Tag Archive: Education



In the last post, I posted an idea or two about filing solutions that could help our children keep track of their schoolwork. But what about filing solutions that help parents keep track of their children’s work as it is brought home (or turned in, if you are a home educator).

When my children were much younger and attending public school, it seemed like my life was inundated with their paperwork, art projects, and permission slips. Does that sound familiar? 🙂  I thought, perhaps, when we decided to bring them home in order to home educate them that it would be different, that somehow, that pile of paperwork would disappear, or at the very least, lessen. After eight years, it hasn’t. Granted, there are no longer macaroni art pieces to be hung, but as I write this, my younger daughter (who is 14), has taken it upon herself to create “slime”. You’ve got it…SLIME! A budding kitchen chemist…Now, I ask YOU…How am I to file THAT piece of artwork?! As the ideas I am about to share with you, just will not do the job. So, seriously, if you have any ideas, let me know!

Okay, the way I managed our children’s files when they were younger, was that each was assigned a particular color. Three sets of colored files lined our file boxes, representing each of our children. Each child had a file for art work, finished schoolwork, permission slips and the last held notes from the teachers and friends, as well as their grade cards.

At the end of each week, we would go over the first two files and each of the kiddos would pick out two school assignments and two pieces of artwork they would like to keep. My husband and I would also choose two items from each that we would like to keep (if our preferences differed from our children’s) and these, too, would be lain aside. We would also place report cards, friends notes, or encouraging or comical notes from the teacher in the protective sleeves.

The rest are disposed of. I know this sounds harsh, heartbreaking, horrible and all the other synonyms that mete out this idea, but think about it. I have four children. The younger three, at this point, were still in elementary and middle school. If I had kept each and every piece of paper they brought home throughout their educational careers, my entire home would now be filled with boxes! What an overwhelming thought! It is hard to enjoy that which overwhelms, right? So, we chose the best of the best.

With the choices made, we slipped them into protective sleeves and placed them in binders where they would be stored.  At the end of the school year, we typically had 1-2 binders for each child. For those macaroni art pieces, take photographs of them, print them and then place in the protective sleeve. I completely understand the desire to keep them. I have kept some “one of a kinds” that just needed to be kept as the original. For those, I framed them and they still line our upstairs hallway. However, think about this. Each time these pieces of artwork are taken out and viewed, the risk of damage is increased and then, we can’t completely enjoy it, whenever we would like, either. With a filed photograph, you can!

This is how I have chosen to deal with the schoolwork, even now that I home educate.

As a side note, I know many mothers who scrapbook their children’s work at given times during the month. I think it is a fabulous idea if you have the ability to work that into your schedule. I think it would be a beautiful tribute to the work of our children. I, too, would like to do that, but for the time being, I have not had time to do that, so I have stuck with the binder system. Hopefully, when I am no longer a full-time student and instructor, I will get around to it.

I look forward to that day!

In the meantime, I will share some fun find links…

Here is a post from Megan and Jake at “The Nerd Nest”, where there are photos posted that perfectly represent the system I use. Their link is http://thenerdnest.com/2011/11/elizas-school-work-scrapbook.html

The scrapbook idea offered toward the end can be seen here by Beth from the blog site, “It Is What It Is”.

While Erin, at the Sunny Side up Blog, has some great pics of a similar file box system that I use. I like her colors better than my own though. I have mahogany boxes and while they work, they are just not as fun! By the way, she has some great scrapbooking ideas, as well, for those of you who would like that next step. 

Happy Organizing, ladies (and gents…should you choose to join us! 🙂 )

We will see you next post!

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Every year, inevitably, both parent and child arrive at a place where paper becomes their arch nemesis. That is, if they do not have a good system in place.

Sometimes, people think because I am a home educator and an organizer that things ALWAYS go off smoothly and I NEVER have to make adjustments, maintain or catch up. None of these can be the farthest from the truth. Organization is work, it is work to maintain it and life does not always ‘play nicely’.

And, being an organizer does not make me immune! But I am armed with a tenacity to find a solution, so I tend to tackle problems with an attitude that a solution will, indeed, be found.

To this end, I have a younger son, who, a few years ago, we found was fighting an epic battle with school related paperwork. Prior to the new school year beginning, we had set up a binder system  where he could place his assignment planner, his work in progress and notes, etc.

He had all the tools that he would need to complete his assignments…So, we thought.

As I am his instructor, I began to notice that on a frequent basis, his assignments were not all being completed.

Almost simultaneously, it occurred to me that each time he came to our schoolroom to attend class, his binder was almost empty, while his pile of paperwork was toted down the stairs poking out of books, stacked precariously atop of his pile of books or simply MIA.

I decided to take a few days to observe. Day after day, the same scenario occurred. Finally, on the third day, I asked him a question that changed his educational career and saved my sanity!!

Now brace yourselves, this question is momentous!!!! Are you ready for it?

I asked, “Son, why do you not use the binder system we put into place?”

With a frustrated sigh, he replied “Because it makes me really, really mad!”

I was shocked. How could a binder system make anyone ‘really, really mad’?

I asked him to tell me why this particular system provoked him to such disgust.

He began to tell me how much it frustrated him to have the paper holes tear and for the pages to be hanging askew, lacking tidiness. Now, folks, I’ll admit this astounded me, because he toted this papers down in ways that would make me crazy. Nonetheless, he had shared what he thought about it and I took it to heart and began to think about solutions.

So, I asked him about using the ring reinforcers. He did not like that idea either, because it “made everything look, I don’t know, off…”

Ahhhhhh. I got it. I really did.

Because the system produced less than stellar aesthetics and functionality, in his mind, it provoked him to anger, which made him not want to use it. He didn’t want to turn in torn work or work that looked less than what he thought it should look like.

I can TOTALLY relate to this. When I use something, I want it

1) to work and 2) I want it to be as aesthetically pleasing as is possible. If it isn’t, I don’t want to use it and, apparently, neither did he!

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. This child is a BOYYYYYY. He doesn’t do frills. He is interested in things that are functional and do not create a disaster. Something that works. For him, the binder system just did not work.

So, what were we to do? Well, I decided to go try an accordion file.

I zipped down to Target and purchased an eight pocket file, zipped back home and he began to label the tabs with the names of his courses. Place a legal pad in one file, along with his zipper pen holder, and then, place his planner which he uses to keep track of assignments and events in the front.

I cannot tell you what this small change made in our lives. He began to not only be able to track his homework assignments, he came to class prepared, less stressed, turning assignments in on time and receiving good grades. It was amazing. Now, the young man will not be found without it, when he is pursuing something academically!

This just reiterated to me how much having a tool that does not work affects us. And this is true in any organizational feat. The tool may work fine for others, but it may not be a good fit for us.

My daughters, for example, work just fine with a binder system. In fact, they prefer it. He simply cannot abide it, so it does not work. And it showed in everything  he was trying to do. It kept him from being successful.

Now, my younger two children are teens and my older two are adults, so I have been writing more about teens. But you may be a younger mother, or, at least, a mother with younger children and you may begin to ask, what about filing for the little ones in our lives?

The lil’ people are so fun to find storage solutions for, because there is so much more color and texture (Generally, speaking…) than for the teens. Or maybe, I just feel that way, because pretty paper, glue, markers, etc. get to be pulled out and I get to have more FUN!

At any rate, stay tuned and we will look at storage for the needs of our little ones tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, if you have a ‘frilly, creative’ girl, whose desire is to use an accordion system, as well and wants to add some sass, you can follow the idea from this Pinterest page, using whatever material she would like to. Make it modern, antiqued or whatever your style is…the point is to make something functional beautiful or cool. Just have fun with it!

This idea could also be used for Mom’s organization of paperwork that has to be kept, but available on the go! So, don’t forget the possibilities for yourselves ladies! After all, we are the managers of our home!!



This was ‘liked’ by a young man who is a friend of our younger son on Facebook this morning. It cracked me up, because from a teen’s perspective, it encapsulates exactly what they feel.

I also got a good laugh, because as a home educating  mother, who LOVES spending time with her children, school is not necessarily the easiest way to do that, enjoy my children, that is. We, too, face the daunting reality of “Okay…the start date is upon us.” SIGHHHH…Take a deep breath…breathe out, slloowwwllly now…”Here we go…”

For many parents, particularly mothers (it’s seems that there are more homeschooling Moms, than Dads…sorry guys, not disqualifying you!), this time of year not only brings on a busyness we were able to lay aside for the summer, but also some common ‘nags’ that tend to rear their ugly heads in regards to educating our children.

“Are they really getting what they need as a group?”

“Is each child receiving what they need individually?”

“Am I challenging them enough?”

“Am I pushing too hard?”

These are typically the questions that scream at me throughout the year, from the first day til the last.

So, what do I do?

First, make sure that you are sure of your calling. Then, rest in that truth. If you are called, God WILL equip!

Both my husband and I feel very strongly that this is the direction the Lord has given us for our children’s education. It is what I am called to do for this season of my life. I can rest.

Secondly choose  what I am going to believe. I can walk in fear and be completely paralyzed, or I can choose to focus on the truth. The truth is, I am not going to provide every little detail needed educationally with perfection. But neither will a private or public school. And there is still the fact that a God who loves each of my children, wants to ensure they have all they need, will see to it that they are equipped to fulfill the ministry that He will call them to.

I can allow my fear to convince me to become indifferent or lazy. But that is not the calling the Lord has given. I am to prayerfully be diligent to walk out what He directs of me each year, as well as day by day, for the good of my children. He knows how He created them, and He knows perfectly how to meet those needs as we look to Him for the answers.

Finally, I must learn to rest in God’s peace, joy and love.  Or, I can continue in fear and lose the joy that He intended me to experience through this season of life. My children are gifts, treasures from my Father. He will give us wisdom and we can rest. Enjoying each and every moment of the journey. It is the bumps in the road which will strengthen us as parent and child(ren), not the easy sailing. When the breezes are great and the sailing is good, I find that I do not dependent nearly enough of the goodness of God. Rather, when the storms arise, I realize all too quickly my insufficiency, cry out to Him and He calms me, even if the storm continues to rage awhile.

So, while resisting the beginning of school is, indeed, “futile”, as my young brother in Christ has observed this morning, we can choose how we will embark upon it. We can choose how we will live each day of the year. Full of joy or full of hopelessness and misery?

I choose hope, joy and peace and these all come down from the Father above.