before breakfast each morning.

Tina

says:

Thanks for all the great ideas.

I need to remember to turn off the phone. Thank you for the reminder.

audrey

says:

I might make a chore chart like that for my 3 yr old. She uses a picture based one hanging on her wall right now, but this looks cute. I will also need to try the index card idea. I think that would help a lot during my day

Jenn

says:

Love your blog!

Kerri

says:

Thank you for all the great ideas. It is always wonderful to share and help each other through this journey of homeschooling together. BTW…I esp. like your chore chart on the door knob hanger. Awesome! Thanks again…

Brandy

says:

I use lots of check list for all area of the home. Thanks for some new ideas!

Angie

says:

I couldn’t live without a simple kitchen timer! Really helps “motivate” my kids!

JenRay

says:

I’m just starting out, so I don’t know if mine work yet! Right now, I am working on compliling a master list of all the library books, science materials, art supplies etc that we will need by week. I thought it would be easier than referencing each and every teacher’s manual each week to figure out what I need. Then I can gather everything weekly from my list, and be set to go. Also making any needed copies.

Catherine

says:

I’m negotiating for some closet space with my husband in his home-office. I’m only homeschooling my two oldest right now but already I find myself overwhelmed with all the books and papers that need a home. I like the workbox system link. Thanks!

Ashlee

says:

I love all the ideas you have!! My oldest is still preschool so we don’t have to be overly prepped but love the index card idea.

Brigitt

says:

I spent the summer with my pinterest menu trying out new crock pot meals on my family to get prepared for meals for our busy school year. I also found freezer tacos, where I make idividually wrapped taco for the freezer. They’re a big hit for lunch or an “I’m hungry”. I make about 40 every Sunday.

sarah

says:

Can u post your recipe for that? What a great idea!

Stacy

says:

I really like this list. I have used a checklist but I’m planning on morphing it with a modified workbox system for my older boys this year.

Jamie S.

says:

I bought a chocolate brown workbox set of drawers and put them in our kitchen. They look cute with our decorum and provide homeschool organization for those need “everyday” items. We also bought a small computer cabinet to hold the kids computer and again more storage underneath. Since I don’t have a separate space, it’s the best option we have. Love these ideas here though!

Marcia

says:

I love this chore chart. I have been ill for sometime and I am learning new ways to better organize and make life simple. As I am getting better so is my family. Thank you for the tips! They are much needed in my home.

Beth Hall

says:

I have laminated chore cards with the different chores for each day. It is hard to stay organized, though. I find that my kitchen table gets buried very quickly and we don’t have space in our homeschool area for book shelves – but I keep a wood basket for homeschool materials to go back in when we’re done with school in our coat closet and that helps to unbury my table.

Carrie

says:

A schedule! It helps certain children know what to expect, when to expect. They like the security in that :).

Keri

says:

Love the chore chart system!

Cindy

says:

I couldn’t make it without my label maker! My son just said he wants to do your clothespin idea for his daily chores. Nice one!

Tina

says:

I love these tips!!!

Sabrina

says:

I love index cards- they are so versatile.
I think I’m going to use that neat ‘chore chart’ idea. Very cool!

Amber

says:

Lots of great ideas–thank you!

LOVE the Chore chart idea! I might have to implement that. Our Velcro chart on the fridge just isn’t working for us and I love the tactile part with the clips! We used work boxes last year and love them, we will be using them again this year as well. I couldn’t do it without a great lesson planner though, its my brain!

Tammy

says:

That is a cute clothespin idea. And I’m going to do the index cards, that would work for me. What do you do with your pen to write your notes, keep it in your pocket too?

Angela

says:

I agree with the alarm clock thing, but that is my biggest downfall. It seems as if the night I go to bed with the most determination is the night that the baby or babies need nighttime parenting the most. They will grow out of it and I just keep trying. I don’t have to reset my alarm clock every night, which helps it to go off every morning.

pam

says:

I love these ideas! We’re always looking for ways to stream line our experience… thank you for the tips : )

Jaime B

says:

I finally implemented a written/pictured morning and evening routine. It really helps with the transition from breakfast to starting our school day and then from dinner to starting our getting ready for bed evening routine. I should have done it sooner! Something about having it visual really makes a difference. My second favorite organizational tool at this point is a small black rolling file cart. It has the file drawer on the bottom, a drawer over that, and then a flat surface where I’ve lined up the teaching manuals and math manipulatives I need at a particular time. We don’t have a designated school area in our small apartment and things are a little spread out as storage/shelf space is available so this is a great way for me to have on-hand the things that I need for each particular day without having to interrupt a lesson to go hunt for it.

DJ Cooper

says:

Cute, I hope to try this idea!

I love the door hanger! So cute.

Wendy

says:

I love the door hanger chore chart!
I can expand on it to include those independent subjects that the kids do, so I’ll know when to check them.

R

says:

Love the door hanger chore chart!

Babs Harrell

says:

I love your PEGS system! I will have to do that!! :)

Aimee

says:

Some great ideas! I love the clothespin idea :)

Stephanie Radtke

says:

I *love* the chore chart picture with clothespins!!! I have 5 kids and think this would be a fantastic idea to implement in our home!
Voicemail, label maker, and crockpot are also high on my list of needs.
But my #1 priority is a posted schedule – sticking to a daily schedule has been a must for our home!

Caryn

says:

We used to use a chart taped to the wall with her chores. I wrote the names of the chores and she drew a picture to help her remember the words. (Working on that…) I really like the clothespin idea though!

Delphine

says:

I really like the cute chart for the chores, that would work really well with my younger boys, I will use pictures for my 4 year old because he can’t read yet.
It’s almost time to start school and I will definitely have to get a little organized before we start. One thing I do for meals is cook huge batches of popular meals (i.e. spaghetti sauce, taco meat, stew, chicken-veggie soup, BBQ Beef, seasoned ground beef, etc.) and then I freeze them. I freeze or can a lot of vegetables during the summer so we can have something different everyday. The only thing I have to do is to remember to take the containers out a couple of days before I need them so they will be thawed. We live on a ranch so my husband is home for lunch and lunch is our big meal, this way I can prepare a large meal without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Brooke

says:

I love the workbox system! It is my favorite homeschool organization tool. Thanks for the great ideas and tips.

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